Mazarin is the project of Philadelphia's singer-songwriter
Quentin Stoltzfus (Azusa Plane's drummer).
His debut album, Watch It Happen (Rocket Girl, 1999),
was a miracle of lush, eccentric studio production that maintains the aural
quality of a lo-fi bedroom production.
Amid many imitations of the Beach Boys and
(more to the point) Brian Eno, the one-man band
managed to craft the infectious package of Wheats.
A Tall-Tale Storyline (SpinArt, 2001) was even more studio-conscious,
using every possible trick to secrete all sorts of cliches of power-pop and
folk-rock, thus making the overall proceedings more eclectic.
The eight-minute Go Home preceding the catchy
Suicide Will Make You Happy, and classic effervescent tunes such as
My Favorite Green Hill and
What Sees the Sky coexisting with the instrumental 2.22.1.
External contributions (drummer Sean Byrne, bassist Mike Walker, multi-instrumentalist Brian McTear) were also more significant.
As his studio skills increased, so did the variety on his albums.
We're Already There (I and Ear, 2005) took the liberty of juxtaposing
another romantic ditty, Another One Goes By, with
the quasi-industrial The New American Apathy,
the psychedelic For Energy Infinite,
the Kraftwerk-ian instrumental Kenyan Heat Wave.
But too many of Stolzfus's pop songs sound third-rate imitations of the
classics. Basically, there is only one per album that is truly worth hearing.
He fares a lot better in the eccentric-arrangement department.
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