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Connan Mockasin

New Zealand songwriter Connan Mockasin makes spiraling and sweetly disorienting psychedelic pop songs, taking notes from '70s soft rock, smooth jazz, and obscure acid-damaged artists from multiple eras. In addition to releasing multiple solo recordings, Mockasin is a frequent collaborator and producer for other artists, working on tracks with Charlotte Gainsbourg, taking part in the sleazy glam funk band Soft Hair, and even releasing collaborative work with his own father in the form of 2021's It's Just Wind. 2021 also saw the release of Mockasin's largely instrumental solo album Jassbusters Two. Born Connan Hosford in New Zealand's capital of Wellington, Mockasin was first introduced to music at a very early age by his father, who played the guitar. He recorded his first song at age five, a fact that doesn't seem too far-fetched when you consider the playful, imaginative, and experimental style of his work in later years. In 2004, he formed his first group, Connan & the Mockasins, releasing a couple of EPs independently and playing shows in New Zealand before moving to England. Hosford, however, felt the band setup didn't allow him to express his individuality and so broke the group up and moved back to New Zealand to focus on solo material under the name Connan Mockasin. Prompted by his mother to self-produce his own album, Hosford went about using his parents' house while they were at work to create what would become his debut solo album, Please Turn Me into the Snat, a brilliantly realized record brimming with inventively oddball psychedelic pop. Having played shows with the likes of Crowded House and Micachu & the Shapes in 2010, his music was introduced to label owner, producer, and DJ Erol Alkan through friend and collaborator Sam Eastgate of Late of the Pier. Having initially planned to put out a handful of songs as an EP, Alkan fell in love with the entire recording process and decided to make it the first full-length release on Phantasy Sound. In 2011, the album was re-released as Forever Dolphin Love on Phantasy Sound, and on Because Music with a bonus disc of live content. In 2012, Connan Mockasin composed and appeared on the Charlotte Gainsbourg song "Out of Touch" before touring New Zealand in support of Radiohead. Mockasin's second album, Caramel, picked up where the story of Forever Dolphin Love left off and arrived in November 2013. In 2015, Mockasin and Blood Orange's Devonté Hynes collaborated on the first installment of Mexican Summer's Myths Series, recording a collection of semi-improvised tracks together in Marfa, Texas. The next year, he teamed with British musician Sam Dust, known for his solo work as LA Priest, and formed the glammy, experimental sleaze-pop project Soft Hair, who issued a self-titled album in 2016. For his next solo project, Mockasin continued with his conceptual approach, completing a five-part homemade absurdist film called Bostyn 'n Dobsyn, which he claimed he'd first conceived two decades prior. Accompanying the film was his next album, 2018's Jassbusters, which is also the name of a fictional band in the film. Over the next few years, Mockasin worked on music with MGMT and James Blake, and in 2021 he released It's Just Wind, a completely improvised recording he made with his father a few years before it was released. In November 2021, fourth album Jassbusters Two arrived, a jazzy and drifting set of songs that strayed even further from pop conventions in favor of understated vocals or completely instrumental tunes.
© Daniel Clancy /TiVo
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