Title: Numinous Transmissions
Artist: Mystified and Daniel Barbiero
Release Date: 2014 Sept 01
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.