Mason Proper seems to be following a trend in young local bands. Artist Actual Birds (aka Dustin Krcatovich) and his band the High Spirits, whom I saw at the same benefit show, also use electronic and analog noise. In both bands the addition of sculpted noise to musical compositions can result in a wide range of moods, including humor, otherworldly beauty, and dark, throbbing ugliness that leaves you begging for a pretty piano solo. It also makes lyrics hard to tease out, so I can't tell you what Mason Proper is singing about.
Live shows need to be carefully mixed to keep these sounds from bleeding together into a pulsing mess. When I saw Mason Proper, the mix was too loud for a full appreciation of the music's complexity, though the crowd of fans didn't seem to mind. Some were even dancing not easy to do to songs that specifically avoid setting down a groove.
Mason Proper doesn't lack for energy in its performances, though. On a small stage, the band members risk crashing into each other in their wild abandon. As mad scientists go, they're definitely more Hyde than Jekyll, and worth a venture into their laboratory.
Mason Proper is at the Blind Pig on Friday, August 18.
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