E.VAX - the project of Ratatat’s Evan Mast - announces his new, self-titled album, out August 27th via Because Music, and today presents a new single/video, “Karst.” Performing as half of Ratatat for more than the last decade, Mast’s music has reached an enormous audience with its bombastic merge of rock and electronic music, as well as through his parallel work as a hip-hop producer for artists such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Jay-Z . His new solo album, E.VAX, is a collection of instrumental songs, dolloped with moments of exploratory dialogue, disembodied moments that are equally disorienting and moving. The throughline between the songs on his new album is not a certain signature sound, but Mast’s feel as a producer. Though one song may lean heavier on snappy drums and another on the coo of an organ, they all share a similar sensibility. The songs are sincere, playful, inviting, curious, and contemplative—all characteristics of Mast himself. For this album, Mast loosened his attitude towards production, looking to capture some of the excitement of creation. He recorded at home, and then midway through the pandemic he spent time in Montana, recording in a friend’s art gallery. The blank space and isolation after so much studio time in close quarters allowed for a new looseness. He’d play songs at the wrong speed to see how it changed what he heard, or deliberately leave a melody untouched for months and then improvise over it after playing it anew for the first time. Unable to get lost in real life, he got lost in music. “I used to be way more precious,” Mast says about his songwriting. “A lot of this stuff on the record is about trying to skip the brain processes that can get in the way of making something that really feels sincere.”
Following his first offering, “Rabindra,” “Karst” features harp and a vintage drum machine. The accompanying video is made of footage that Mast took in China. “One of my favorite moments over the past few years was riding on a scooter with my brother through a landscape of karst mountains in southern China,” says Mast. “I wanted this track to sound the way that felt. I started recording it in Brooklyn during the most intense part of lockdown last spring, and finished it a few months later in a barn at a friend's place in Montana." The “Karst” video is the second installment in a series of music videos he made for all 12 tracks on the album, shot all around the globe. Made up largely of videos Mast shot while walking around and sewn together so they pan slowly, there is simultaneously a feeling of stillness and motion, which is amplified when you encounter strangers looking at the camera.