Boomkat Product Review:
Heady fusion of mystic South American tradition and contemporary electronic dance by drummer Brandon Valdivia aka Mas Aya, hitting square between the styles of Elysia Crampton, Christos Chondropoulos, DJ Plead and Ka Baird
‘Máscaras’ offers a lushly memorable introduction, where needed, to the world building sound of Toronto’s Brandon Valdivia, aka Mas Aya, whose name translates to “Over There.” In six parts he projects a mescaline strength vision quest of rich, live instrumentation and swirling harmonic colour underpinned by a mix of hands-on, and programmed drums that owe as much his South American heritage as prevailing currents of digi dancehall, trap and footwork, while also harking back to golden era Warp. In other hands this could be a box ticking exercise, but Mas Aya handles the disparate elements beautifully, harmoniously consolidating a world of influence in his craftily disciplined productions.
The opening whorl of flues and stumbling drums in ‘Momento Presente’ melts on the mind with a vibrant, radiant lushness that he toggles gently through the EP, from the keening pads and pendulous rolige of ‘Key’ to a highlight in ’18 de Abril’ imagining DJ Plead switching mode from Arabic to Incan. Its centrepiece ‘Villanueva’ presents the widest canvas for his thoughts to slosh over, and ’Tiempo Ahora’ weaves in a reverberating wordless lament from Lido Pimienta, while the beautifully buoyant ambience of closer ‘Quiescence’ surely recalls Ka Baird’s psychedelic tactility.