Paint EP (Chocolate Industries, 2001)
Format: 12" EP & CD
1. In Between Thoughts
2. Red Sunshine
3. Your Memories On Television
4. Clear Vinyl
Artwork by Kid Acne
Chocolate Industries proudly presents Caural. Following in the Chocolate tradition of fusing musical genres, you will find that this EP will fit quite nicely in your Chocolate collection. On the Paint EP, Zachary Mastoon aka Caural showcases his many talents and forward thinking approach to music by melding head nodding beats, lush samples and dirty feedback to get just about anyone moving. Some might call this Sonic Youth meets Herbie Hancock but we call it Caural. At the rate this kid's going, who knows what's coming next? Expect a new album next year but til then put on your headphones and get acquainted with the Paint EP. Artwork by UK graff writer/super human 'Kid Acne'.
BPM (Issue 32)
Caurel [sic] is an interesting ep. With cover art done by UK's Kid Acne of two mc ghosts floating out of a boombox, I thought this was going to be some creepy instrumental style hip-hop. What came out of my headphones was more like a cross between Sonic Youth and Fat Jon. Props to Chocolate Industries for exploring the fringes of hip-hop-inspired music. This might not be for everyone, but I found it to be on the better side of what can happen when artists aren't afraid to think outside of the box.
- Kenoy Williams
Elemental Magazine (vol. 4, Issue 39)
When I read this record described as "Sonic Youth meets Herbie Hancock," I thought seriously about using it as a frisbee. Good thing I didn't, because I would have been missing out on some really well done pieces of instrumental music. All of the tracks on the Paint EP are a combination of organic, very true instrumentation and sampling. These aren't instrumentals to rhyme over (unless you're Aesop Rock or maybe Sage Francis). They are entirely stand-alone, listenable, completel compositions without vocal interruption. Caural starts off with a moody joint full of bending notes, whispers, and tickling percussion. It's a little schizophrenic, but actually a very beautiful piece. Even though it was my least favorite, I can definitely stand to listen to it again. The record starts getting its identity with the second cut, "Red Sunshine." This track is full of satisfying sound bits, from the familiar crackle of a needle on old vinyl to an upbeat acoustic guitar sample to the cries of a whale heard moving through the ocean. Atop this are crisp drum hits, some staccato strings-plucking and a bag full of short, well-placed samples. The tight drums and whale calls are continued into the next cut, and both are more intense and overt here. Piano and what sounds like an alto sax or clarinet roll you into the mood of this song before more drums come in to hasten the pace. The rise and fall will continue throughout. "Clear Vinyl" invokes a slowed-down El-P flavor, utilizing an echoed rock guitar sample to set the mood. The echoes continue as the track becomes sharper and more industrial, then flow back to the comparably relaxing and now-familiar guitars. Unfortunately, attempts at making records like this are many, and the successes are few, usually resulting in unlistenable sampled cacophony. Caural has managed to assemble a group of moving, interesting and completely listenable tracks for anyone who can appreciate the mellow or understated. Well done.
- Phat Matt
Ghettoblaster (Issue #7)
Caural a.k.a. Zachary Mastoon has dropped another gem in this bantam EP release. Containing four tracks, Paint is the resurfacing of authentic production by Caural. A short and captivating harvest of tracks that play like summer time. Appreciate, don't hate, or as it is said "frontin' on us is a no no."
- John Arambulo
Wire (February 2002) Critical Beats
Caural, on the other hand, offers straight-up shoegazing, with more than a little My Bloody Valentine to their chord rushes and back-looped piano, and samples of suspiciously Slumberland-like pop songs. Along with contemporaries Minotaur Shock and Hood, they're grafting a familiar beat-skitter of leftfield electronica onto a more acoustic, pastoral frame. "Red Sunshine" falls somewhere between Fridge and Steve Reich, building an increasingly dense construction of strummed guitar and various acoustic loops. "Your Memories on Television" drills an insistent snare figure through the billowing folds of Talk Talk-like oboe and keys. Samples of blase young women talking about "drawing on ourselves with markers" add an oddly erotic touch.
- Philip Sherburne
XLR8R (March 2002) Lucky 13
Think My Bloody Valentine meets Mr. Oizo meets WordSound. What? I dunno. Cool, freaky downtempo with lots of indie-rock sensibilities.
- Toph One
Bought this one for the cover alone – b-boy ghosts emerging from a boom-box. It's also on Chocolate Industries, a label that has been cranking out great music lately. This release is all instrumental, walking the line of breakbeats mixed with resampled vocals, acoustic and slide guitars and even a flute (I think...). Each track ventures into different territory before mixing it all back together nicely. This isn't some ambient-wallpaper bull-shhh. 4 solid tracks, no filler. Get it.
(MissKick's Picks: Top New Releases)
Somewhere between hip-hop, indie rock and electronica. These folks defy definition... beautiful, creative, unique... these words come to mind, but you really have to hear it to believe it.
New on Chocolate Industries! Moving away momentarily from the emphasis on straight, urban hip-hop, Chocolate return to a looser A&R policy and bring us this debut work from Zachary Mastoon, aka Caural. This is a melting-pot of sounds and styles-- one part Post-Rock, one part Hip Hop, one part Folk, one part Electronica. The overall effect is often heart-warming, the standout being the excellent "Red Sunshine," sounding like a tweaked Tortoise complete with dusty breaks and static effects, or a more hazy Tommy Guerrero. Veering at times into territory that could be described as Trip Hop, this is a naive rather than cliched piece of work from an interesting new artist. Artwork comes from the wonderful Kid Acne. Check.
Acoustic meets electronica meets down tempo lounge meets indie pop (?). Surprising but very nice release on Chocolate Ind again (Hefty style!!)
This four-track EP is silky sweet. It would have made a good summer release, with airy swirling guitar and meticulously manipulated vocal loops. On "In Between Thoughts," bits of melody ebb and flow until bass line and beat kick in. Soft sounds of old vinyl sweep "Red Sunshine" into a squelchy meditative track. The looped guitar is simple and ambient. Eventually the percussion drops. Not bad. "Your Memories on Television" features whale song over a drum-and-bass breakbeat. This reminds me of a Ninja Tune acid-jazz piece. Finally, "Clear Vinyl" offers even more of a guitar kick, although electronic echoes make things a bit more trippy. This is a neat little release. It's simple, happy, and effective.
- Jacob Arnold
...And one of Chocolate Ind.'s most recent acquisitions could perhaps most easily be described as the other face of Prefuse-73 with a hint of Mira Calix's gritty softness. His name is Caural and his skills at cut-up composing are unreal. On Paint EP (CHLT024CD), melancholic, dub guitar and synth melodies dress cloudy beats, and what can only be described as distorted silences while ambient sounds fill in the rest. Keep in mind that listening through headphones is most rewarding, but even as background music Caural's Paint EP will get you moving.
"Where My Bloody Valentine meets stripped-down hip-hop"
Un suono intermittente trasforma lo sviluoppo di una perfetta pop-song dall'aria britannica e ci introduce allo splendido EP dei Caural per la Chocolate Industries di Chicago. Sorreto nella parte conclusiva da una base downtempo, "In Between Thoughts" e la sorprendente traccia di apertura cui segue la fresca "Red Sunshine" gia pronta a mitigare la calura estiva coi suo loop di chitarra; "Your Memories on Television" cambia ancora e, pur straniando l'ascoltatore, accelera il beat per poi far tornare alla mente 'l'ombra' trip-hop di qualche anno fa. Un'influenza che si allarga fino all'ibrido elettro di "Clear Vinyl" a chisura di quattro brani che lasciano il fiato corto e la mante stordita, che altro chiedere ancora?
Other Music (December, 2001)
Caural's EP, only four songs, is the sound equivalent of a brief, but breakneck plunge into a pile of Lego pieces. There are sharp bits, familiar bits, and it's a novel experience. He even samples Magnetic Fields and the Smiths, gentle classical guitar, whistles, murmurs. And makes sections that impossibly merge clicky cutty electronics with giant-size Britpop sounds. These are all used in the most upbeat of ways, with the same all-over-the-place catchiness that Amon Tobin's been known to effect. I wanted to put all four tracks up in [real audio] for you, that's how good this is. One softish vocal track (which shifts frontwards and backwards without losing velocity), all others instrumental.
Non essendo in possesso di Initial Experiments in 3-D, prova sulla lunga distanza di Zachary Mastoon aka Caural, lascio che sia Paint EP ad introdurmi nell'universo sonoro di questo giovane hip hoper proveniente dalla zona di Chicago. Attraverso un'eccellente lavoro di taglia e incolla le 4 tracce qui presentate amalgamano basi hip hop belle grasse, scorie jungle, il fruscio della puntina che scorre sul vinile, divertimenti lounge-psichedelici, ritornelli pop e persino una chitarrina insolente che in "Red Sunshine" arriva a solleticare le orecchie quando meno uno se lo aspetta. Il tutto condensato in 20 minuti! A dir poco gustosa la copertina, curata dal graffitista inglese Kid Acne, dove sono raffigurati due spiritelli che escono dalle casse di uno stereo portatile con microphono in mano, grosse catene d'oro al collo e il berretto ben calcato in testa: l'immagine standardizzata del rapper chiamata ad illustrare la musica di chi invece interpreta con fantasia le infinite possibilita di un genere troppo spesso incasellato in schemi rigidi e obsoleti.
- Guido Gambacorta
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! This is excellent stuff that comes across as Pale Saints meets electronica. Amazing lush loops and swirls, cut-up samples, dreamy boy vocals, chiming and jangly guitars – all chopped up into a potpourri of dreamy looped-out beat-oriented grooves.
What originally drew us to this Chocolate Industries record was the hilarious cover illustration by Kid Acne. The music inside is unusually soothing, part-ambient like on the dreamy "Inbetween Thoughts" and more beatwise on the shifting "Red Sunshine." The b-side starts off with an experimental type drum-and-bass track, ultra fast bpms contrasting with a mellow a-side. Keep on listening as the track turns ambient, transforming the once uptempo beat into a dream component. "Clear Vinyl" enlists the live guitar band sound and transforms it into a Radiohead type track. This EP creates a beautiful soundscape, giving multiple variations on the dreamy theme.
Initial Experiments in 3-D (toshoklabs) reviews on www.toshoklabs.com, and all proceeds going towards disaster relief
My debut album, Initial Experiments In 3-D (toshoklabs) has been receiving great feedback! Some reviews have been added to the toshoklabs website (www.toshoklabs.com) and you can listen to Real Audio of all the tracks while you read. Toshoklabs’ label head Nate Harrison is donating all profits from the release, as well as the rest of the toshoklabs catalog, to disaster relief. There are still some copies available, but they probably won’t be around for too long, so don’t sleep!
(You can order copies from www.forcedexposure.com, www.othermusic.com, and www.bentcrayon.com).
Another reason to visit the toshoklabs web site is to check out Nate’s mini-site of the 9/11 tragedy. Living 2 blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood, he has quite a story:
Paint EP (Chocolate Industries) out November 27- purchase in advance on Amazon.com and CDnow.com
Paint EP, my first release for Chicago’s Chocolate Industries, will be out November 27th on both CD and vinyl formats- the first 500 copies of the 12 inch were pressed on clear vinyl. You can order copies in advance from www.amazon.com and www.cdnow.com. Paint’s cover art was done by Kid Acne and you can read about him in this month’s issue of XLR8R magazine: www.xlr8r.com
Stars On My Ceiling LP (Chocolate Industries) getting mastered, tentative spring release date
Stars On My Ceiling, my second album, is currently getting mastered and you can expect a release date around the end of March. Art direction and design for this album are being handled by ESPO- aka Stephen Powers. If you haven’t seen this guy’s work, check out his book, “The Art of Getting Over” (St. Martin’s Press). It is a great collection- in traditional black-book style- of graffiti’s history complete with flicks and sketches by some incredible artists: SANE/SMITH, REVS, REAS, BLADE, CEX, TYKE, TWIST, GHOST, COPE, NOAH, etc. You can find it on www.amazon.com and www.turntablelab.com among other sites, as well as in your local bookstore.
Initial Experiments In 3-D (Töshöklabs, 2001)
Format: CD, limited to 500 copies
3. Casio Sunburn
6. Blue Green Value Five
9. Glow In the Dark
10. Safety Cone
11. E. Houston & Chrystie
12. Pieces Of A Broken Glass God
13. Free Italian Ice
14. Martian Landscape Number Three
15. Jessica Demonstrates the PT-80
Illustration: "Eye & Ear Plugged In" by Rich Borge (www.richborge.com)
Art Direction: Smartbomb (www.smartbomb.net)
Notes: All songs written Summer through Winter, 1999. "Glow In The Dark/Safety Cone," "Moonboots/Free Italian Ice (minus the live audio taken from a Transmission live show at Francis Parker, Chicago 1994)," "Blue Green Value Five," and "Pieces Of A Broken Glass God/Ganesh" were distributed to a few friends as a demo EP. Originally slated for release in spring of 2000, it was delayed until summer of 2001 due to multiple versions of the album cover design.
Töshöklabs is pleased to release its first full length recording by a solo artist: "Initial Experiments in 3-D" is the debut album from Caural. Caural is 23 year old Zachary Mastoon who hails from the Chicago area. His music is made entirely of samples from his music collection and is constructed using only a hardware sampler which has a built in sequencer. No computer screens involved! But putting procedure aside, we of course think the album rocks the house. The fifteen tracks meld into one another giving the listener an hour dose of Caural's world of bubbly, hip hop influenced music concrete. Naively funny samples of children's conversations (including the intro track which is Zak's first ever recording at the tender age of 6) provide the backdrop, with well placed horn and piano riffs completing the mix. Uptempo, downtempo or no tempo, it's all there. "Initial Experiments in 3-D" is a very fun record, arriving just in time for the summer. Fans of Bogdan Raczynski, Luke Vibert, Amon Tobin or anyone with an affinity for kitsch, lighthearted and sonically challenging breakbeat tunes will love this album!
Töshöklabs is an electronic microlabel based in New York City. It has strong ties to Michigan and the Detroit scene as the owners of the label are originally from that area. The label's mission has been to promote home brewed electronic listening music, placing a strong emphasis on eclecticism and originality.
Alternative Press (December 2001)
Although it's been active since 1998, toshoklabs is only now releasing an album from a single artist, as opposed to pumping out the usual stream of compilations common to most microlabels. And what a solid album Initial Experiments in 3-D is. If you were expecting muted electronics and a touch of romanticism (as found on the label's last compilation, State of the Art Heirloom), you're in for a nice surprise. Caural is built on sampling outside the computer realm, making for a fresh and spontaneous sound engineered by the ear and not by the math of software. "Aquarium" is funky trip music on par with the Orb; "Moonboots" is the chirpy pop weirdness that would result if Neutral remixed Gus Gus; and "Casio Sunburn" sounds like a Sun Electric techno ditty smothered in Thievery Corporation's exquisite bass and breaks.
- Heath K. Hignight
Meanstreet.com (July 2001)
Caural's Initial Experiments in 3-D is the work of Chicago's Zachary Mastoon, and was apparently created on a single piece of gear- a sampler with an onboard sequencer. The result is wicked, sampladelic genius with a twisted sense of humor a la Luke Vibert's finest moments. Proof that the source material is often more important than the gear you create it with, and an inspiration to other bedroom producers.
Other Music (July, 2001)
The first full-length record by Zachary Mastoon (aka Caural), who became involved with Nate Harrison's overlooked but highly respected Toshoklabs imprint in New York. Caural's debut record makes a great deal of what gets called lo-fi production sound like it was mixed by Bob Clearmountain at Sting's studio in Montserrat. A track such as "Ganesh" opens with decaying, sparkling cymbals giving way to baroque strings, backwards tape loops full of off-key piano chords and tiny dog barks. "Martian Landscape Number Three" is a standout with its slippery, hesistant bassline and rushing, gated snares. '80's video game sounds dart around the mix like a superball and a deep kick-drum drops in now and then like an unexpected visitor. This 14-track record augurs very well for Caural's career-- in a space where commercial success is hardly valued, one finds music that is truly a labor of love.
Caural is the guise of young Chicago producer Zachary Mastoon and Initial Experiments in 3-D is his debut release. The style of this release is a journey of jazzy styles ranging from the sci-fi breakbeats of "Moonboots" to the acid-jazzy swing of "Casio Sunburn" to the jazzy hip-hop of "Aquarium" to the slow spacey gurgling melodies of "Snowy" to the downtempo jazz of "Safety Cone." Also, the opening track is also quite amusing featuring a recording of Caural at 6 yrs old freestyle rapping*. Overall, some bright spots and pleasant moments on Experiments in 3-D for fans of the Shadow/early-Ninja Tune trip-hop-n-jazz sound (i.e., Up Bustle Out, 9 Lazy 9, or even some early Funky Porcini). Nice.
- Lance - firstname.lastname@example.org
*= (note: that was Stuart Bogie on vocals, not me)
Het New Yorkse microlabel Toshoklabs maakte de laatste twee jaar grote indruk met twee uitstekende verzamelaars (Dated uit '99 en State of the Art Heirloom uit 2000) en een paar fel opgemerkte ep's van Headshell en Jack Russel + Lou Frutiger (= een van de aliassen voor de exploten van labelbaas Nate Harrison). Het vervolg liet wat op zich wachten maar nu is er eindelijk een eerste echte cd full release en die is zeker de moeite waard. Initial Experiments in 3-D is de eersteling van Caural oftewel Zachary Mastoon. Mastoon liet voor het eerst van zich horen op de verzamelaar Sound Options van het nauw met Toshoklabs gelieerde Systorm Technologies. Het meest opvallende nummer van die Sound Options was het wiebelende en verende "Moonboots" dat op Initial Experiments in 3-D hernomen wordt. Ook het daaropvolgende debuutalbum lost buiten enkele zeldzame mindere momenten grotendeels de verwachtingen in. Mastoon bouwt zijn stukken op met samples uit zijn muziekcollectie. Als voornaamste instrument gebruikt hij een hardware sampler meet een ingebouwde sequencer. Geen computerschermen dus! De vijftien nummers gaan naadloos in elkaar over en bevatten door hiphop beinvloedde bubbelende, lichthartige elektronica en jazzy techno. "Casio Sunburn" drijft op kinderstemmen en een breakbeat. Op het ultrakorte "Ganesh" drijft hij een banghra-ritme tot het uiterste... Het zwevende "Aquarium" combineert een knetterende breakbeat met zwevende ambient. Beste track van het album is echter het zeven minuten "Pieces of a Broken Glass God" waar een waanzinnig tablaritme in de clinch gaat met een breakbeat en scheurende gitaarsample. Mogen we alle twijfel meteen de kop indrukken: Initial Experiments in 3-D is geen wereldschokkend maar wel een steengoed album van een label waar we nog veel van mogen verwachten.
Traversing the twilight summer streets, where
younger neighbors kneel on the canvas of concrete
creating galleries with pastel chalk, it’s a hop-
scotch sidewalk- we skipped over the cracks. With
wind and silk-screened skeletons on our backs as we
skated - sipping lemonade with the Bones Brigade -
turquoise Powell & Peralta skids and swerves bleached
curves on the freshly-laid blacktop. Rocking blood-
stains and Airwalks, or riding barefoot in hi-
tops, blasting Billingsgate from the boom box
(ironically, “I’m So Bored” was the cassette anthem
to the manicured lawn’s suburban backdrop).
Florescent lights illuminated bomb drops
when rain clouds hid the stars, while lightning bounced
against sides of a child’s capped glass jar,
bugs held captive by popsicle-sticky
fingers. Forgetting the feeling would linger longer
laying exhausted in the grass…
But even underneath the moon’s crescent,
my childhood lessened with each second’s pass.
And soon enough it was
nine years later, still equally naïve as I
was back then - but in a circle of new friends - spending
seemingly infinite currency of hourglass sands
staring at neon orange cherries billowing smoke trails.
Inhaled the rails, the train tracks, the barbed-
wire fence, the silver bubble-lettered fill-ins, the dense
wild style, tags in fat caps,
Krylon and Rust-Oleum, back-spinning on linoleum.
Breathed out all I was holding in- except for the stress -
pounding proudly against everything surrounding me.
An abstract heart pulsed paint, and on
eyelid walls hallucinated my name. The veins
of an urban sketchbook, laced pages of a
spiral-bound subway whose passengers never look.
But, as their light approached, we ducked,
our damp signatures dripping in gravity’s suck.
Locomotive brakes squealed and froze time the
moment I felt capable to control mine.
From behind the thick letters diamond-cut in the window gazed
curious eyes of a business man John Doe glazed
in the midst of his routine commute from sky-
scrapers to picket fences. Secretly pensive,
but thoughts fallen mute in the ambient
headphone spills of cymbals and drum fills while his
passion stagnates on documents safe
inside a leather attache. And in weeds I lay
camoflauged but paranoid
(not of getting caught, but of getting older when
thoughts employed make it impossible to understand the
sidewalk drawings of a boy).
His train pulled away,
and the moon, now full, remembered me, the child
etched in glowing valleys of its memory. Tasted
beautiful breeze exhaled by galaxies and un-
screwed lids of jar-jailed bumblebees…