Stream: Maston, Shadows

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A Southern California autéur handles the entirety of the composition on <i>Shadows</i>.

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Sjimon Gompers | February 7, 2013

Maston

Step into the Shadows with Maston. (press photo)

The production values from LA in the 1960s is written in the secret code of Maston, as they present the vast arrangements of their album debut for Trouble in Mind, Shadows. Frank Maston with Tabor Allen, Ryan Beal, Miles Wintner, Miles Marsico, resurrect the legendary Gold Star Studios sound in a dedicated reverence as if it never became the current era mini-mall it is now at 6252 Santa Monica Blvd. Channeling the Wrecking Crew's ethic, Maston takes you on a song cycle of dazzling wall-of-sound creations that provide a lens that helps today's ears better understand the relevance of the modern pop baroque approaches that inform tomorrow's music.

The day at the carnival orchestrations on “Strange Rituals” echoes of the sweeping soundscapes brought by Hollywood's classic dreamboat recording studios and sound stages. California dreaming, the keyboards and organ steam bellows that perform like grinder monkeys entertaining tourists at the wharf. Presenting the wholesome home-walls-of-sound is, “(You were) In love” that goes for the '67 concept album song gold in a song that mourns for a friend's break up while celebrating the good times of a sweet love lost in chic-Victorian-pop-colors. “She was cruel, when she broke your heart in two”.

Getting mysterious and entertaining the mystic and cryptic elements of spy film musical composition, “Message” moves in a big production that over dubs in double agent path traces.”Looks” brings lavish arranged vanities of the heart in swooning back up of orchestrals and horse galloping percussion. Spinning the concept electric organ trot further “Young Heart”, Frank confesses “can't steal my eye from you” before the brass joins the romantic song's rhythmic advances. “Judge Alabaster” spins the long-ago production towards contemporary music before zooming past the guitar tone trends of the day for faint sonic trails of space pop without a settled or defined time zone.

Playing a game of choose your favorite Holy Roman Emperor, “King Conrad” acts like an Hohenstaufen dynasty waltz co-headlined by surf guitar and electric organ adornments. “Flutter” takes after the interludes from expressive bliss moments in 60s cinema, complete with moments of contemplation and developmental depictions of varied emotive sound narratives. “Mirror” hurdles again toward the contemporary, utilizing the facets of modern recording, fusing instrumentations together in the echo chamber bowl that take you inside the reflections and in between the sound's walls. Vibraphones and synths sets the closing number “Night” that rocks you to stillness with electric guitar weeps and Frank's lullaby that gives the entire album Shadows an enchanted, polyphonic music box feel, comprised of many components, gears, bearings and facets, that winds down like the plastic dancing figurine's spin.

Maston's LP Shadows will be available February 12 via Trouble in Mind.

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