Masker’s fourth release, RUB, builds itself on ambient beds of microtonal drones, leaning into the tension to create immersive textures. It represents a bridge between the old and new in the Masker dynamic: From a studio project duo at the height of pandemic lockdowns to a band-shaped ensemble in the present time, reinterpreting the early recordings into a live performance context.
“Kirnberger” starts it off with a lift. Nick Miskey’s cluster piano, Lucas Depuit’s driving bassline, and a slowly modulating siren intertwine to create a seraphic opening atmosphere.
“Bowed” reveals a darker side: Scattered guitar arrangements, deep bass swells, uneven rhythms, and field recordings invoke the apparitions of a dusty and foreboding space.
Alexander Bolk’s “Just” provides a frigid minor key tonic to the two moods.
The B-side “Doodlezuck”, brandishing occult speeches and primeval folk violin, is the palpable dread of walking through the woods at night. The bass is simultaneously anchored in place and warped by two drones with adversarial ends. Quickening your pace only makes you easier to hear; The coyotes howl in the distance.
Masker is acquiring a well-attenuated habit of dowsing unconventional territory for eclectic and uncompromising nodes of work. RUB marks another such case. Forever digging.