Hailing from New York City is the songwriter, performer, producer Marla Mase. Backed by the Tomás Doncker Band, Mase experiments with how to communicate with an audience with her diverse take on singing. Her newest EP, Half Life released in February and is eight tracks of uniqueness. Does Marla Mase’s experimental punk, rock, pop, sound have a place in modern music?
“I make fun parties people!”
The vocals behind Half Life are interesting for a number of reasons. Mase has a unique rasp in her voice, not disruptive, but also not the standard, it is somewhere between Joan Jett and Cindy Wilson of the B-52’s. Lyrically, it is still very interesting. Marla Mase is honest with her audience, with her music, and with her expression.
“So keep a place within your heart, a place for dreams to start”
The genre of music defining Mase changes with each new song she sings. The album begins with a bit of punk, then changes to soul, spoken word, alternative, classic rock, instrumental and more. With so much diversity some listeners will be put off by the lack of consistency, others will no doubt be drawn to the freedom from restricting music styles. Through it all, Mase maintains her funky and sensitive aura.
“They tell her all sorts of thangs, ya know, like girl, I love your brains.”
The taste leftover after a listen to Half Life is as eccentric as it is mystifying. The mix of music styles is easily noticed from the moment the album begins to the very last track it leaves you with. Mase doesn’t tackle the album as a singer, but instead as herself, this is represented by the many varieties of vocals she plays with. The addition of spoken word is something that feels very natural from Mase.
Just as some people do not find interest in spoken word, some listeners will be very repelled by Half Life. The inconsistency of music style makes Half Life seem more like a collection of expressions rather than one large one. Finding a modern audience for this sound is difficult due to how separated it is from ordinary music standards. Some will definitely find Mase’s vocals to be less enjoyable and more haphazardous and annoying. Musicians, poets, open minded individuals that remain open to music will find that something oddly enticing occurs when you slap spoken word over a harmonica solo.
Marla Mase is a free spirited businesswoman and expression aficionado. Her EP Half Life is a collection of different sounds and styles of vocals some will find too different to enjoy, while others will be drawn in by the experimental flavor. With so many different musical genres present within Half Life, it becomes easy to find your favorite and least favorite tracks quickly. Overall, the sound is something odd and expressive.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.