11 July 2001

[DISCOGRAPHY] Caural - Initial Experiments In 3D

Initial Experiments In 3-D (Töshöklabs, 2001)
Format: CD, limited to 500 copies

1. 1984
2. Moonboots
3. Casio Sunburn
4. Ganesh
5. Aquarium
6. Blue Green Value Five
7. Evolovevol
8. Snowy
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.
- (TH)

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 - lance@inaudible.com

*= (note: that was Stuart Bogie on vocals, not me)

Theticket.be (Dutch)
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.