Alarmingly brilliant. You might not see or expect it in this group of four rather regular-looking guys from the Great Lakes State, but Michigan’s Mason Proper, led by the ingenious Jonathan Visger, creates an endless geometric array of patterns and textures that flow with fascinating angularity over a limestone groove riverbed. The band’s boggling resourcefulness with the regular suspects (drums, guitar, bass, samplers, voice) propels them beyond the box of ‘experimental indie pop’ into far outer atmospheric strata of synesthetic adventure.
Perplexed, I listen regularly to Mason Proper’s tunes from this live session and I still can’t figure them out. Like the uncrackable level 21 on Super Stacker 2, Mason Proper has become a vexing puzzle I’m obsessed with solving. Of course, this makes no sense. You can’t neccesarily solve a song any more than you can fly a rainbow potato on the scent of jasmine, but that’s exactly the point. See?
Visger works his impeccable sense of time and space with the diverse characteristics of his vocal instrument to maximum effect. His voice appears as a lovely sharp razor and silvery-clear spherical orb all at once. I imagine Visger to be the well-liked guy in high school who knew how to leverage a few simple household parts in order to craft a rocketship to the moon or a gerbil gymnasium that powers the energy needs of a small town. Think MacGyver meets Caractacus Pott on the set of Salvage 1.
I guess you could even call Visger a musical pharmacist – he concocts song coctails that psychotropically click with the brain’s receptor sites without deadening the ability to consider – curiousity intact – the multifaceted sensations, the interesting lyrics, the clever use of rhythm, the nuances of intonation … the overall delivery.
Mason Proper offers a new experience on every listen. Familiar songs continue to surprise like the incomprehensible Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride while underneath the music lulls, driving along the maze from start to finish.
Our in-house critic Grace, who at 9 big years of age knows hundreds of indie bands personally, says Mason Proper reminds her of Canadian favorites, Mother Mother. I hear that similarity, too. Rare creative pioneers the likes of Talking Heads, Mason Proper is simply stellar.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):