The Mast is pleased to release their new track “Raining Down” as a preview of their upcoming album Pleasure Island, out January 28th, 2014 on Channel A Records. The second track on the album, “Raining Down” combines Haleh Gafori’s sultry distorted vocals with Matt Kilmer’s euphoric, Eastern-inspired production, with subtle nods to their varied influences such as Massive Attack, Bonobo, and Mount Kimbie. Like much of The Mast’s catalog, the track seamlessly stitches a vast array of musical strains, from tribal music to old-school trance to hip-hop, into their own singular sound.
Recently, the band debuted their video for “So Right,” which quickly garnered praise from USA Today, The Huffington Post, Death + Taxes, Impose and more. The clip premiered via Interview Magazine, who called it “irresistibly adorable…a party worthy of Baby Ibiza, against the sonic backdrop of galactic, swirling synths and Gafori’s sweet vocals.” The video was produced entirely by the band, with singer Haleh directing and editing and beatsmith/percussionist Matt filming. The concept of the video came from watching Haleh’s 22-month-old nephew pretend to DJ as the duo were visiting while working on Pleasure Island.
Eschewing the traditional instrumentation used on their debut Wild Poppies, Haleh and Matt created the blueprints for Pleasure Island on planes and between gigs and recordings sessions for various projects in their hometown of Brooklyn and overseas. Over the past year, while composing music and recording for Louis CK‘s show Louie on FX and working with artists as diverse as Reggie Watts and new music cello pioneer Maya Beiser, Matt always had his laptop in tow and was consistently sending tracks to Haleh. Between directing or editing music videos and darting off to cities as far as Assisi, Italy to recite her poetry, Haleh would write lyrics, record melodies, tweak arrangements, and send the tracks back to Matt. Through this volleying of ideas, Pleasure Island was born.
This process resulted in an inviting, lush collection of songs that soaks the mind in a bath of endorphins while propelling the body to dance. Opening track “Luxor” highlights Matt’s infatuation with early UK drum ‘n bass released on the Metalheadz imprint, detectable in the skittering beats under Haleh’s winding vocal lines and velvety chants. On “So Right,” a minimalist verse featuring a bell-like synth slowly builds, eventually bursting into a chorus that could easily be at home in a Deadmau5 or Hardwell set. “Cliff” follows with a wide-open booming 808 beat that drops into a crushing double-time chorus as Haleh’s vocals soar.
The dance floor banger “Breathless We Go” follows, leading us into the mysterious cave of “Voices” which like many of the songs on the album features found sounds, in this case the swoosh of windsurfing as well as percussion samples Matt collected during his years of traveling. Continuing in this vein, the impressive beast of a song “Nuclear Dragon” features an African balafon deftly played by Matt and “Lean Into It” opens with a sample of Pygmy water drumming from the Congo.
In their live shows, where they have performed alongside Blonde Redhead, Reggie Watts, Teebs, Susanne Sundfør & more, Matt and Haleh incorporate live electronics, percussion, and vocal improvisation, preserving the spontaneity they cultivated as instrumentalists. Speaking on their live show, Haleh said “We know we’ve succeeded when our audience is sweating by the end of the show. When we see them jumping and moving, we know they’ve had a good time.”
Pleasure Island tracklist:
2. Raining Down
5. Breathless We Go
8. All The Way
9. Nuclear Dragon
11. Lean Into It
13. Seas Across Your Mind