Battle Hymns of the Republic
World Galaxy / Alpha Pup Records
January 29, 2021
MAST’s Battle Hymns of the Republic is a highly imaginative dissident’s brew of critical environmental and socio-political issues of the day. Scored by moving orchestral arrangements, poignant spoken word, impassioned jazz sensibilities, and angular electronic beats and samples, MAST reflects compositionally on our present day battles for unity, equality, facts, justice, and empathy for those in need. Each track, or “hymn,” addresses these attacks on not just who and what we are as a country in the United States, but also our responsibility to fellow human beings and the place we hold in the global society. Battle Hymns of the Republic is the 4th MAST album with Los Angeles-based Alpha Pup Records and will see worldwide release January 29, 2021.
Like previous albums in the MAST catalog, Battle Hymns of the Republic features various members of the global music community. This time comprising Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and London based musicians. Pharoah Sanders, Harry Belafonte, and Charles Lloyd collaborator Dwight Trible interweaves a multitude of vocal layers, proverbs, quotes, and personal writings on the transfixing spiritual number “Benevolence.” Coming off recent features with Teebs, Blue & Exile, Mia Doi Todd, and Shafiq Husayn, Jimetta Rose pens the exploratory and revelation laden “All of the Colors.” It’s a deep examination of race in America that distills the energy of present times in an uncanny way. MAST’s life partner, Andrée Belle, contributes to “The Golden Door.” Reciting the 1883 Emma Lazarus poem found inside the Statue Of Liberty with an original piece, Andrée finds duality in the ancient ancestral plane and political landscapes of today. MAST composed full band arrangements for the entire LP and added guitar, bass, keys, beats, and programming himself. The group that performed MAST’s compositions across Battle Hymns of the Republic consists of Luis Mascara (violin), Artyom Manukyan (cello), Dan Rosenboom (trumpet), Gavin Templeton (alto/bari sax), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Jason Fraticelli (upright bass), Anwar Marshall (drums), and Maxwell Hallett (drums).
MAST is no stranger to conceptual projects. All three of his previous MAST LP’s have been heavily funneled through a conceptual lens. 2014’s OMNI presents a sonic amalgamation of nature samples, acoustic instruments, and electronics; 2016’s Love and War_ was arranged in a three act play structure exploring love and loss; 2018’s Thelonious Sphere Monk is a cosmic journey reinterpreting the great Monk songbook. MAST also recently scored the Stan Douglas sci-fi film that explores parallel realities, Doppelgänger, initially premiering at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
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