Maston – Tulips
Frank Maston’s Tulips is a sample-ready film score to the best 70s movie never made. Originally a super-limited self-release on his Phonoscope label in late 2017, Tulips has already become incredibly sought-after. Be With were introduced to Maston by mutual friends Aquarium Drunkard and it didn’t take long before we decided this modern classic deserved a reissue.
Inspired by the deep-grooving soundtracks of Italian cinema - think Morricone, Umiliani and Alessandroni - Maston conceived the entire Tulips project as a continuation of these revered works. Frank designed the artwork and made two 16mm films to accompany the music: “It wasn’t just the LP… it was kind of a whole vibe I was trying to create. Not really trying to emulate the things that influenced me but more trying to make something that could sit alongside those records on a shelf. I’m still very proud of the project.”
There’s a distinct library music feel too, with wiry organ, spacey keyboards and loping 60s guitar hinting at KPM and DeWolfe. Like the best library music, Tulips creates a cinematic universe through sound alone, evoking moving images in the listener’s technicolour imagination. It turns out that was accidentally on purpose: “I was discovering a lot of library music for the first time… listening to a composer’s entire catalog or finding all this obscure stuff. I wasn’t entirely conscious of the influence until I started making this music and realized I was channeling the vibe. That’s when I began focusing more on weaving melodic themes throughout the record to make it function more like a soundtrack”.
Tulips was recorded between 2015 and 2017 in a small studio in a village called Zwaag in Holland, during downtime from Frank’s touring duties with Jacco Gardner’s band. “Tulips” comes from the title of the very first demo he made in Holland, it was the first thing that came to mind. Makes sense.
Frank wasn’t sure a record of instrumentals with obscure soundtrack references would be an easy sell when it was originally released, and was surprised when Tulips turned out to be exactly what some people wanted to hear. We reckon it's timeless beauty ensures that it’ll always have an audience.
The record was originally cut to be played at 45rpm, a technical quirk that grants the home listener the opportunity to go deeper, for longer. Played at 33rpm, the more languid unfurling of the tracks proves just as wonderful a trip. As a psilocybin-soaked case study from Aquarium Drunkard back in January of 2019 describes, some of the songs sound as if they were intended to be heard that way. The slower speed allowing the listener to step inside and perhaps even “crack the code” of the music’s meaning.
This Be With reissue has been mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis and has alternative burnt orange artwork from Maston himself. Hypnagogic it may be, but please don’t sleep.
A1 Swans [01:56]
A2 New Danger [01:57]
A3 Old Habits [02:02]
A4 Chase Theme Nº 1 [01:49]
A5 Infinite Bliss [01:34]
A6 Evening [01:41]
B1 Rain Dance [02:54]
B2 Sure Thing [02:12]
B3 Garçon Manqué [02:00]
B4 Turning In [02:49]
B5 Chase Theme Nº 2 [01:05]
B6 Hues [02:00]
Format: 12-inch Vinyl LP
Label: Be With Records
Released: 2021 Repress
Genre: Downtempo / Library / Jazz