Electronic duo The Mast (vocalist Haleh Gafori and percussionist Matt Kilmer) haven’t had much downtime this year. They began 2014 with the release of their sophomore album Pleasure Island, following it up with a handful of NYC performances and a music video for “Nuclear Dragon.” Now, The Mast share another visual, this time for the vocally multifaceted and musically collaborative track “Luxor.”
Pleasure Island was created whilst Kilmer and Gafori were thousands of miles apart, a true celebration of modern collaboration. Kilmer laid down the beats, then sent them to Gafori, who added her vocals and sent them back to Kilmer, each building on the other’s contributions until the songs felt complete. Nowhere is this dialogue quite so clear as in “Luxor;” the instrumentals and the vocals meld together much like a conversation rather than two separate parts. With Gafori’s intricately affected and mesmerizing soprano vocals constantly interacting with Kilmer’s driving yet nonabrasive beats, “Luxor” is both aesthetically satisfying and musically elaborate.
Directed and edited by Gafori and filmed by Kilmer, the video for “Luxor” again captures the duo’s give-and-take, this time emphasizing a penchant for the exotic and esoteric. The video is a sort of deserted island fantasy. Gafori looks on, licking honey from her fingertips, as a large wooden box washes ashore on an otherwise lonely beach. One by one, three ethereally dressed women (Dina Nur, Iko Shirashai and Alexandra Belle) emerge, dancing hypnotically to the chopped beats of the song. Are the women goddesses? Myths? Just as the title of the song suggests something mystical, opulent, and ancient, these three beauties (as well as Gafori herself) evoke an anagogic awe, twisting and rising as the song crescendos and builds. The video’s visually arresting imagery emphasizes that this is a band who take their craft very seriously, treating it as a precious artifact or historical treasure. And the ambiguous ending gives hints that there’s more magic to anticipate from the incredibly gifted, hard-working pair.
The Mast will play a string of upcoming shows in the Northeast this summer. Watch “Luxor” below and enjoy.