Black Affair is Steve Mason's latest musical thing. You may know Mr. Mason's other musical things — the Beta Band and his solo project, King Biscuit Time which existed during and after the Beta Band's existence.
I'm not exactly sure why Mason retired King Biscuit Time (whose 2006 album, Black Gold, was quite good) as this is just him too. Perhaps it was enough of a different musical direction to warrant a new name. Where KBT seemed to draw most of its influences from Jamaica, Black Affair sound like 1983 New York, where disco, new wave and the burgeoning hip hop scene mingled together in sweaty clubs like Danceteria and Arthur Baker produced your record if you were lucky.
Whether or not Black Affair are as good as that is debatable. Apparently the album, Pleasure Pressure Point, has been finished for almost two years and will finally see release (in the UK) on July 14 via the vitalized V2 records. Songs like "It's Real" and "Subfuge," with their icy synth lines and electronic handclaps, probably could've fit seamlessly with anything being played at the Paradise Garage at that time. And they're undeniably catchy. But for someone like Mason, who always seemed restlessly creative, Black Affair seems a bit one-note retro, though I think it fairs better than the similar-sounding Neon Neon (Gruff Rhys and Boom Bips ode to the Delorean). And no dodgy rapping this time.
If you're feeling crafty, you can download all the audio elements to "It's Real" and have a go at a remix or mashup. And here's the video: