Review: Masterface – Freedom Tower

Following on from Natureboy’s excellent debut, Bleek Records have put out another stunning record courtesy of Masterface’s ‘Freedom Tower’. The brainchild of Brooklyn-based producer Cedar Apffel (an interesting name since ‘Apfel’ is the German word for “apple”), his album merges shoegaze, post-rock, dub and electronica to create a brilliantly diverse end product.

‘Ancient Face’ begins with a simple riff and layered vocals but then after two minutes the track slows down to allow for space and dub to work its magic. It’s arguably this use of dub which singles out Apffel from so many other dreampop acts, calling to mind the out there experimental pop of A.R.Kane.

The euphoric ‘Excuse Me Girl’ sounds like Foster The People after discovering shoegaze but thereafter the album moves away from immediacy to lengthy passages of gorgeous ambient and post-rock with each track seamlessly segueing to the next. The instrumental ‘My Yums Yums’ offers a cavalcade of percussion provided by drummer Rory O’Connor but the wonderful ‘Magic Dragging’ starts a three-track sequence of blissed-out dub reggae and ambient music and is redolent of Bark Psychosis in their prime. To end with – and in keeping with this time of the season – sleigh bells propel final track ‘XMasterface’ as well as a mysterious vocal loop.

Apffel is currently producing the next Natureboy album so heaven knows what they could conjure up together. In the meantime, the sugar rushes and dense atmospherics of Apffel’s solo project will keep listeners entranced for some time yet.

Web Sites:
Masterface Bandcamp
Bleek Records Label Site

Further Listening:
A.R.Kane, Bark Psychosis, HIJK

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