The Digital Percussion of Maurice Fulton

As one of the first human expressions of rhythm, percussion has always been an important element in music. Playing around with percussion gives a rhythm an extra hypnotic dimension that plays with the unexpected, filling in the blanks between our heart-pounding 4×4. Tijmen Lohmeijer celebrates the music of Maurice Fulton, a man of few words, many faces, and a maestro at creating trademark percussion-driven productions.

The rise of drum machines meant that traditional percussion was often replaced with the drum machine’s samples or pre-recorded loops. Powered by computer chips, these programmable drum sound synthesizers have the ability to play sequences at tempos which are humanly impossible to achieve. Maurice Fulton, one of the original house cats, is a master in electronic percussion and the digital drum fill.

As an early producer of the Basement Boys collective, best-known for his work on the house classic “Gypsy Woman” by Crystal Waters, Fulton has always had a knack for the house rhythm but never stopped looking beyond the boundaries of a genre. Using different aliases for his productions, one can find his original style of producing by searching the web for: Dr. Scratch, Melonsniffers, BOOF, Syclops, MU, Mutsumi, Ladyvipb, Eddie and the Eggs and of course Maurice Fulton.

Maurice Fulton – “Revenge of the Orange”

(Up, Discfunction Records, 1999)

Starting off with a seemingly normal percussion loop, the digital drum fill reaches your eardrum at 0:50. The outstanding drums and fills give the track more than enough drive to keep it exciting till the first melodic elements enter the composition. The unexpected electric guitar solo is the last ingredient to complete this production.

BOOF – “Life Is Water”

(Life Is Water For Gerbadaisies When They Are Dancing, Spectrum Records, 2000)

With a 5-minute intro consisting of an FM PanFlute, a mellow choir and a catchy double bass, this beauty develops in a rhythmic glitch of kicks, snares and chopped percussion that remind us of the chaotic production of jungle tracks.

Syclops – “Where’s Jason K”

(Where’s Jason K, DFA records, 2008)

This track is a departure from the percussion sampled sounds of house and techno recognizable in the last few tracks, leaning more to the side of electro and disco funk. It appears that Fulton extends the same respect to his melodic elements as he does his percussion. The notes of the melody in both the top synths and the bassline skate freely between the 4×4 to create a complicated yet super satisfying melody.

MU – “Let’s Get Sick”

(Afro Finger and Gel, Output/Tigersushi, 2003)

In collaboration with his wife Mutsumi Kanamori, Fulton explores his most eccentric side yet. Ridiculous lyrics, samples and explosive rhythms can be found everywhere in MU’s productions. Be sure to also check out the track “Paris Hilton”.

Stress – “Moo That Rocked The Electric Chair”

(Why Put Me Through It, Transfusion, 2001)

In this track, the basic techno beat is layered with an overload of percussion sounds and funk samples. It’s as if someone is tuning their radio to sync with the backbeat, creating an ocean of sounds. Magically enough, they blend very well with each other.

Mim Suleiman – “Mwaitoma”

(Adera Dera, Bubble Tease Communications, 2016)

While in collaboration with Mim Suleiman, Fulton produced one of the most overlooked albums of 2016. Released only digitally on Bandcamp through Bubble Tease Communications, the album blends Suleiman’s beautiful voice with elements of disco, electro and the percussive madness previously discussed.

Notable Mentions:

Syclops – “Jump Bugs” (A Blink of an Eye, Running Back, 2013)

BOOF – “Backlash” (The Hydrangeas Whisper, Running Back, 2015)

Melonsniffers – “I Want To Talk” (I Want To Talk, Pagan, 1998)

The Noize Boyz – “The Chant Of Voodoo” (It’s In Me / The Chant Of Voodoo, Red Menace Records, 1997)