Daniel Masson is one of the pioneers of the French electronic music scene. Back in 1976 before most of our readers (including myself) were born Masson was experimenting with computer-based compositions. After years of composing and refining his abilities he went on to make video game soundtracks for giants like Ubisoft. Having released material on such labels as Jet Lag and Oceania Records his latest is entitled A Tiny Kick in the Brain. After a couple of minutes of listening you know this is a very seasoned veteran who is extremely talented and that would make most of the newer generation of artists in this genre seem like amateurs. This album is a great blend of world music and cutting-edge original musical composition. Some of that may have had to do with his many travels as well as the great artists that contributed to this project such as the American pedal steel guitar legend, Bobby Black, and the great pop singer, Kally aka Hyung Yoon Jang, from South Korea. If I had to make a comparison it might be to The Field if there were more of an ethnic vibe to his music. The reason I bring up The Field is because there is a fluidity, and optimism to Masson’s music. It also seems to have an abundance of change that never leaves the music to feel stale.
“Screen Characters” is a great opener and would be a great track to be playing at a chill house party. I absolutely loved it. Nothing felt forced on the track from the organic bass to the inspired complexity of the rhythm. Somehow there were a lot of things going on but everything felt perfectly placed, very similar to Panthu Du Prince. The world music wasn’t apparent to me until I heard the second track “Diving into the City” which had a beautiful eastern sounding string instrument. In the wrong hands this could have been a disaster but this was far from the truth in this case. “Smog on the Roof” was the first track that didn’t contain a deep bass drum for you to grove to. Instead there was a trance-like synth that was front and center as a distant almost ominous cloudy pad permeated the stereo-field. Les Souvenirs offered some singing that I usually think takes away from instrumental music but in this case it is so good I didn’t seem to mind it here. It was low in the mix and I felt like it was like any other instrument. I’m so glad I got to hear this music. Now I know where all the innovative French electronic musicians got their influence from.
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