Over the last ten years, bouncing back and forth from Chicago to NYC, Zachary Mastoon composed a diverse and critically-acclaimed catalog under the alias Caural. Pressing wax for such labels as Chocolate Industries, Mush, Plug Research, Sound in Color and many others, his song-oriented compositions and flair for unique sonic juxtaposition continue to set him apart from his contemporaries in the beat scene. Yet it was only by default – and much to his dismay – that he found himself pigeonholed by any one genre. Having come from a lifetime of recorded music (some of his earliest released work was done when he was 6 years old), a pursuit of jazz guitar studies with avant-garde giant Anthony Braxton (and even a journey sailing around the world playing Javanese Gamelan) Caural engages in SOUND more than form.
However, always in search of the next step, Caural began bidding adieu to the electronic format, but not before finishing his swan song of sorts, ‘Sorry, Underground Hip Hop Happened Ten Years Ago (for Regan)’. Titled after the self-deprecating joke his touring mate Busdriver had donned on a tee-shirt, this rhythmic sound piece – constructed entirely out of vocal samples of the word “yo” and the incidental sounds accompanying them – is a brilliant, fragmented journey through some of Mastoon’s favorite moments in hip-hop; in some ways, it was also his way of saying goodbye to it.
And ‘Die Before You Die’ is exactly that: a collection of some of the last material Caural produced before his signature Yamaha SU700 sampler was stolen from his apartment, which proved to be an ironic epilogue for Mastoon’s musical alter-ego. From the driving, futuristic atmosphere of ‘Dragon Top’ through the head-nodding, warm crackles of ‘Sunburned’, to ‘All Doors Open to the Same Room’ (a short and ominous piece based on the beep of his friend Feltbattery’s mini-disc recorder capturing a hive of bees), ‘Die Before You Die’ is a limited edition must-have for any fan of Caural’s or music alike. Pressed on 10 inch coloured vinyl.