Boomkat Product Review:
Florida-based Josh Mason, who's released on Digitalis, Desire Path and Longform Editions among others, and collaborated with High Aura'd, Olli Aarni and Nathan McLaughlin, arrives on Students of Decay with his most digestible and lushly cinematic release to date.
Struck through with Florida's muggy humidity, 'An Anxious Host' is a charmingly low-key set of dreamy digital experiments, that stretch back to the game-changing work of Markus Popp and Jan St. Werner's recently-reissued Microstoria albums back in the mid-'90s. Using balmy synths, odd, sampled rhythms and frazzled, bit-crushed textures, Mason conjures up an effective sonic landscape that he keeps coherent throughout the record, varying the pace but not the mood. It's nostalgic music in many ways, but doesn't sound dated; Mason uses familiar processes (think Shuttle358 or Jan Jelinek on the wrong speed) but tells a story that's completely his own.
His surroundings directly influence the pace and flow of the music: we can hear pebbles washing on the beach on 'Tired to the bone' and a sub-bleached, busted upright piano on 'One man's trash is another man's garbage', warm waves on 'The sunken cost is detailed' and scurrying creatures on 'Cart dog'. 'An Anxious Host' is packed with heat haze and layered storytelling, and fits neatly alongside Atte Elias Kantonen's uncanny contemporary digitalia. Very nice indeed.