We were one of the first to bring you a listen to The Mast’s album, Pleasure Island, and today we premiere the Brooklyn duo’s video for “Luxor”. Comprised of percussive production from Matt Kilmer with vocals, instrumentals, and video direction by Haleh Gafori; the two continue to paint their kinetic sounds on a host of imaginative visual canvases. Following up the succession of videos from, “UpUpUp“, “Nuclear Dragon“, and “So Right“, “Luxor” finds a mystic cove with oceanic offerings of transcendent intrigue.
The drum and bass intro to “Luxor” follows a wooden sarcophagus that floats ashore from international waters. Director and one half of The Mast, Haleh Gafori looks on as the wooden box brings the presences of Dina Satti, Iko Shirashai, Alex Belle, and Adam Pruitt. Dances and healing rituals with honey celebrate divinity, cycles of life, chronicling the continuums from the womb to the tomb, and an afterlife enjoyed by the seaside. The ancient Egyptian mythologies from “Luxor” are brought into being with the sensual breath and visuals set along a sleepy coast. Haleh described The Mast’s approach to visualizing their songs off the Pleasure Island album, from “Nuclear Dragon”, “UpUpUp”, “So Right”, to the beach-bonding dance party of, “Luxor”:
Ideas for videos come when I’m on a train or taking a walk and have the song blasting in my ears. All three videos I directed for Pleasure Island came this way and all three are very character-driven. For ‘UpUpUp‘ I wanted to feature the hip-hop dancer Pandora Marie and give her a look inspired by Japanese butoh, so we painted her body white and dressed her in gauze which gave the video an appropriately eerie mood. “So Right” was inspired when we saw my nephew playing with our gear. He loves pretending he’s a DJ, so we ran with that. He had escaped his crib to throw a rave for his friends.
“Luxor” stars a few of my closest friends who happen to be from various places around the globe. The video is about feminine energy releasing itself from any box it might be trapped in, it’s also about friendship between women and the healing power of that. I wanted to flip the damsel in distress myth too, and have them ‘save’ the guy at the end instead of the other way around. Men need to be rescued sometimes too. And I wanted to create a sensual video that highlighted their very striking beauty.
“Luxor” is a town in Egypt filled with ancient ruins, so there’s some references to that in the video. The box is a replica of a tomb I saw in the Egyptian section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Egyptians considered the box or sarcophagus both a tomb and a womb because it birthed people into the afterlife. We wanted the video to have a surreal, possibly after-life-y feeling, so we filmed early in the morning when the light was very soft.
The box in the MET has a stripe of ancient hieroglyphs on it, so we also painted a stripe of glyphs too, adding some modern ones like the wi-fi symbol, the ‘like’ button, and a couple emoticons. Honey was actually found in some of the tombs in Luxor and after thousands of years it was still edible, which is amazing—it’s the only food that doesn’t rot! It’s also a symbol of sweetness and divinity which is what I wanted the women in the video to share with each other.
Also what else does The Mast have cooking in the works?
This summer we’ll be making more videos and new music. We’ve got a show at Lincoln Center’s Atrium on June 19, where we’ll be debuting a new side project we’ve been working on, every song is made from scratch and improvised, using the live electronic set up we use with Pleasure Island but also adding other devices as well as live instruments, like the balafon and frame drums. The following week we’ve got a couple shows with Goldroom, at Bowery Ballroom and the Sinclair. And we’ve got Baby’s All Right on July 17. So that’s what’s cooking!
The Mast’s album Pleasure Island is available now via Bandcamp
The Brooklyn duo also will be playing the following NYC dates:
19 Lincoln Center
27 Bowery Ballroom
28 The Sinclair
17 Baby’s All Right