Posts Tagged ‘mystified’

Mystified – “Sovereign”

November 18, 2015

So here’s a release that needs a little unpacking– in 2001, Robin Storey released an album under his Rapoon solo project called “Cold War: Drum ‘N’ Bass,” which set Storey’s ambient looping against drum and bass figures. Although I wouldn’t have guessed at the theme in a million years without the help of thematic titles and imagery, the music largely functions as a means for Storey to re-examine the beauty of his own remembered places from childhood against the omnipresent apparatus of the military and state. Although I enjoy Rapoon, (and perhaps to a greater extent, Storey’s involvement in Zoviet France) there is a definite English sensibility to the music that, as it draws heavily on memory and shared experience, I will freely admit I am not able to entirely share. Works from The Advisory Circle or Belbury Poly are similar in this regard.

Still, some of these nostalgic elements are shared– and unfortunately, so is the experience of growing up and realizing that some of these fond memories contain more menacing elements. Perhaps this is the experience that Mystified draws upon for his self-described “tribute” to “Cold War: Drum ‘N’ Bass,” a freely-released collection called “Sovereign.”

For Mystified’s part, the unpacking is likely in two parts. On the one hand, a colleague and fan’s personal history with the original album itself. Mystified has always been up-front with his admiration of Storey, and of the Rapoon project in particular. Although Mystified releases happily carry their own weight (or I would not deal with them at all) there is doubtless a certain artistic push or inspiration that must be acknowledged. On the other hand, there is Mystified’s own experience of re-examining memory– of course, it is complicated by the prior concerns. It’s a conundrum, a loop, formed from another’s memories and experiences; impossible for an outside party to fully discern.

So where does that leave the listener? Perhaps, right where Mystified intends us to be– suspended in an uneasy repetition of shadowy motives and retreating understanding. Like “Sovereign” itself, the simplicity is only skin-deep, and the complexity is entirely dependent on how far you’ll continue into the rabbit hole.

Mystified – “Sovereign” on Treetrunk

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Mystified – “Skywatchers”

August 14, 2008

With “Skywatchers,” the ever-prolific Mystified brings a sense of slow and graceful movement to his often gloriously sessile work. Although the sense of direction could hardly be described as linear– indeed, tracks like “Anomaly” seem to trace the patterns of smoke in the air– “Skywatchers” seems to abandon the use of more obvious loops that characterized his previous “sound designs” in favor of increasingly organic phrasings and ambient progression.

Like all of Thomas Park’s Mystified releases, there’s not a lot of deconstruction that needs to be done on the listener’s end. “Big and Round” is a good example, and accurately titled. Gradually descending in pitch, the piece works as a giant “reveal” of the underlying rhythmic structure before letting listeners loose in the free space of “Dark Shimmer.”

It’s not drone music by any means; Park’s evident care and delicacy of design negate this possibility quite completely. Rather, “Skywatchers” is ambient done right, with Park as the go-to guy for listeners wanting more from their soundscapes than is customarily offered.

I also have to mention that the packaging is superb. Previously, I had only a passing familiarity with the Small Doses label, but now they have my full attention. The torn-paper landscape packaging for “Skywatchers” grabbed my attention from the moment it arrived in my post; the use of the actual disc as lunar element in the scene is simply perfect. Whoever is running things at Small Doses looks to be doing a great job.

“Skywatchers” is available on Small Doses as the 28th release.