|Having studied jazz guitar and improvisation (with Anthony Braxton at Wesleyan University), Indonesian gamelan, Southeast Asian music, and experimental electronic music at New York University, Zachary Mastoon draws from a rich background for his Caural project. Those influences surface subtly amid the blunted breaks and bleepy haze of Remembering Today, a collection of unreleased material recorded after his 2002 full-length Stars on My Ceiling.
Though his leftfield hip-hop naturally aligns him with Prefuse 73, Daedelus, and company, Caural’s material distinguishes itself with its rich sound. He sweetens a sleepy synth-funk groove with a glockenspiel melody and a warm bass prod on “Entre Chien Et Loup,” for example, and Mastoon is equally comfortable injecting jazz references into one song (“Bleached Platinum”) as he is Casio noises elsewhere (“They’ll Make A Video Game Out of Killing People Like You”). Proving that this material can be experimental without being off-putting, classical string pizzicati rubs shoulders with a smeary groove, bell accents, and underwater piano on “Auto Rickshaw.” The disc gravitates towards quieter territory with the leisurely lurch of “Suicide” and beatific dreaminess of “Mouth,” but the staccato hyperactivity of “Insect Headphones” abruptly re-adjusts the mood with its distinctive gamelan bell strikes and thrumming pulsations. While Remembering Today offers much to appreciate, perhaps its best moment arises with “Summer on Cassette” whose grooving stutter-strut pulse, piano sprinkles, and vocal snippets Prefuse himself would be proud of. - Grooves