Masonique is music with the future in mind, fusing the hypnotic explorations of krautrock with the synthetic melodies of synthpop and the seductive swagger of glam. Muscular music with a psychological edge. Like a Scorsese directed prize fight between the heady pomp of Roxy Music and the savage dub of PiL, with Gary Numan as the announcer and John Peel as the referee.
Masonique began in 2015 as a solo songwriting showcase for Portland-based composer and performer Ron Mason Gassaway. Aspiring to achieve a more complex and voluminous sound for Masonique he incorporated the exemplary percussion of Daniel Morris in 2017 (White Rooms, Gang Radio, Perseveration). The spry duo became a more robust trio in 2018 by adding the exceptionally talented Gerry Hathaway on bass (Depravity Scale, Arkham Sunset), releasing their first EP “Island of Disbelief” later that year.
“Hypnotic” - Outkast Sub Scape Magazine
“The glory of Bauhaus and The Jesus and Mary Chain
with a modern spin” - Mustard Relics
“Sci-fi-tinged dream pop” - Portland Mercury
Ron Mason Gassaway is a founding member of the provocative Portland based improvisational group Party Killer, formed in 2005 with Ben Hollenbaugh & Rob Bearak. Given their name there’s nothing shocking about Party Killer’s tendency to push several exhilarating buttons at once. Sonic provocateurs at heart, the Portland based band has accumulated ringing endorsements from rock stars, accolade imbued bewilderment from local weeklies and caustic criticisms from unsolicited strangers.
Post-punk icon and esteemed musicologist Julian Cope described Party Killer's self titled album as "colossal" while drawing correlations to Monoshock and Chrome. Casey Jarman of Willamette Week described their sound as "art so high that most listeners will never see the top or a collection of musicians who sincerely do not give a fuck” and Robert Ham (Pitchfork, Paste, SPIN) succinctly coined them as “unholy improvisational terror.”
PARTY KILLER BABIES
In a music industry rife with industrial edge lords, third generation grindcore and ambiguously defined noise rock it’s easy to become numb to the cacophony of compressed distortion and maximized gain. Not hard to imagine why the members of Throbbing Gristle ultimately transitioned from gut churning frequencies towards more approachable, if not subversive, dance music. Sometimes setting every dial to eleven gets boring
During their 15 year existence, Party Killer has crossed the maximum decibel line on many occasions, creating an expectation for explosive excess that often obscured the underlying humor beneath. To counterpoint this interpretation Ben Hollenbaugh and Ron Mason Gassaway created an irreverent offshoot in collaboration with their longtime friend and occasional Party Killer contributor, Jon Boober of Muscle Beach 'n' Friend(s) and Lazer Face II.
Inspired by the insipid 80’s trend that devolved popular characters into infantile versions of themselves (see Muppet Babies & The Flintstone Kids) they decided to take a similar devolutionary detour by creating Party Killer Babies, a much lighter dance-infused version of PK that’s still as demented as ever. If you enjoy bleeps, bloops and baby MC’s this might be your cup of tea, or more aptly, your own private juice box!
Party Killer Babies
Ron co-founded Muscle Beach ’n Friend(s) with Jon Boober in 2008. They began as a very lo-fi duo fusing electro with stand up comedy but quickly grew into an incredibly powerful four piece with Dan O'Hara playing distorting bass samples and Gordon Cady on drums. This configuration eventually contributed a track to "Let It Rain” a celebration of Oregon music curated by PDX Pop Now and the Oregon Historical Society.
Muscle Beach has been on a long hiatus but they occasionally reconvene to play Booberamapaloozafest, curated by Jon Boober. Although a full length recording of their explosive live sound was never assembled an EP from their last reunion is expected within the next year or two.
Vanishing Point was a monthly series Ron curated at Valentines which explored musical styles, movements and personalities through live improvisation.
Each month an ever-changing array of musicians seasoned in the brave art of live improv performed two epic sets, deconstructing iconic songs to a near infinite point, with hypnotic projections to accompany the ride.
“A unique improv experience with performers tackling the creative outputs of two wildly different creators” - Portland Mercury