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MP3 MasTicA - 99

These Austin, Tx. improv masters avoid the genre bin and mix big bass and drums with sensitive strings, sax attacks and soothing vocals.

10 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, ELECTRONIC: Pop Crossover

from David Lynch @ The Austin Chronicle

On ''99, local warehouse pop trio Mastica offers up an inviting selection of uniquely phrased, definitely not-Top 40 original music. The Austin three-piece is gumB on bass, cello, mandocello, and vox; munkE on bontempi, guitar, reeds, and vox; and [email protected] (Pat Mastelotto) on drums and knobs. If you haven''t heard of the gumB / munkE husband-wife team, chances are you''ve heard Mastelotto''s drums, either with King Crimson, or in one of his many hired-gun sessions with everyone from Patti LaBelle to XTC. Mastica''s debut benefits from three things: cool songs, intrepid experimentation on atypical instruments, and a Tom Waits-like ruff sonic patina, like "Crescent Moon," which has a Morphinesque ride that ends with an impromptu implosion. In spite of pockets of overused melodies, gumB and munkE''s singing delivers David Sylvian introspection and Veruca Salt extroversion. As expected, Mastelotto is prominent, as on the attractive mess that is "Muñecos de Palo," where the skinbeater uses an orchestra of compressed drums like the mammoth tom tracks of Peter Gabriel''s first solo albums. "Prison" finds a clarinet, snappy snare, and bass ostinato melting with sampled audio quotes taken from Texas folklorist Alan Lomax''s famous 1947 recordings of Mississippi prison songs and sayings. Superior to Moby''s tinkering in the same direction, the song''s amazing snippets are then manipulated beyond recognition, like a prisoner''s emotional state. The song, like ''99 itself, is both thought-provoking and engaging.

from Rick Anderson (All-Music Guide)

The combined pedigrees of these musicians might lead you to expect something deeply weird, and you''d be right. But it''s all weird in the best way: challenging and unpredictable, and yet never willfully difficult.

...drumming combines textural invention with... ...various reed instruments alternately twine through the mix and create
layers of atmosphere within each arrangement. ...gutbucket bass takes front and center, and at other times his cello will suddenly become clearly audible in the mix.

Highlight tracks include the complex and lovely ''Crescent Moon'' and ''Prison'', which is built around samples from an old Alan Lomax field recording. Highly recommended.

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