Mystified / w.x – Chemical Landscape EP

In August 2011 I began a collaboration with artist Mystified. I sent him three tracks and he mixed and throttled them into deep scores of sound. They race through your veins and send mesmerizing sensations to your brain.

Download Chemical Landscape at Bandcamp.


Review: Mystified – Overtone Drones

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh204

Mystified’s prolific catalog has featured a variety of genres. All of them have had his own unique twist that pushes the boundaries of each genre. Lately he has taken to evolving the genre of Drone. His most recent series, Bone Drones, were comprised entirely from trombone sounds. Overtone Drones is a continuation of such single instrument experimentation, this time with a wooden overtone flute. A flute naturally creates wavering drones but when long notes are held and layered on top of each other, they create a harrowing beauty that few instruments can match.

The drones your ears discover in this release take you to a chilling atmosphere, overwhelmed with frigid shadows and stoic waters. The ambiance of such a location stirs a very miniscule amount of fear. The sensation makes your hair stand on end with each rippling sound wave. Your whole psyche begins to sway back and forth with the synchronized wind. Submersion into such primal emotions does not happen as the flute acts like a guide through this strange uncharted land. The fear and alarm resides in the back of your mind as an unfamiliar but very soothing tranquility wraps around you.

Like many Mystified releases, Overtone Drones makes you explore strange emotions in a controlled environment. Everything feels new and startling but very welcoming. Gates of unknown perception have been opened for us to explore safely without fear of being lost forever. By listening you are exposed to greater depths of the mind and soul and then you are sent back to reality to share the knowledge with the known world.

Standout Track: Overtone Drone 5
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Mystified & The Ghost Between the Strings – Ghostbone

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh174

Drone. Pure untarnished drone. The sheer density of this album blocks out the possibility of any other sounds emerging through its sine waves. You sink into a lush mire of beautiful sound. It envelopes you from head to toe, gently rocking your ears into a subconscious state. A darkness sweeps in that eradicates your fears and puts your mind at rest. It is quite difficult to make dark and ominous sounds beautiful but these two have done it.

Mystified, the genre-bending multi-instrumentalist has paired up with dark ambient’s own The Ghost Between the Strings to create an extremely refined vision of our supernatural world. Hums and chimes glide in and out as drones pile on top of each other. Agitation is soothed and rage is melted. The constant murmuring is enough to make anyone slightly uneasy. To get past these feelings one must dive deep into the sounds and find a comfortable spot to watch the spectacle unfold.

This collaboration is one of the best I have heard in a long time. Both artists forged their strong points into this and the result is a pinnacle for dark ambient music. The only obstacle is one faced by all drone and dark ambient acts – monotony. Though these sounds are gorgeous and unique, by the time you reach the end it feels like one long drone track. This monotonous cycle doesn’t take a lot away from the music itself. It is still a fantastic listen and highly recommended for anyone wanting to escape the noise inside their own head.

Standout track: Frigid Elevation
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: Mystified – Return of Plunderman

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh167

In order to fully understand the return of Plunderman, I had to first experience the adventures of Plunderman to figure out why Plunderman came back. Adventures of Plunderman is a bunch of old vinyl recordings that are cut up and put together to make new songs. The overall vibe is very upbeat, something you could dance lightly to.

When Plunderman returns he is still in a mood to dance. Mystified uses loops to their fullest extent but at times it just feels like you’re going around in a circle. He has created a chamber for Ambient music to thrive in, sure the beats bounce off the walls but the atmosphere it creates is both upbeat and captivating. He used the same techniques as the first Plunderman, creating new music out of old tunes. It has an old-timey feel to it, like listening to old jazz records in a concert hall built in the early 1900s. The electronic beats throughout give it a modern twist and turn the songs into encore performances at a dark and chilled out club.

Standout track: Plunderman 7
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Mystified – Remembering the Engine

Label: None
Catalog No: N/A

The ever prolific Mystified, AKA Thomas Park, has released what he is calling an “audio eulogy for American oil.” This is exactly what he has accomplished. By composing three tracks of droned-out industrial sounds, he has painted a portrait of a mechanical post-apocalyptic funeral. Rows and rows of disembodied automobiles lay before a solemn memorial, stained in oil leaking from the pores of the mourning mechanisms. A ghosted figure of the officiating priest hovers above this scene which takes place after the annihilation of human existence.

Park has created a harrowing image dripping with the bleak truth. His union of industrial noises and drone techniques form a extraordinary soundscape, laced with twinges of dark ambient moods. This music could be the soundtrack to the scene of a car crash or a bombed out war zone. The harsh truth is that this is what will play when there is no one left on Earth to make music.

Standout track: Dying Gasps of Oil
Rating: 4.5 stars