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STEVE MASON

Steve Mason

About The Light

    Having written most of his previous albums alone, About The Light marks a change in approach for Steve.

    “I decided with this album that I wanted to get my live band involved at every stage because I wanted to capture the energy that we produce when we play live shows, so this time the band and myself worked on a collection of songs over the course of last year,” he explains.

    Picking Stephen Street to produce the album, and with a very clear plan in mind, from the off the goal was to capture the songs live and draw out their soulful elements.

    Talking about the process, Stephen Street says, “Steve explained that he wanted to make this album with his band playing more ‘live’ than on some of his previous offerings and also to augment the songs with brass and female backing vocalists. I felt this approach of first stripping back the songs to a more ‘live’ feel to create more space for the more ‘soulful’ elements to breathe in was an interesting one and we got down to work!”

    Recorded at studios in London and Brighton, About The Light, sees a subtle yet noticeable evolution in Steve’s sound.

    “When I listen to this album it feels and sounds like the first ‘legitimate’ record that I have ever made. It’s hard to explain but it sounds like a ‘real’ album. I think that is partly the production, the playing and the work that I did with the band for all those months in our rehearsal room on the South Coast,” says Steve.

    “It’s a beautiful, confident, positive, angry, loving and gentle album which once again moves what I do forward,” he adds. “David Bowie said that you should always be slightly out of your comfort zone if you want to achieve greatness, and for the first time perhaps ever, I deliberately pushed myself into that place. Who doesn’t want greatness?”

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited indies exclusive silver vinyl edition.

    Written at home by Mason, the tracks were then rehearsed in Brighton with touring band mates Steve Duffield and Greg Nielson, before being recorded with Elbow keyboardist and producer Craig Potter at Blueprint Studios in Salford. Recorded in the studios ‘big room’, an ex-factory space with floor to ceiling windows, the album took shape during a smooth and enjoyable six weeks in the early summer of 2015.

    Following from his ‘double political concept album’ ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’ this album is a move towards a more simple ethic; ‘an album where each song is a separate entity, where there is no great narrative running through it.’

    ‘Meet The Humans’ is shot through with a sense of renewal following Steve’s recent move to Brighton, swinging musically across dance, pop, folk, dub, and deep house influences. It’s a record which repeatedly returns to core themes, the possibility of others to redeem the self, the opportunity of change for the better in the individual, the joy of life and the world we inhabit, it’s arguably the most complete and direct of Steve’s long discography - eleven personal stories combined into one positive and proper whole, the sweep of the human condition written large and full of love and hope and joy.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: The funky ex Beta Band maestro returns with a buoyant encapsulation of all that is good in his groovesome world. The lush production and airy vibes make this pretty close to a pop record, but as ever, there's always the melancholy in the melody for Mr. Mason. However, certain tracks on here take us right back to those glorious baggy days of 1989, which I always thought was Steve's musical template. Combining these with the more introspective moments make this possibly the best album of his career so far. Inspirational.

    After the critically lauded ‘Boys Outside’, ex-Beta Band mainman Steve Mason delivers his magnum opus ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’.

    ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’ is an album saturated with politics. With a title referring to the Buddhist term for an easily distracted brain, the album features 20 songs - 9 recorded in London with producer Dan Carey and 11 short linking pieces self-produced in Mason’s Fife studio.

    All songs on the album were written by Mason, while Dan Carey appears on bass throughout the record, and acclaimed London MC Mystro provides vocals on ‘More Money, More Fire’.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Steve Mason is back! This record has massive songs, interspersed with strange, moody interludes that make it feel like a funky, heady, exotic concept album. Looser, more musically playful than his last LP, but with thoughtful, serious lyrics, ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time’ has a sort of post-punk sensibility moving through reggae and hip-hop, via baggy, and right up to now. Frustrated at the lack of a dissenting voice in popular music, the Monk-Meister has come up with a record that's part righteous, disaffected, howl in the dark, and part autobiographical contemplation. Unlike ‘Boys Outside’, which felt like a soothing balm for his melancholy / depression, here Steve's anger is an energy that's helped him create his greatest ever music. And yes, that includes the Beta Band. Funnily enough, the atmospheric linking pieces - which weave between the proper tracks - taking in, as they do; macabre snatches of Macbeth, Dante's Inferno, a street-busked jig and F1 racing commentary, feel arty and experimental, just like the Beta Band, but now all grown up and servicing a proper message i.e. we're in real danger of amusing ourselves to death, unable to see the flames all around us. This never sounds pompous or preachy though, especially since Steve still includes all those raw, sad songs about his own life. He's just trying to tell the truth, tell it like he sees it, but with love, empathy, and OK, a smidgen of hate! With tunes as mega and groovy as this, we can all have a jolly good time while the ship goes slowly down. Absolutely massive.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: The double gatefold vinyl is limited to and pressed on heavyweight 180gm vinyl with download codes.

    Django Django

    Life's A Beach - Inc. Steve Mason Remix

    Another belter from Django Django's brilliant eponymous debut long player (one of our favourite albums of the year). ‘Life’s A Beach’ combines everything that makes the Django's music so good: a simplicity of songwriting, catchy tunes and a feelgood jauntiness to chase the blues away. This 10" picture disc has the original accompanied by a remix by Steve Mason of the Beta Band. Steve fires up the Dub Maker 2000 and delivers a dubbed-out, head-nodding acid-tinted version that loses none of the original's charm.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    10" Info: Limited 10" picture disc.


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