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Caural - Stars on my Ceiling

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Artist: Caural

Album: Stars on my Ceiling

Label: Chocolate Industries

Review date: Jul. 25, 2002

Zachary Mastoon, a.k.a. Caural, reportedly grew up influenced by the old school pleasures of hip hop. This comes as no surprise while perusing the new double black-wax of Stars on my Ceiling, a grand follow up to his Paint EP. This one-man mixing wonder showcases his talent with a plethora of sampled sounds and a talent for handling many other additional instruments.

Unlike most sample and turntable gurus, Caural’s pieces are more premeditated songs than chance adventures of where the needle drops next. Comparable to genre-ambiguous artists like Fourtet, Tommy Guerrero and req, Caural stems from his hip hop framework into the undefined realm of electronic sound. The first track “All These Days Just Melt Into Tomorrows” melds a straight-forward hard snare beat with chimes that sound like galloping horses into a complicated, deeply structured track rich with meandering bass and heavy drum work. Caural’s organic feel for the samples and beats are elemental to his sound. While most of the music here is instrumental, the subtle jazz arrangements and atmospheric vibes are more original than most downtempo artists.

Chocolate Industries has, with Caural, again found and supported an artist that is fresh, young and original. The label’s recent work with Push-Button Objects, EL-P and Diverse, covers the more lyrical and subterranean roots of hip hop, but Caural differs from the trend. Stars on my Ceiling showcases the confusion of fusion that integrates lighthearted fuzzy feedback and samples with the high-hats and snares.

While current PC technology now allows your next door neighbor’s kid to throw down beats and loops quicker than ever before, Caural skillfully constructs the pieces of each track with a sampler and sequencer, the way it was meant to be done. Every song on Stars on my Ceiling is accessible, fitting rather perfectly into long drives and the late nights of mellow, undefined goals. The combinations of tight beats, guitars, and the old dusties, in cuts like “Sipping Snake Blood Wine” meet somewhere between DJ Cam, Fourtet, Beneath Autumn Sky, the touches of the Function 8 crew and even the experimental ends of Mira Calix. Mastoon dials out from the area of Chicago and is in the process of making a follow up to this wonderful release, but why hurry? Caural and Chocolate Industries have brought you the beat-oriented album of the summer, minus the bling-bling.

By Nate Howe

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