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Masque BIOGRAPHY

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The soulful terrain traversed by this ensemble spans the continents and the ages.  Masque blends musical genres from around the world; combining ethnic/world themes with western popular as well as classical musics. The ensemble is intent on creating unusual musical fusions rather than simply recreating pure indigenous music.  The resulting cultural mid-air collisions have often been labeled filmic in scope.

 

BACKGROUND

Masque is a distillation of the ethnomusicological fascinations which core members Brent Meyer and Chris Willshire have explored for nearly a decade.  Although the pair began as classically trained musicians, they have since ventured onto unorthodox musical paths.  The recent addition of multi-percussionist Rick Striker further enriches the variations and unique nature of Masque.  As a former member of the internationally renowned group Ring Of Myth (Kenesis), Striker brings inventiveness and incredible technical mastery into the fold.  Additionally, James Payfer has recently signed on to add still denser layers of percussive mayhem after a respite from his former project, the acclaimed goth/industrial band 29 Died (Prospect).

 

LYRICS           

Meyer’s lyrics, often melancholic or impressionistic, range from highly structured prose to abstract rantings.  “My personal demons and vexations are laid bare for all to see,” confesses Meyer, “the evolution of my work, which was didactic and stoic in it’s early incarnations, is now more emotionally expressive and revealing.”

 

MUSIC

Compositionally, Masque alternates dense, heavy orchestrations with spartan, minimalistic passages. From their beginnings as traditional rock instrumentalists, Meyer and Willshire ravenously acquired and taught themselves numerous lesser-known instruments from around the world. Unusual instrumental pairings are a hallmark; such as Chinese dulcimer with electric guitar, Javanese gamelan with Chapman Stick, or even saz and synth. The members of Masque view the process as a marriage of high-tech and no-tech with a strong belief that any instrumental means to an end is acceptable, as long as the resulting musical blend conveys the desired emotion. The studio is viewed as an instrument and it factors heavily in how the music is conceived. Despite the esoterics, the emphasis is unquestionably on memorable melodies and songs.

 

PERFORMANCE

Masque is visually very striking in live performance due to the expanded instrumentation.  Most ethnic instruments are played by the band themselves.  Occasionally a sample of indigenous music is incorporated, yet Masque is always mindful of the context of the original piece.  The dramatic live stage set-up bears little resemblance to a mainstream concert, but instead gives the feel of an eclectic world-instrument museum.

 

Experience the haunting melodies, otherworldly soundscapes and rich multi-cultural themes of Masque.

The  live line up is:

Brent Meyer - vocals, guitars, keyboards, dumbek, talking drum, sourouba,

thai flute, gu zheng, baglama saz, soprano & tenor recorder, irish bouzouki, programming

 

Chris Willshire - Chapman Stick, electric bass, xian qin, keyboards, didgeridoo,

Moroccan finger drums, crotales , da ban di, alto recorder, programming

 

Rick Striker - electronic & acoustic drums, slit drum, djembes, balaphone, tar, crotales, vocals

 

James Payfer - djembe, dumbek, bodhran, duf, tar, low D whistle, electronic percussion, talking drum, didgeridoo, programming