Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Record label: Downtown
Mas Ysa, the moniker for Thomas Arsenault, a 30-year-old musician and producer from Canada, smoothly blends his raspy vocals with spellbinding whirlwinds of sound on his debut EP, Worth. After spending two years traveling across the globe from the North American continent all the way down to Brazil, Worth serves as Mas Ysa's musical vessel with 9 cathartic tracks that explore the realms of experimental electronic production. It's easy to see why 'Why' is the lead single off the EP-- the catchy, mind-blowing song is bursting with buoyant energy and beats straight out of the '80s.
Nominally, Brooklyn via Montreal's Mas Ysa's (a.k.a. Thomas Arsenault) first release is an EP, though the kitchen-sink affair could just as easily be called a mixtape. A sonic wet dream for ADD sufferers, it runs a tonal gamut.Leadoff "Vanya" plods prettily along on the back of a lazy horn and starry synths. A cinematic number, "Ktidal" evokes Explosions in the Sky, albeit without the catharsis.
Last April, Deerhunter played a surprise show at the Carrack Modern Art in Durham, North Carolina. The ferocious decibels flooded the narrow upstairs gallery, and its wooden floorboards quaked as the audience, excited to be so close to an indie-famous band, bounced in response. But while most of what I can recall of Deerhunter's set is a bone-rattling roar, an unknown opening act left a much sharper impression.
Mas Ysa’s song titles read like the fridge magnets of someone up-to-their-neck in things. ‘Why’, ‘Shame’, ‘Years’ and the most important one, ‘Worth’. Where is the worth, as a more profound will.i.am might ponder. This is one of the questions Thomas Arsenault goes in search for ….
New York State’s Mas Ysa (pronounced MAAS ee-sa), real name Thomas Arsenault, is a worldly traveler. He was born in Montreal, Canada, went to school in Brazil, studied poetry in British Columbia, attended Oberlin College, and lived in San Francisco before being kicked out of a loft in New York City and moving upstate. The fact that Arsenault has moved around so much has informed his debut EP, Worth, as it embodies a wide range of electronic styles from bangers to ballads, along with interstitial tracks.
Mas Ysa Worth (Downtown) Mas Ysa's story would've been a lot stranger a couple years ago. New York-from-Montreal songwriter Thomas Arsenault specializes in strident, homemade electronic pop with an operatic R&B bent. Live, he stands patiently over a whole mess of gizmos, microphone in one hand, the other feverishly keeping everything afloat. In a world of Autre Ne Veut, Grimes, and Rhye, that's par for the course, but Mas Ysa spruces up his debut EP with some rocky drama.