Frank Maston’s style and elegance is rare today, a composer who has honed his gifts listening to lounge and the groovy world of library and soundtrack music from the 1970s. Following seismic releases for a range of labels, rightly focused on the beauty of his art and associated composers. New album Souvenir is out September 17th on Innovative Leisure / Calico Disco.
This time Maston collaborates with Geneva based band L’Eclair, and new single Ghost:
It sounds like the perfect pop of Air fused with the genius of dreamy soundtracks past. Altin Gün’s engineer captures their combined musicianship expertly. Frank has hailed L’Eclair as the “greatest living band”, having first met in Paris in 2018, their wares finally here in 2021 for more cirtical acclaim.
L’Eclair is a young quintet, consisting of Stefan Lilov (guitar), Elie Ghersinu (bass), Yavor Lilov (drums), Sébastien Bui (keyboards), and Alain Sandri (percussion). The group’s first two albums Polymood and Sauropoda earned them kudos within underground music circles. Maston’s introduction to L’Eclair was through Dutch engineer and friend Jasper Geluk, who had recorded L’Eclair’s debut, as well as Altin Gün’s catalog. When they met in the studio, Souvenir was recorded live to tape in just three days, at Tone Boutique in Holland, February 2019.
Maston released his debut album Shadows in 2013 and moved from his native Los Angeles to Amsterdam for several years sitting in with Dutch musician Jacco Gardner’s band. It was during this period that Maston wrote and recorded his second album Tulips.
The largely instrumental Tulips was released to wide praise, garnering comparisons to Ennio Morricone, Sven Libaek, and Piero Umiliani. The record was accompanied by several 16mm films directed by Maston, and the LP’s limited private press release on his own Phonoscope label has become highly sought after among crate diggers and collectors.
Following Tulips, he began producing and mixing records for other artists, including his collaboration with Pedrum Siadatian (Allah-Las) as PAINT, whose first two LP’s were produced and recorded by Frank. In April 2021, Maston released his third album, Panorama, on the legendary library music label KPM, bringing his soundtrack influences full circle.
Like all of Maston’s work, Souvenir is another audiophile and hi-fi masterpiece and its eight songs also visit jazz, light prog, and even balladry with Maston’s first vocal offerings since his debut. His aim with Souvenir was to do things differently and with Maston enlisting L’Eclair – having recorded and performed his previous albums completely alone – the results must be a delight to Frank and his collaborators.
Souvenir may be heard to be slightly rawer than previous Maston projects, the addition of a band creating a different dynamic to the production process. “Not being able to necessarily go back and change things wasn’t easy, but the tradeoff was immeasurably worth it,” he says. Fans of Tulips will not be disappointed though.
Earlier this year, Be With Records returned to the artist and released Darkland, after their reissue of Tulips in 2020. Darkland being a collection of the material from the Tulips sessions that didn’t make it on to the original LP. Originally a digital-only release for those in the know in the autumn of 2018.
Reissue label Be With Records has released music by a broad range of artists, covering everyone from R&B songwriter Leon Ware to rare groove’s Ned Doheny, as well as the best of the KPM catalogue.
Check out this mix of Maston’s influences and some of his key tracks: