Jordaan Mason, genderqueer lo-fi folk artist from Toronto, has been creating music since 2004, quiet acoustic demos recorded while they were still attending high school. But it was not until 2009, five years later, that Mason released their most acclaimed and popular piece.

The album itself can be summed up by its cover art: a humanoid figure in a horse mask, a wedding dress, holding a shotgun and wearing old heavy-duty boots

Written and performed as an ensemble with their friends, Mason’s album feels bare, brutal, broken. It is honest and unsparing: grotesque but never violent or indulgent. The record directly confronts the idea of a concept piece, set around a fictional war from the works of artist Henry Darger, with a romantic narrative as fluid and misunderstood as the individuals involved. The melodies and instrumentation on display here are beautiful and ghostly, Mason’s vocals so breathy but always reaching slightly outside of their comfort zone. But the lyrics themselves depict a landscape so barren and apocalyptic; whale killers, lizard men, sleeping in slaughterhouses. The story is so deeply layered with metaphor and reference that one could find it daunting if not for the raw beauty of the songwriting surrounding it.

The album itself can be summed up by its cover art: a humanoid figure in a horse mask, a wedding dress, holding a shotgun and wearing old heavy-duty boots. Despite the themes of violence, love, sex, and toil, the album’s main draw is its morbidity and sense of the uncanny.

Mason’s next solo album, Earth to Ursa Major, comes out May 31st. The first single, “Why Fit?”, has already been released and is available on their Bandcamp.

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