Ben Mason – Dogs N Yaaa (Recordiau Prin)
CD / DL
8.5 / 10
Experimental lo-fi folk artist re-releases acclaimed album.
Chances are that you've heard Ben Mason and didn’t know it - one half of Human Edwards with the artist formerly known as Pulco making tracks based on car indicator sounds, the quirkzotic tasty meaty beat treats of Bagpipe Whiskey or, the lo-fi funk weirdness of Caru Cariad – either way, he may possibly have already touched your soul.
Dogs N Yaaa sees the light again after its initial release and critical acclaim four years ago. The album title is an anagram of A Song A Day, a self-explanatory project which resulted in the highlights being released as this album. What you have on the whole is some fine song-writing with the odd bit of experimentalism thrown in for good measure. A sonic collage of simplicity and complication, it is honest and highly enjoyable.
At little over thirty minutes, each of the twelve tracks represents a part of the Dogs N Yaaa jigsaw – it just wouldn’t work without everything being here. Album opener Trochilus Song is lead by birdsong and the faintest of guitar playing in the background. Imagine coming across a musician sat under a tree in the middle of the remotest field, his gentle improvised strumming echoing in unison with the avian sounds and instantly transporting you away.
It’s A Shame follows and it’s an absolute gem. A stunning lesson in simplicity and allowing voice and guitar to take control – “it’s a shame, you were born at all” offers some cutting words and it leaves a mark of sadness as it comes to a close. Willis Williams McJones-Edwards III treats us to a mish-mash of sampled voices which takes things to another level whilst Mumma Husk and Embryonic Son take a more ‘conventional’ folky approach.
It’s a mixed bag of an album and one which has something for everyone, it’s one of those albums that deserves to be revered and fawned over by the music press. If it isn’t then it can become one of your little secrets.
Order the cd and get a free dog biscuit.