Mas Ysa‘s original “Arrows” was fascinating for its constant shifting. Beginning as a mid-tempo, soulful ballad highlighted by his unmistakable raspy howl of a voice and transforming into a fist-pumping nightclub anthem by the end, the single succeeded in showcasing the Canadian musician’s versatility.
With You., the electronic supergroup who recently made waves with their ominous drug anthem “Ghost,” take “Arrows” and substitute the more contemporary electronic notes for their own vintage house sound. Where the original burst into EDM technicolor at its heights, With You. substitutes those moments for ’90s helter-skelter break beat drums and a more muted sensibility.
The remix is just as lively as the original, and has a dizzying trip-hop quality. Mas Ysa’s voice also proves to be a powerful tool for the producers to sample and distort; its distinctness works both as the central aspect of a record and in a more secondary role.
With You.’s take on the record ultimately stands to highlight both the collective’s talent and the strength of their source material, a feat that is easier said than done in modern remix culture.
It is really really really difficult to believe in love when you have not experienced it, yet it is so engrained in culture that it is instilled in even the most adamant nonbelievers. I set out to make out a mixtape that is as grimy and slimy (sorry for rhyming) as the ZHU smash “Superfriends” and somehow came out with this grand statement on love. I think the context of this love still comes from like a night out, “we found love in a hopeless place”-type scenario, so that is cool and interesting. Other than that, it is just a mix of 24 songs ranging from Mar‘s gorgeous “Ode to Her” (which makes the lyric “If I was born a girl, I would be just like you babe” endearing and not weird) to the addictive and danceable “Coast Is Clear” by the odd couple of Skrillex and Chance The Rapper.
People often ask me how I find the music that I write about. I’ve written several times about my old adventures digging through MySpace pages, so I wont bore you with that again. I will be completely honest with you, though, and admit that it’s really a struggle to go through email submissions that we get. We offer that channel as a way for artists to reach out to us, but it ends up being a pile of PR emails, crappy submissions, and here and there a diamond in the rough. I do have my favorite PR agencies whose emails I automatically star and make sure to read, because I trust their judgement. But for the most part, inbound submissions don’t stand much of a chance.
Some might call it an unfair game for the smaller artists, and I might hear backlash because the mission of this blog is to give those smaller, lesser known artists an opportunity to thrive, but yet I hardly give them a chance to get their music on the queue. But my reaction to that is that if writing this blog was my full-time job, I’d put much more energy into fixing that system. But unfortunately, I have a completely unrelated full-time job that demands most of my time, so I have to pick my battles.
So the question still stands: how do I discover the music that I write about?
The answer, 99% of the time: SoundCloud, Spotify, and other blogs.
I spend most of my work day listening to music on Spotify, and when I find something I love, I will star it or add it to a playlist. I discover new music on SoundCloud, as I build my stream with artists I like, tastemakers I want to follow for their reposts, and labels I trust. And other blogs, like the ones listed on my blogroll on the right rail, are blogs that Sunset has grown up with, and they likely have a very similar taste.
Today I came upon Mas Ysa in my SoundCloud stream. Arjun, of course one of my most trusted sources (I highly recommend you follow him on SoundCloud), had reposted one of his songs and I couldn’t stop listening to that song (“Why”) on repeat. So here I leave you with a long story that you might not care about, and an artist that I trust you will care about. His own bio on SoundCloud is reason enough to care:
Mas Ysa, the project of nomadic composer Thomas Arsenault, combines love songs, unabashed ecstatic pop, prayer, field recordings and techno into triumphant, danceable, melancholy folk music that pummels the heart rather than dances around it. Born in Montreal, Arsenault spent formative years in Brazil, was a centerpiece of Brooklyn’s Kent Avenue scene and currently resides in Woodstock, NY. He has toured with Deerhunter and performed with everyone from Purity Ring to Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA.