Back around the turn of the century Daniel Masson released his first album entitled Jetlag. Just last month he released a 2015 edition that showcases Masson’s first time blending traditional instruments with electronic elements. Truth be told I was expecting something a little less refined and nuanced than 2015’s Ten Particles and 2013’s A Tiny Kick in the Brain. As it turns out “Jetlag” is just as engaging and inventive as his recent releases. If anything the move is parallel. You can easily shuffle the songs in these albums and you would never notice a sacrifice in production quality or eclectic mix of sounds.
For those of you unfamiliar with Masson's work it's what I would call ear candy that deserves a nice pair of headphones. The layers in his songs evolve and devolve and what feels like a stream of consciousness. Unlike a copious of house music that touts the same beat and sounds like a mantra Masson's music seems to never remain stagnant. He can’t help adding a horn or omitting a sound, etc. You get the idea.
As far as I know Masson doesn't do any singing of own but sure knows how to utilize a vocal sample. That being said the vocal snippets he uses never feel like a lead vocal. On the contrary they feel like just another element in the mix. I would argue that this aspect makes you listen to the music in a different way than you would most vocal pop music. Your ears shift and sashay across the soundscapes and only sometimes settle on a specific instrument.
Up first is “Deia” which is immediately indicative of Masson's propensity to mix electronic and organic elements. A repetitive plucking of strings is soon combined with celestial, arpeggiated synths. The beat is dropped and you can easy settle in the tranquil groove. “Utopia Airlines” is a fitting name because the song does sort of sound like you are being swept away to a beautiful tropical island on a fictional airline. A similar vibe is established on “Moon Hotel.” This time it feels like a sensual dreamy haze where you are being powerlessly seduced and given some opium to smoke.
Things become more focused and dance worthy on the MDMA covered track “Djoser.” Masson experiments with jungle on this track and it pays off. “Djoser” is a certified highlight. “Dhaka Mission” has an eastern vibe by implementing instruments such as tablas but it also feels like cutting edge electronic music not unlike that of Amon Tobin. “Barcelona” seems to have the fastest BPM and at times feels like a tip of the hat to Aphex Twin.
Although I would argue Masson's music is best heard while actively listening on a nice pair of headphones that’s really just one way it can be utilized. His music could easily be enjoyed while having a small get together and even at an appropriate (less douche-y) nightclub. If you were already a fan of Masson's work than Jetlag is probably something you were already familiar with but if you have never heard of his music before then it is a great place to start.
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