There’s no doubting that Samual Higginbotham has created something rather weird under the name of the Colour Masks, but as the panel found out, it’s also occasionally wonderful.
James Rutherford: I’m usually suspicious of bands that have fewer friends on myspace than I do but in this instance I was pleasantly surprised and looking beyond their abstract pose, colourmasks have a sound that is surprisingly accessible. Rhythmic, often Brazilian sounding, drums provide a platform onto which a variety of instruments tantalize and enthuse. Arrangements featuring lush guitar loops, accordion, acoustic guitar, piano and electronic beats coupled with haunting vocals provide plenty of variety and interest. This is a band that may not hit the spot instantly but is certainly worth a second, third, fourth look and if you make that connection, you’ll be glad you persevered.
Alice Sage: Colour Masks are one of a few projects by the interesting Mr Higginbotham. It’s on the Kid A spectrum of soundscapey electronic mumbling – folky in its twinkly fairy-folk sounds, twiddly xylophone pings, Animal Collective-style repetitive moans and warbles, running water and didgeridoos. They draw on an MGMT-ish rising pitch and fast, shaky drum beat but don’t try for the uplifting joyous recklessness of that band – opting instead for a consistent rumble of almost menace. The tracks blur into one another and the titles bear no immediate relation to the songs – all as you’d expect! Perfect for a post-work or post-binge numb-out.
Thomas Moyser: I once heard a track on Stuart Maconie’s Freakzone made entirely from the sound of water dripping from stalactites. Colour Masks remind me of that track – but more synthetic. They are fascinated with patterns, rhythms and repetitions. Their electronic loops often give way to haunting vocals that seem to play in the same hypnotic motions. There’s something paranoid, almost claustrophobic about this music, which can be a little bit too much. I didn’t really get these guys at first but stick with them for a few listens and what is initially outlandish and experimental will become as transfixing as a Martin Creed installation, if equally as baffling.
Dive into the world of Colour Masks here.