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Caural (born Zachary Mastoon) is a Chicago based multi-instrumentalist. Recording some of his first music on a Casio
PT-80, drum set and guitar beginning at six years old with his best
friend and neighbor Stuart Bogie, he went on to play punk-influenced
jazz with Bogie and others in Transmission, then live hip-hop with
schoolmates in a group which became the de facto backing band for
Chicago emcee Diverse. However, having studied jazz improvisation with
avant-garde giant Anthony Braxton, Javanese Gamelan aboard Semester At
Sea, and experimental electronic music at New York University, Mastoon
began fusing his disparate influences together quite literally in 1999
with what became his signature sampler: a Yamaha SU700.
From his debut release on NY boutique label Toshoklabs in 2001,
Mastoon released a diverse and critically acclaimed catalog of
original material and remixes for labels such as Chocolate Industries,
Mush, Plug Research, Sound in Color and many others over the last ten
years. Touring with then-labelmate Busdriver, Caural brought an energy
to his live shows which resulted in bloodied fingers and knobs being
torn off his machine, eschewing popular software to celebrate the
sampler as an instrument versus merely a production tool.
Bouncing back and forth between New York and Chicago, Mastoon finally
switched gears to focus on more conventional songwriting - playing his
Fender Jazzmaster, drums, Rhodes and bass - with his friend and
longtime musical collaborator Jason Hunt as Boy King Islands. Growing
tired of the complex and time-consuming production work he had been
doing for years, the proverbial nail in the coffin came when his
sampler was stolen out of his Chicago apartment last year. It's
unclear whether Caural will resurface but, knowing Mastoon's
propensity for change, anything is possible.