Track Review: Josh Mason – “Dying In A Canoe”

[Sunshine Ltd. ; 2013]

I know the title sounds morbid, but in Josh Mason’s world, death is a beatific, placid thing. Traces of guitar, swarms of static, drones hovering in the distance like a city skyline silhouette, and a pointed harmonic sensibility combine to make something abstract, intangible, and beautiful. Fans of Fennesz’s glitchy folk experiments, Hakobune’s arched stillness, or Taylor Deupree’s wistful glances to the past will find plenty to love here. This music can be as dense and muggy as the humid air of Mason’s home of Jacksonville, Florida, but like a calming summer’s day it never gets oppressively thick or unbearably scorching. It’s out now on Mason’s own Sunshine Ltd., and it comes highly recommended for those of you looking for some new summer ambient music to float down a lazy river to.

By the way, the title refers to an organism in a symbiotic relationship, which in turn is defined as a “close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species.” What would those be in the case of this two-track album? Perhaps it’s the blurred and overlapping relationship between instruments, but I’d like to think it’s really referring to the relationship between sound and listener; music depends on listeners to be heard, and listeners can easily be enriched by beauty. Sample “Dying In A Canoe” below:

MP3: Josh Mason – “Dying in a Canoe”