Evan Mast’s and Mike Stroud’s kaleidoscopic, pop-culture-saturated interests yield instrumental soundscapes that range from guitar-driven anthems to atmospheric tunes that could double as the soundtrack of a spaghetti western as directed by Wes Anderson.
The scruffy-headed Brooklyn duo known as Ratatat — Mast plays keyboards and crafts beats; Stroud plays guitar and various other things — released its third full-length, LP3, last summer. Eight months later they’re finally hitting our little corner of the world behind an album that tweaks the duo’s party-starting formula but still sounds like the best video-game score ever. While Ratatat’s previous output — 2004’s selftitled debut and 2006’s Classics — reveled in Stroud’s Brian May-esque guitar riffage and a dynamic synth drive akin to onetime tour-mates Daft Punk, LP3 has a trippier, Eastern-flavored vibe. (Truth be told, I miss the stoned-out, ’70s-style guitar shredding.)
The shift can be traced to Old Soul Studios, an aged mansion in Catskills, N.Y., where former President Martin Van Buren was once married and where a knob-turning dude called “The Wolf” (I’m hoping the moniker has something to do with Harvey Keitel’s character in Pulp Fiction) resides. LP3 teems with lush layers of instrumentation — harpsichord, zither, tablas, grand piano, vocoder, mellotron, Wurlitzer — most of which were found lying around the old abode/studio. The result is a textured, organically rendered Electro album that brings to mind the beat-happy, kitchen-sink work of production whiz Cornelius.
Mast threw out this list of LP3 influences in a recent interview: “Indian percussion; Afghan ‘war’ rugs; flugelhorn; Morris Louis paintings; (Ray) Harryhausen films; my piano; tostadas from the Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood; Maori folk stories; my sister’s art projects; watercolors; making music videos; birds — specifically their vocal systems — beer; girls; fun.”
Yeah, that about covers it.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and find nearby bars and restaurants here.)