My first introduction to Josh Mason‘s music was Hellified Irie (2015, FET Press), a work that used journal writing, inventive sound design, and a meditative riff on 60’s era surf music to recreate the “constant hum” and hazy torpor of Florida summers past through a nostalgic lens. It exemplified the personal nature of Mason’s music and his collagic style which relies on analog and digital sources to “examine themes of family, community, mental health and location”. This was something that was both instantly captivating and a refreshing departure from the remote landscapes and heavy atmospherics for which so many ambient artists have a propensity.
Mason brings a similar approach to his newest record entitled Coquina Dose. The album was released this past March on the Florabelle imprint, but it plays particularly well in summer given the subtropical setting.
“Coquina Dose is the book on your nightstand under a lamp with a 40 watt bulb. It’s driving alone at night up and down the strip looking for a pool to crash. It’s the endless lights of luxury, hotels, oceanfront dining. It’s dogs barking, the wind off the water, dead friends, and sunsets that are no longer free. Everything humming, everything buzzing. It’s a new day, in the same circuit. Short interesting rides, followed by a loss of momentum. Notes of grass, lychee, pineapple, burnt sugar.” – Josh Mason
Coquina Dose is candid and unsentimental, but grace notes emerge in form of warm guitar lines and wistful melodies throughout, especially on pieces like “Key Blight”, “Condos”, or the closing sequence of “Pelagic Scout Badge” and “(jason drumming)”. You can practically feel the mugginess in the air and the ennui that settles in during the long, humid days. Like a lean, but well-written novella, it’s gift for eloquent understatement beckons you back over & over to pick up on new details, gain a different perspective, or simply to enjoy the comforts of its growing familiarity.
Coquina Dose is available in limited vinyl LP edition of 150 copies or as a digital download. For a limited time, Mason is also offering up test pressings of the album with with handmade packaging, the proceeds of which will go to the North Florida Land Trust. At this writing only 3 copies remain available which can be ordered via his Bandcamp merch page here. The album was mastered by James Plotkin and features photography by Mason himself.
live @ institute 193 / photo: connor bell