Feb 02, 2023
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Kathryn Strumolo
Zachary Mastoon first fell in love with music while listening to vinyl on his living room speakers and capturing new and emerging sounds on cassette, sparking a lifelong affair sampling. As Caural, Mastoon rediscovers those fractured moments of melodic bliss, and reshapes them into avant-garde sound collages. Mastoon first began drawing a following in the early 2000s before putting the Caural moniker to rest and recording a series of four shoegaze-inspired albums as Boy King Islands.
Most recently, he revived the moniker in 2019 when writing the score for his filmmaker wife Alex Mastoon’s debut “Word Is Bond,” and he is now back this year with a new EP, Dakou, out April 7th. Today, Mastoon is back with the first single from the record, “Cynkill,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Cynkill” circles around cut-up samples pulled from a gentle jazz ballad. Though played seemingly at random, the pieces enlace into a hypnotic soundscape, fitting together in shapes that prove both unexpected and rewarding. Mastoon gives the track’s abstract core a shimmering presence, shaping the jazz samples with the addition of airy synths, fluid drum work, ghostly vocals, and hints of birdsong. The result is an alluring reverie that sees Mastoon crafting intentional beauty from aural chaos.
Mastoon describes the track as “Stealing from an experiment I did twenty years ago with software – randomizing playback of a live jazz ballad – ‘Cynkill’ bridges the spirit of my early work to the ground beneath my re-entry into music. A bittersweet goodbye to Los Angeles, its name connects the ubiquitous ‘Cyn’ [canyon] of its landscape to the ‘Kill’ of the Hudson River Valley [Dutch for ‘riverbed’ or ‘water channel’].
Check out the song below. Dakou is out everywhere on April 7th.