Title: Numinous Transmissions
Artist: Mystified and Daniel Barbiero
Release Date: 2014 Sept 01
Genre: Ambient
License: CC BY-ND
Label: Treetrunk Records


I didn’t know what to expect when Mystified asked me to check Numinous Transmissions.  The title left me thinking there was going to be an emphasis on the supernatural (based on the word numinous).  However, when I checked the description of the release it included the statement: “Exploring sounds and ideas of the sacred…” which, to me at least, leaned more towards spirituality and religion.  While the two concepts are not mutually exclusive, I generally don’t feel there is much overlap between them.  So, just what is up with this recording of sacred numinous transmissions?

Of Sacred Numinous Transmissions

So I started off with a bit of a conflict over what is “spiritual” versus “supernatural”.  I started thinking this through more carefully as I read through the track titles: ‘Stars’, ‘Chant’, ‘Drums’, ‘Sky’ all seemed to fit with my perception that maybe the definition of spiritual in play was Native American until I reached ‘Radio’ — that pretty much threw that thought out the window.  The final piece on the release is titled ‘Rain’, which kind of drew things together.

Basically the concept is about things that are transmitted through air or sky.  Be it sounds transmitted from the earth, like chants or drums, or things that are above us and make sounds, like stars, radio, and rain.  I hear you say, “wait stars make sounds?”  Yes, actually they do. Okay, so the track ‘Sky’ doesn’t quite fit, however as it is a definition of the transmission media I think I am okay with this.

So, this release is a duet effort from Mystified and Daniel Barbiero.  this is quite a different effort from the normal output of Mystified.  While his generative soundscapes and drones are still the basis for these compositions, the addition of rhythmic bass lines from Daniel brings out a different set of characteristics in these pieces.  No longer are they just abstract shifting sounds and textures, but instead they seem to have a drive to them – a direction that is more direct.

The addition of field recordings from Shane Morris on several of the tracks such as the wind on ‘Chant’ and the rain on ‘Rain’ adds a dimension that immediately grounds these works to the earth. They are more immediately relate-able to daily life.

None of this is to take anything away from Mystified’s generative sounds.  Rather, these enhancements have moved his work in a more trance-style realm of Steve Roach, which is quite a new territory — at least compared to other Mystified releases I’ve listened to (which I admit, isn’t a lot — probably only a few recordings out of the over forty he has produced).


This is quite a departure for Mystified’s work, at least in my experience.  It’s a for more transce-like recording than previous works. The addition of Daniel Barbiero and Shane Morris’s work on this release really makes for a new experience.  To date, I would say that this has to be my favorite release from Mystified so far.

Mystified and Daniel Barbiero: Numinous Transmissions




Posted by George De Bruin


  1. Sure, man– as I recall, it’s quite interesting. I also read the one by Eliade mentioned in the wikipedia. Also very good. Cheers!

    1. So I took a quick look at the Wikipedia page, and I think I have actually heard of The Idea of The Holy before. There’s a lot of things about this that I would struggle with, especially as an atheist. 🙂 I’ve had problems with belief systems that use the concept of the supernatural as an out for anything that cannot be explained within their belief system (in fact, that’s probably one of the bigger reasons I am now an atheist).

      Personally, I’ve tended to look at the concept of the supernatural from a different perspective. Just because something might appear to be supernatural doesn’t mean that it is un-explainable. It just means that our current understanding of nature hasn’t been able to quantify. Therefore that which is “supernatural” or “mystic” in nature is just evidence of the gaps in our understanding of nature.

      1. I was brought up a Christian, became an agnostic. Lately, I have had experiences that have prompted me to return to a Christian belief system, with mystical elements.

        I think my music demonstrates a path through these belief systems.

        I was thinking about doing a mix called “Conversion”, tracking my beliefs during certain phases. I feel I was “caught in the middle” for some time.

        1. That would be interesting. I don’t lay any claims to being in any position to tell anyone else what to believe. If anything, I think there is a lot of things in the world that when first observed don’t make sense. Some of them are more easily explained than others… For examples, the Mystery of the Death Valley Sailing stones. It took two years, but the mystery was solved. But there are quite a few that take longer.

          Things we experience are frequently more difficult to judge. We don’t have a scientific community to examine every single experience we have on a daily basis. So, unless someone else has had the same experience and/or we can find some explanation for the experience we are often left with handling it on our own. Then it comes down to do we put our understanding of an event into the mystical, or into the an unexplained category. I personally lean towards the unexplained instead of the mystical.

          1. Interesting. Sure, the line between mystical and unexplained can be thin.

            I have been informed by moments when, seeing (usually nature) around me, I have sensed that people did not make this. I often felt that some intelligence did, however. Theories attempt to explain nature, but to me, there is always more behind them.

            To me, theories are like people chasing the divine, and never really catching it.

  2. Nice work! And an interesting perspective– not taking things at face value, which is probably a good notion. I wanted to add a link to the writer whose work on the “numen” I remember studying in college– I felt that these studies informed “Numinous Transmissions”. His name is Rudolf Otto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Otto . Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the link to the work. I can’t say how many of these books I read in college that I couldn’t eve find today, so your recall is excellent. 🙂 I’ll try to take a look at it when I have some time.

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