Master & Dynamic, a New York City-based audio company that specializes in premium headphones, recently launched an In-Residence program that highlights a new emerging artist every few weeks. For the third iteration of the series, the company welcomed synthpop mastermind and CoSigned artist Mas Ysa, aka Thomas Arsenault.
Mas Ysa spent the back half of 2015 supporting last summer’s excellent major-label debut, Seraph, and his partnership with Master & Dynamic will undoubtedly help him build upon that momentum. The In-Residence program has already resulted in three previously unreleased compositions, two of which — “WWW (Champion) Live in Hudson, NY” and “RSLWW2011” — premiere on CoS today.
Mas Ysa approached these new tracks almost as if they were demos, acknowledging that, in his opinion, “a demo always has something on the final version of a tune.” This isn’t to say that the songs aren’t fully formed, but to emphasize that they belong to a specific time and place. “A studio track can be the platonic ideal, but [it] can lack that eagerness or something,” he explains.
To be fair, these two tracks occupy an unusual space between demo and studio cut. “‘WWW (Champion)’ is a jam I open with live 90% of the time,” says Mas Ysa. “It hypnotizes me, it gets me ready to sing and shed a normal headspace for the emotionally unreasonable one my set requires.” The musician knew that he’d have to do something unusual to capture that same feeling on record. “I’ve thought about making a studio version, all clean and club friendly, but stopped,” he explains. What he’s given us instead is “a mixed version of a live recording: raw and hairy.”
Both tracks exemplify Mas Ysa’s remarkable ability to blend the pleasures of synthpop with an avant-garde sense of experimentation. Check them out below.
Listen to “WWW (Champion) Live in Hudson, NY”:
Listen to “RSLW2011”: