Benjamin Mason – I Asked My Friends To Cover My Songs And This Is What They Came Up With
Self Released – 28 July 2017
Benjamin Mason is a Welsh electronic artist, ‘electronic’ being a relative term. Because thankfully, Benjamin marches to the beat of his own drum machine. His music has more in common with quirky, eclectic indie music than the clichés of IDM et al.
The title of this album says it all, and Benjamin’s friends are a talented bunch whose tastes and styles are as eclectic and unexpected as the man himself. This tribute album is every bit as wacky and enjoyable as anything Benjamin has put out, a welcome change.
Of course, to some extent, we are all electronic musicians now, in the age of cheap recording software and the ease of looping beats, samples and sounds. The temptation is great to get lost in the Land of Clichés, but as this recording proves, the world of electronic or semi-electronic music can be as diverse and interesting as any other musical genre.
If there is a common thread in this release besides the obvious electronica moniker, it may be ‘trance’. Sitars drone, drums sputter on hypnotically, and chord changes are minimal.
The album starts off with what sounds like the hi-hat sample on a toy keyboard in Oh to Be a Drifter. A fitting beginning and a great cover by kindred spirit and BBC6 favourite Pulco.Take a Solar Ship by Undersound is a wistful, slow moving electronica track with shimmering synths and ambient sound washes over which laconic vocals talk about losing oneself in a relationship.
Alacazam by Yewdrops may be the most ‘electronic’ in the traditional sense of the word. It has a distinct trip-hop vibe, reminiscent of Morcheeba, but that is more of a compliment than anything else. Give Me Your Tongue has a great 90s indie vibe and reminds me of Beck’s Guero album. The track has a lazy hip-hop beat with 80s synths, vague rattling 8bit sounds and washed out vocals in the best Flaming Lips tradition.
Mumma Husk by Todd Tuttle & Doug Seidel may be the most entertaining of the bunch. To hear somebody throat singing “I appreciate your honesty” is more than a little humorous. The background is a very strange amalgam of world music sounds, animal noises and tribal beats. This is what Captain Beefheart might have sounded like if he was a bedroom electronica artist. Skies are Falling is a low key closer with Jodie Marie singing soulfully over minimal electric piano and some ambient feedback.
I Asked My Friends To Cover My Songs And This Is What They Came Up With is an eclectic and adventurous release that has plenty of tongue-in-cheek silliness, tonnes of quirky off the wall creativity and some genuinely touching moments.
Out on 28 July: https://benjaminmason.bandcamp.com/
“I Asked My Friends To Cover My Songs And This Is What They Came Up With” main aim is to raise funds for the Thorne Mason Trust, which is a Pembrokeshire based charity aiming to help brain tumour sufferers in the area. They have also donated large amounts to Brain Tumour Research and are currently funding a PHD student. For more information visit (http://www.thornemasontrust.c
The unique artwork for the album was created by Richard Blacklaw-Jones who uses found objects on Pembrokeshire beaches to make his pieces. (http://www.beachcombingart.co