World Of Echo / UK / 2021 / 10"
Clive Phillips, Dominic Goodman, Peter Blundell are Mosquitoes, a somewhat inscrutable London-based outfit in operation for something close to seven years now, and have released music across a host of celebrated and broad-minded underground labels. Give or take the occasional interview in the less-straight parts of the music press, this is as much formal biography as their music has thus far allowed, for there's something essentially unknowable at the centre of what makes Mosquitoes what they are. So murky is their early history in fact, the first two self-released Mosquitoes records seemed to disappear from sight before really becoming visible. As more records have emerged, those first communications accumulate new meanings, acting as vital documents in tracking the evolution of a band who stand at the vanguard of contemporary British music.
The second of these records, recorded to tape in summer 2016 and first released as a single-sided 12" under the name MOS-002, is arguably the first true iteration of Mosquitoes. Now fittingly renamed Mosquitoes for its reissue as a dubplate-style 10" on World of Echo on 5th March, these five cryptically titled, shape-shifting tracks, see the trio embrace a near-genre-less fluidity, and in doing so express a unique combination of both freedom and intent. By design or instinct, Mosquitoes stand at their own inverted rock nexus, presenting a music that's turned inside out, and in doing so, music that twists the listener the same way.
In that sense, Mosquitoes plug into a long lineage of DIY savant iconoclasts, those outliers who would deny orthodoxy in order to excavate new languages and ideas - The Dead C, This Heat, the anti-formalism of No Wave, David Toop's General Strike. As such, Mosquitoes rely on a musical pluralism in order to take it apart - you must know how something is made before you reassemble it anew. Labelling this an EP may possibly underplay the breadth and ambition of what's on show. Later records would arguably be more cohesive, but what stands as particularly startling with this early work is their fearless and all-encompassing dive into the avant garde. Consider the anti-rockism of the scorched earth 90s re-imagined through a distinctly avant filter of free jazz and dub aesthetics. And it's the latter which perhaps shapes Mosquitoes most, dub the perfect vehicle for the articulation of such wilful anti-formalism. Make no mistake, this is music that's unafraid to be tough, to demand something of the listener and to not ask permission. And to bear witness to a rejection of formalism so aggressively pursued is to be reconciled.