12 December 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Tambourine Solo: Take One

Tambourine Solo: Take One
Collaboration with artist Cody Hudson (2008)
Format: Sound Installation & Video

Notes: For Cody Hudson's tambourine sculpture entitled "Too Late to Keep the Change, Too Late to Pay," I created an accompanying sound piece entirely out of tambourine samples called "Tambourines for Cody." The installation was first set up at New Image Art in Los Angeles in July of 2008 for a joint show with artist Sean Cassidy. Its second incarnation will be opening tomorrow (Friday, December 12th, 2008) here in Chicago at the Andrew Rafacz Gallery. For this version, Cody created an additional video component, mounting TV monitors on the studio walls to run on loop adjacent to the sculpture.

Here are details from Gapersblock.com:

Chances are you're familiar with the work of local visual artist Cody Hudson by now; either by way of his silkscreened posters for various events and venues, his public art installations, or perhaps even his work as in-house designer (under the moniker Struggle Inc.) for the Chocolate Industries record label. Or you might know him -- along with Mike Genovese and Juan Angel Chávez -- as one of a core cluster of this city's most notable street artists.

This weekend, Hudson will be trotting out a new batch of work at a show that opens this Friday evening at the Andrew Rafacz Gallery in the West Loop. Entitled "Tambourine Solo: Take One," the exhibition will also feature musical accompaniment -- a musical score crafted by local musician Zachary Mastoon. In recent years Mastoon's released albums of shoegazey, downtempo tunes under the name Caural. The score for "Tambourine Solo," incidently, was originally done in collaboration with Hudson for a show that took place at New Image Art in L.A. this past August. So peep the work, hear the soundtrack, maybe even buy a print of something. 835 W. Washington, 5-8 PM. 312-404-9188 for info. The exhibition is scheduled to run until January 24.

— Graham Sanford

TAMBOURINE SOLO: TAKE ONE from cody hudson on Vimeo.

05 November 2008

Yes We Did!

November 4th came quickly this year, and I am still amazed that a day which had been built up skyscraper-high by a frenzied media still managed to surpass the impossible expectations everyday Americans - and our global neighbors - held for it. I recall my morning commute on the El, fingers smudged with newsprint as they leafed through page after page about Obama & McCain, and paragraphs of optimistic conjecture. Opening train doors let in the atypically warm fall breeze, and more people wearing Obama tee-shirts and buttons would step in the car, glancing around at a sea of red, white, and blue on the cover of the morning news.

Stepping off the train at Merchandise Mart, I felt overcome with exhilarated anxiety of the night to come. The cashier at Jamba Juice declared, "this is gonna be a good day," and I agreed. I had brought a large bag of leftover Halloween candy to get rid of at work, and offered her and her co-worker some after they finished making my Coldbuster, sharing it with the other customers in line. It sounds so corny in hindsight, but I was just feeling the most positive energy and wanted to give it to everyone around me any way I could. Once at the office, I found it hard to concentrate, but my workday went by much quicker than I had anticipated; the election was on everyone's mind. Soon enough, I was on the El to meet my friend Rachel at her work.

Having arrived a little early, I went next door to a small pub for a vodka soda. They had three televisions on with only the audio from CNN broadcast over the speakers, and everyone was glued to the results beginning to roll in. Obama was up by quite a bit already, but I flashed on 2004. Back then, after a disastrous first term which Bush didn't even technically win, I thought Kerry's victory would have been the painfully obvious outcome. I had a 40 ounce of Olde English and was wandering in and out of Olia's room in Williamsburg, periodically checking the poll results on her television. Of course we now know what happened, and the next day, the cover of Britain's Daily Mirror asked "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So Dumb?" But this time, it did feel different: not in the way that some conspiratorial fodder couldn't already be in the works, but that people all around me - those I would have never expected to become so passionate about the election - were suddenly self-appointed spokespeople for Change with a capital 'C'. I was getting text messages, mass emails, and hundreds of political links sent to me, and the suddenly ubiquitous "status messages" on chat servers, Myspace and Facebook were all about Obama.

Maybe that in itself - our continuing interconnectivity with technology and the embrace of omnipresent information - was at the core of making this campaign truly different, but it was so much more than that. One line stuck out to me, no doubt the inspiration for tee-shirts, pins, and blogs: "Give Intelligence A Chance." People really were paying more attention this time, and the transparency of dubious sources like Fox News was increasing, becoming less and less of a threat to the thinking viewer. Of course, I don't want to sit here and argue absolutely truth in journalism, and I clearly have bias; moreso, I felt that average people, the "joe six-packs" and "hockey moms," had so much more to say themselves this time around, and that's what revolution is really about.

When Rachel arrived, we quickly said goodbyes and made our way off for espresso and a ride back downtown to Grant Park. Initially, I had mixed feelings about attending the rally. My penchant for cynicism mixed with a healthy dose of paranoia, and I feared the worst. When you get millions of people in one place supporting a single cause, people against it will want to try anything they can. But, walking off the train among truly excited people that night, I shifted towards a comforting (but altogether dangerous) sense of invincibility. Vendors lined the packed streets, hawking their political paraphernalia with pride. The energy was intense: I couldn't tell if it was the espresso, but I was tingling with anticipation. I also found it amazing that, almost everywhere I looked, there was a smile. People were nearly shoulder to shoulder walking along Congress, but there weren't any complaints or irate comments if someone bumped into another. Instead, a pleasant apology, a grin, and even a high-five with a stranger: "Go Obama!"

We didn't have tickets, so we forged our way towards one of the bright jumbotrons. Helicopters hovered ominously in the sky, but all eyes were on the live footage of CNN as states became either red or blue, accompanied by the image of a smiling McCain (and boos) or Obama (deafening cheers). And the diversity of the people around me was really striking: Black, White, Yellow and Brown people of multiple generations stood eagerly and hopeful, their eyes illuminated in camera flashes like silent lightning before the storm. Some climbed trees to get a better view, and others scampered atop port-a-potties, heads above the veritable sea of onlookers.

Ohio was ours, and the crowd joined in a chant along with CNN's countdown until the west coast's count was announced: "Five, four, three, two, one..." Then, with a swirl of animated stars and "Breaking News," Barack Obama's face came on the screen. I couldn't see the entire screen, and so I asked Rachel if he had just won California. "Zak - he won the entire thing! Barack Obama is president!"

I couldn't believe it. It almost seemed too fast, and my head was spinning. The crowd was going absolutely crazy, waving flags and cameras, hugging strangers, friends, and lovers. And then the paranoia set back in. I thought of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. My heart started to beat a little harder and faster in my chest, and I again looked at the helicopters hanging in the inky darkness. Could they see everything they needed to? And, even if they did, what could they do from so far away? It seemed like forever before Obama walked onto the pier-like platform, but with each of his articulated thoughts, my fear subsided. I thought of Martin Luther King again, but not out of fear. Obama's "Yes we can"s echoed King's "I have a dream," and I felt I was witnessing something even greater than that march on Washington forty-five years ago. I was reminded of a quote from rapper Jay-Z, "Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run." And there we were, as a nation on a night the world will remember - finally ready to fly.

To view photos from the rally, check my flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caural/sets/72157608690721236/

01 November 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Ras G - Beats & The Abstract Truth

Ras G - Beats & The Abstract Truth (Mochilla, 2008)
MOCD-009, MOCD009
Format: CD, Mixed

"Sorry, Underground Hip Hop Happened Ten Years Ago (for Regan)" on Ras G's Beats & The Abstract Truth (Mochilla)

Notes: Appears as Flying Lotus / Caural - "Orbit 405/Yoooooo"

21 October 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Panty Raiders: Project Vote

Panty Raiders: Project Vote (2008)
Format: TV/Online

I was happy to lend some of my music to the Panty Raiders, an award-winning squad of female artists based in NY who are all about "ambushing your media." For this collection of shorts produced for the Sundance Channel, these ladies traveled to Mexico City, Mumbai and London to get locals to cast their vote for the next American president. Check it out, and remember to exercise your right to vote!!

"Your Memories On Television," "All These Todays Just Melt Into Tomorrows" and "Pieces of a Broken Glass God" appear on Mexico City, Mumbai, and London episodes.


01 October 2008

Modart Issue no. 19

Modart Issue no. 19
Zachary Mastoon is also known as "Caural" and his musical creations are legendary in the Hip Hop, Beats, and Downbeat scenes. He makes lush tunes with a totally unique edge to them. Unlike a lot of the wash of downbeat that is around, Zachary manages to inject personality into his tracks and even give them an age.

He's opened gigs for James Lavelle, Daedelus, RJD2, Aceyalone and many more, along with racking up a massive discography of his own. He also has a large amount of remixes under his belt.

We haven't heard from him in a while and I wanted to introduce him to the readers of Modart both for his music and visual art. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Let's talk...

Q: How did it all start for you?

Whether it was my dad playing Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder records when I was 3, or my infatuation with early 80's bands through MTV (I'd record songs off the television with a Fisher Price cassette recorder), I just fell in love with music immediately. My cousin Andy got this Casio PT-80 keyboard and, primarily out of jealousy, I got one too. We started recording music together when I was 4 years old or so, and I can't find the tape for the life of me! Anyway, my across-the-street neighbor Stuart Bogie and I began working together on some music soon after that. I had a sparkly blue drum set, an acoustic guitar, and that keyboard: For a six year old, I brought the heat! Stuart would rap on top of it, and I actually put one of those early songs on my first album, Initial Experiments In 3D. Things progressed from there, and I still work on music with Stuart to this day.

Q: How is the industry NOW compared to say the era when the PAINT EP was out in 2001?

Well, it's sometimes hard to separate how I *felt* about the industry at such a young age from how it actually was outside of my wide-eyed and naive perspective. Back then, the internet wasn't as robust in terms of getting music out there. There wasn't a Myspace; I don't think file-sharing was as popular and mainstream as it is now; And I feel like everybody and their mother wasn't a "producer." In the last ten years, the way that technologies have emerged has irrevocably changed the industry and kind of leveled the playing field, and I suppose that is both a blessing and a curse. While it's wonderful that music software and social networking sites can turn anyone into the next big thing, it also bleeds a torrential amount of fucking garbage into cyberspace and makes sifting through it something I have little desire to do any longer. I am still a fan of music, and I still love creating it, but I really couldn't care less about the industry side of things any more.

Q: Your recent "Sorry Underground Hip Hop Happened 10 Years Ago" track contains how many "Yo's" from various hip hop records?

It's hard to say exactly because some of the individual samples have multiple "yo"s within them, but there were roughly 450 samples stiched together to create the final piece.

Q: How long did that take?

Including the time it took to listen through my rap collection and actually extract and edit the audio, I'd say the entire process took me in excess of 4 months. Granted, I wasn't working on it every day... If I had, I would've driven myself completely insane! Nearly every single hit or chord within each bar was from a different record, and so a lot of it was determining which snare sounded best next to which kick drum or hi hat. And then of course you needed to take into consideration incidental noises and/or tones within the samples, and sometimes that would make or break a small passage. It was the most tedious thing I've ever done in my entire life, but I felt compelled and excited to finish it nonetheless!

Q: It's not a track one could particularly rock a club with ... why make it?

That's a ridiculous question, but I think it is indicative of what a lot of people look for in electronic music nowadays. My fascination with sample-based music - and music in general - has nothing to do with making people dance or have a social experience. Instead, I want to evoke an emotion or a thought. "Sorry, Underground Hip Hop Happened Ten Years Ago (for Regan)," was meant as sort of a bitter joke and a mindfuck, but ultimately it is a tribute to what rap music was to me.

Q: You're living in Chicago, correct? How is the scene there these days, it's a pretty legendary city for music?

Well, I just moved back to Chicago from Brooklyn and, to be totally honest, I've never really been part of any specific scene here. There are a lot of amazing musicians, and there's definitely a lot to take in. Right now, I've been most interested in listening to live jazz and improvised music; Next to the Blues, I'd say that is one of Chicago's richest scenes.

Q: What's on the horizon for you in the near future?

Instead of making a proper new Caural full-length, I've been investing time in different sorts of pieces and really challenging myself over the past year. I made a sound piece as part of Cody Hudson's gallery installation in Los Angeles, and hope to do more work along those lines. I have been finishing new material with a friend of mine here - a side project called Boy King Islands - and we hope to have a record finished within the next few months. There are a slew of remixes and compilation appearances slated for release, and I am going to begin work on a new Caural record very soon... After nine years of using a hardware sequencer, I've started seeking some new ways of making art, and so the next record may be a complete departure from what I've been doing thus far... That's the way it should be.

Q: Have you enjoyed yourself here at Modart?

Yes, and thank you!

Zachary Mastoon aka Caural


08 August 2008

Lollapalooza 2008 (Kind of)

From its 1991 incarnation as a swan song tour for Jane's Addiction (including Austin freak rockers Butthole Surfers, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails and others), Perry Farrell's Lollapalooza festival has counted among its alumni some of the biggest names in "alternative" music. I'll never forget Lollapalooza '94 at the World Music Theater: Only a day before Kurt Cobain's suicide, grunge heroes Nirvana had pulled out as the festival's headliner and allowed Smashing Pumpkins to close the night. But the real highlight for me - besides locking the keys in my running car and flagging down security with embarrassingly bloodshot eyes - was the quality and variety of acts, a standard the festival has adhered to since its inception. Following a five year hiatus beginning in 1998, Lollapalooza's resurrection coincided once again with a Jane's Addiction tour in 2003; Two years later, it found a new home in Chicago's Grant Park.

With Radiohead, Gnarls Barkley, Wilco, Broken Social Scene, Explosions In The Sky, Cat Power, the Raconteurs, and so many more in 2008's lineup, I started wondering how I had - in actuality- heard so little music this year! I blame the open bars at the Hard Rock Hotel which had me drunkenly navigating between the EastSport Cafe and various lounges and gifting suites accumulating schwag, jeans (thank you Silver & Diesel!) and far too many vodka sodas. One also had the ability to have beautiful girls from Mac Cosmetics make you look more glamourous before that interview, or get a tattoo (!) while folks played Guitar Hero or Wii bowling nearby. Sadly, in the few hours I had at the actual grounds on Saturday, all I heard was Blues Traveler (huh?) and derivative "pop punk" courtesy of Brand New. I felt like an asshole for missing so many great artists, so I just threw back another Southern Comfort and Green Tea. But, with all regrets aside, we made the long, sunny walk amidst thousands of eager Lolla devotees to catch at least some of the action on Sunday.

Flosstradamus was holding it down on the wheels of steel (um, Serato, anyway), but the real party that afternoon was the frenetic, confetti covered antics of Pittsburgh's Girl Talk. Crowded on stage with 40 or so dancing admirers, this former biomedical engineer stared at his plastic-covered laptop bouncing under their weight, occasionally clicking his mouse as rolls of toilet paper were launched into the crowd. Software and technique aside, seeing tens of thousands of people go absolutely bananas for his John Oswald inspired mashups was a pleasure, as was his finale: riding a fucking inflatable boat out into the ecstatic sea of hands and smiles.

Mark Ronson was up next and, within minutes, I wished I was still listening to his sister Samantha (from the previous night's Rock The Vote after-party) blending A Tribe Called Quest into Brand Nubian and Vampire Weekend before stealing kisses with her homegirl Lindsay Lohan. I am sorry, but I felt I was listening to a wedding band run through lackluster renditions of rehashed pop music, the worst of all being the supreme butchery of my favorite Smiths song of all time, "Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before." Actually, I have heard [that] one before, but I couldn't stop you because you weren't letting Paper Magazine backstage.

A $5 slice of pizza later, it was time for the triumphant conclusion of Lollapalooza 2008. With rumors of a cameo appearance by our presidential hopeful Barack Obama during Kanye West's set, Nine Inch Nails suffered some considerable competition from the other side of the park. Nevertheless, under an illuminated skyline, Chicago's own West blew the crowd away with impressive interpretations of his material. As the lightshow faded along with his hometown fans' clamorous applause, we returned to the Hard Rock for a final Rock The Vote party with Chromeo and Phantom Planet... And enough Red Bull to keep me unintentionally awake 'til noon the next day.

23 July 2008

Caural at Los Angeles’ New Image Art Gallery with Cody Hudson & Sean Cassidy

At my shoegaze DJ set this past May here in Chicago at Sonotheque, my friend Cody Hudson (aka Struggle Inc.) approached me about doing a sound piece for an installation he was working on with tambourines. I went straight to work, and the piece is now in rotation at the New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles:

(from New Image Art)

New Image Art presents:

I May Be Right & I May Be Wrong
But Your Gonna Miss Me
When I'm Gone
Notes On Building A Time Machine

Sean Cassidy & Cody Hudson
July 19 – August 9, 2008

Opening reception July 19th

7908 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 654-2192

Continuing on the theme of the human condition, this body of work explores the concepts of both euphoria and impending doom at the same time while struggling to figure out which one is actually the positive experience.

This show will consist of new drawings, paintings and site specific installation. Both artists share roots in skateboard culture out which they have derived distinctive styles in conceptual art. Cody Hudson's constructions are known for their abstract and colorful playfulness. For this show the project room will feature a large sculpture by Cody Hudson made of found objects and collected tambourines, which also consists of a sound component created by Caural (Zachary Mastoon), titled "Tambourines for Cody."

Cody Hudson is a Chicago based painter, also known for his commercial art and graphic design contributions under the name Struggle Inc. His graphic work and paintings have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe and Japan including the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Rocket Gallery (Tokyo), The Reed Space (NYC), The Lazy Dog (Paris), & Bucket Rider Gallery (Chicago). Cody's work has been featured in numerous magazines and publications including idN, Arkitip, Anthem & Juxtapoz. His work can also be seen on random corners of Chicago streets, where he frequently participates in the construction of found object installations.

Sean Cassidy currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been described as a marriage of scientific and chaotic thought producing an aesthetic and symbolic idiolect. His first solo show in April of 2007 was titled "Memory is a Vacuum," exhibited at New Image Art.

20 May 2008

May 27th DJ Set @ Sonotheque, Chicago / New Music Online

OK! Time is flying by. I have been keeping very busy with new projects and my main project of, well, readying my mind for Japan! It's pretty sobering to realize my move is only 9 weeks away... But, I am doing my best to remain present – even though I've begun studying Japanese at my desk at work...

For those of you in Chicago, I will carve a few hours out of my thus-far hermetic style to spin records at Sonotheque with some fellas from Tortoise:

Tuesday, May 27th, 9:30 PM – 2:00 AM, FREE!

Bird & Whale Showcase @ Sonotheque
1444 W. Chicago Ave, 312-226-7600

DJ sets by: Bundy K. Brown, Caural, John McEntire, and Brad Loving.


I've been recording new material for Boy King Islands, a "group" of sorts I have with friend Jason Hunt. There have been some label woes which have pushed back the release date, but we plan on mixing 3 or 4 brand new songs and hopefully having the project out later this year, at least for sale digitally. You can check out sound samples and keep up with us on our Myspace page:



The fruits of my recent work with friend Stuart Bogie are now online as well. When not recording with Antibalas, TV On The Radio, The Sway Machinery, Celebration, and Scarlett Johansson – yes, Scarlett Johansson – he has been focusing on his new solo effort, Super Human Happiness. In October, I co-produced and played on two songs for his upcoming album, tentatively titled "Bogie Nights." The album features performances by members of Antibalas, the Dap-Kings, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lone Wolf, guitarist Ryan Ferreira, and a slew of fantastic players from in and around NYC. The album will be mastered over the next couple of weeks and released shortly thereafter. You can listen to the almost-finished material here:


13 May 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program - Beat Soup Mix

Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program - Beat Soup Mix (tRUEradio MHz)
[Beat Scientist Session – #8]
Format: Digital Only

"Sorry, Underground Hip Hop Happened Ten Years Ago (for Regan)"

Notes: Appears as "Yo!!!!!!"

24 March 2008

New Sound Piece Available for Download/Misel Quitno Remix

I am excited and relieved to have finished a journey fueled by intense obsessive-compulsive disorder and a love of collage, and present to you a brand new sound piece (dedicated to my touring pal Regan Farquhar aka BUSDRIVER):

"Sorry, Underground Hip Hop Happened Ten Years Ago (for Regan)"

The title is stolen from his genius and wholly self-deprecating tee-shirt, one I quite enjoy wearing myself for the reward of glares and snickers. In that spirit, over the last few months I re-visited all of my rap albums - most of which have not aged well at all – to find every instance of the word "yo." Then, after organizing and numbering the resulting 450 or so individual samples by type ("yo"s accompanied by a chord, drum hit, noise, etc.), they were arranged into the 2 minute track below. It can be heard on my Myspace page or downloaded from here:


(If you like it – even if you hate it – please feel free to share the link with friends!)

Later this year, it will be released on Volume 5 of Organik Recordings’ "Get Your Hand Out Outta My Pocket" on limited-edition color vinyl. GYHOMP is a remix/mash-up series which has included Mr. Bambu & DJ Brazil from the Organik crew, Cyne, K-Kruz, Jon Kennedy, and other artists looking to make John Coltrane crunk, or the Zombies sound electro… You can order each volume on Turntablelab.com while supplies last (each run is only 1,000 copies), and read about GYHOMP & Organik Recordings here:


Next up is a remix for my friend Dimlite’s alter ego Misel Quitno. I’ll be re-working "Im Halbhohen Gras" from his beautiful LP Sleep Over Pieces, released in December by the Swiss label Everest. I am looking forward to hearing something other than rappers getting ready to start their next verse…

Check out the project here:


23 January 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Bosco & Jorge - Inola (Caural Remix)

Bosco & Jorge - Inola (Caural Remix)
Appears on: Re-Mix Project (Who-Hey, 2008)
Format: Digital

01 January 2008

[DISCOGRAPHY] Stuart Bogie & Super Human Happiness - Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight

Stuart Bogie & Super Human Happiness - Fall Down Seven Times Stand Up Eight
(Self-released, 2008)
Format: CD

(Percussion and production)

"Human Happiness"
(Drums, percussion, toy piano, and production)