Now Playing: the havenots - a fresh start
Topic: 2002 reviews (Jul.-Sep.)
[this review was originally posted to the BSOTS website in august of 2002. i absolutely LOVE Caural's music. this album remains a favorite of mine almost four years later. recommended if you like DJ Shadow, RJD2, or Prefuse 73. - jrs.]
Stars On My Ceiling
Record label: Chocolate Industries
Release date: June 2002
At least one artist comes around that stands out from the rest every year, one whose techniques are understated but will speak volumes to all that stop, look and listen. This time around, the honors go to Chicago's own Zachary Mastoon a.k.a. Caural. Recording for the Chocolate Industries label, he is certainly in good company alongside the genre-bending tactics of Sluta Leta and the block rocking beats of Push Button Objects and While. Adding his own influences to the mix, Mastoon's outlook on life and music seem full of wide-eyed innocence. At least that's the impression one gets while listening to Stars On My Ceiling.
Hip-hop is the underlying theme, but what happens beyond that falls under a wide spectrum. His beat-making style rivals DJ Shadow's in terms of anchoring his compositions with drums that take over your heart rhythms. Drop the needle on "All These Todays Melt Into Tomorrows," symphonic hip-hop against a lush backdrop of samples and percussion. (Then again, I like anything with a little kalimba in it. Nothing makes me chill out faster than the sounds of an African thumb piano.) "Red Sunshine" features the same types of juxtaposition. Hard, fist-pumping beats are front and center, but the playful lilt of Spanish guitars creates a nice contrast. "Sipping Snake Blood Wine" continues the jazz descent, almost displaying beats of a broken variety, but held in check by a tight bass line. Then there's the mushroom-enhanced visions of "Mint & A Hospital Watercolor" - stoned enough to conjure up a psychedelic jazz vibe without leaving you reeking of patchouli afterwards. Call it dreamlike soul, call it hip-hop from an alternate universe, call it what you will…just know that Caural is the bomb. And he's just getting started.
this release can be purchased through emusic.com.