Electronic Music with a Twist of Acoustic
Canadian artist Mas Ysa specializes in electronic music, but as Seraph illustrates, electronic can differ widely from the typical, dance-floor variety, having soulful, twangy moments interspersed with synthetic sound.
The opening track, “Seraph,” is clearly experimental and presents an element of shock to listeners, appealing to a very specific, alternative taste in music. It is an instrumental, along with the later track, “Service.” Both are edgy, although “Seraph” exceeds “Service” by including some ear-straining notes.
The album shifts with “Margarita,” a poppy song with slow lyrics that mix over a steady background beat and uptempo instrumentation. While this song was released as a single before the rest of the album, it may be outdone a few tracks later. “Sick,” arguably one of the sleepers of the album, incorporates some powerful chords, along with echoing vocal effects. It also contains more noticeable guitar than other tracks, and this element starkly contrasts the high synthesizer that dominates the majority of the album. In addition, Mas Ysa showcases his vocal range with some impressive falsetto at the end.
“Suffer,” ironically, is an uptempo interplay of flute, piano and guitar picking. Though the theme centers on finding disillusionment about relationships and breaking-up, exemplified by the line, “Don’t you know I’m gone for good?” the instrumental portion of the song is surprisingly upbeat and even has a happy lilt at times.
In two tracks on the album, Mas Ysa shares the spotlight with a female vocalist. The first is “Gun,” a dramatic duet that closes to the sounds of a violent, raging crowd, as if to link guns to violence, both on an interpersonal level and on a larger scale. He repeats this male and female duet with “I Have Some” towards the end of the album, another track that centers around relationship conflict, but this one ends on a more positive note, for its concluding refrain is, “I’m gonna keep you baby.” This exemplifies the shift throughout the album between despairing and optimistic outlooks on love and romance.
“Garden,” is a thought-provoking, philosophical song. It begins with the line, “I guess this garden’s good. The snake wouldn’t bite you but its master could,” an apparent reference to the Garden of Eden. It then moves to themes of raising children, teaching them every word except words of praise, and dealing with some of the struggles of life. The song closes with a twist, “I guess this garden’s good. The snake wouldn’t bite you but its master should… come down.” Thus, Mas Ysa suggests some of the challenges of having faith in God amidst the difficulties of life on earth.
“Don’t Make” ends the album with an atypical, acoustic track. It is distinctly melancholic, presenting a warning, “Don’t make the same mistakes that I made long ago.” It advises caution in all matters of the heart, suggesting that the older, more cynical voice that despairs of love gets the last say in Seraph.