Three essential playlists, in retrospect of Mystified:
2. Vintage Mystified: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9TuK-wqyd1QDHftgnft8K1EwwIjRL9cj
Follow my channel to bookmark these and other videos, plus to follow new "Grid Resistor" material. Thanks!
2 new High-Fidelity sample collections, for listening or using in music:
1. Machines By Contact Microphone:
2. Shortwave Radio In High Fidelity:
Why all of these "Robin Storey"-related posts? A bit of explanation. When I first started writing music, I was trying to figure out what directions to take. I was searching for genres on a site called "Epitonic", and I ran across a category called "Drone" music. Drone music? What in heaven's name? Well, I began listening to some samples, and really got into the stuff, appreciating the uncanny and visceral qualities of this type of music. Robin's act Rapoon was listed as an example of drone, referencing several tracks from his album "Raising Earthly Spirits".
I wanted to create my own drone music. Not sure where to find sounds, I bought samples, and found that Robin had created two excellent, imaginative, somewhat non-linear loop sets, and that the guy who set up loop sets for what was then Sonic Foundry was also a fan. A lot of my earlier musical attempts used sounds crafted by Robin. About this time, I asked Robin if he would be willing to make a mix using some of his own "Acid Loops", and he agreed. He created the "Robin Storey Transit Remix", using sounds I had assembled for my own piece, "Transit". So, in a way, the "Transit" remix was really Robin remixing himself.
Years went by, and we lost touch. There were some reissues of his remix, I continued using his loops. At one point, I bought a painting of his, from his own "Tarot" deck.
A couple of years ago, I wanted to make a point of what a great influence Robin had been, both on my music and the scene as a whole, so I created the "Loop Messiah" tribute netrelease, which is a great collection of tracks by various artists that pay tribute to the music of Rapoon. This was an unofficial tribute, but it did quite well, with thousands of downloads on archive.org.
For a reason I can't describe, I felt that I should try contacting Robin once again. I found that the Abraxas project, and its loop30 series, curated by Gerald Fiebig, covered some historical and cultural themes that Robin had addressed in his music. When I opened a chat window to Robin, it was almost as though he knew why I was approaching him.
Several months later, and we have "Grasslands Dream of Electric Sheep"-- the current iteration of Robin's influence on my career, and itself a wonderful and authentic piece of music, touching on themes of growing up in Cold War England, and daring to access an emotional range not often found in current music.
So, there is the answer to the "Why all these Robin Storey" posts. I hope that i explained that well.
Robin Storey of Rapoon was asked to design some music for the Abraxas cultural center. Abraxas is a building in Augsburg that was used as a military bunker for both German and Allied troops. More recently, it has become a museum that focuses on its past uses, and generally a center of culture. Robin's piece will be broadcast in Abraxas in the Fall of 2017 through Spring of 2018. Some of the sounds in this piece were furnished by Thomas Park (of Mystified). Robin remixed these sounds and added his own. Thomas would like to deeply thank Robin for the time he took from his busy life to create such an authentic and beautiful piece of music.
Remember that Cyberpunk kid Kenji Siratori?
Here's an album I did with him back in the day:
Daniel Barbiero sent Mystified some very nice sounds he had recorded with his double bass. Mystified processed these sounds and added his own to create this industrial soundscape.
Mystified thought of the title, as this seems to be a current problem, that people are asked to try to sustain systems that are in unsustainable conditions-- fossil fuel consumption, the environment, the economy-- both on micro and macro levels.
Sustain is also a musical term that means to hold a note.
We are asked to strike a chord and hold it-- and keep holding-- even when this seems unlikely or impossible.
Special thanks to Daniel for his participation and inspiration.
Saint Louis: An American Topography
People who live in my home town speak of two cities. References are made to the "Delmar Divide". On the North side of Delmar live many of the entrenched African American families, often in poverty and with decaying infrastructure. On the South side live a predominantly Caucasian community. There is some poverty there, but also much affluence and a broader spectrum of wealth and opportunity.
All of this was according to plan, my wife tells me. Those who determined years ago how the city would develop made sure that communities that were mostly Caucausian stayed that way, and vise versa for the African Americans. I am not going to go into the history of this, or the various legal acts and otherwise that led to it. But I believe it.
Once a week I travel from my comfortable South City home and go North on Vandeventer, towards a nearly all-black library, where I spend the day as a technology assistant. Driving along Vandeventer is pleasant enough, potholes aside. I pass through a lovely park, near the Central West End, and then roll West of the museum and theater district.
Then I cross Page. Something changes. The infrastructure looks old and cracked, in disrepair. The stores along the street seem not to be doing so well. Right at that corner is an old gas station or something similar that has been abandonned and is literally falling to pieces.
As I travel further North, I see no affluent homes, only brick duplexes and struggling businesses and institutions. Soon I reach Natural Bridge Road, which has been dubbed the "Murder Street" of the nation by one publication. Anywhere past Page, it is rare to spy a white face-- usually if I do, it's someone hauling in scrap or other goods to sell in the North Side.
Terrifying to see, hard to admit. These American scenes have inspired many pieces of my music. One, "North Side, 3:13 AM", was created for the new minimalist netlabel Musicnumbers. I tried to capture the uneasy feeling I would imagine a person might experience when stranded for whatever reason near Natural Bridge Road late a night, perhaps a bit as I felt when I had no car and was waiting for the cab at the library after sunset. It's a feeling you might recognize, but that no one wants or cares to admit should be.
Another piece, "Page And Vandeventer", uses urban field recordings to capture the raw industrial ugliness of that intersection, and the sense that one has crossed into a place where there is no time or money for beauty-- brick, metal, asphalt, all are left to crack and decay in the elements.
I wrote a piece, "Natural Bridge Road", for a compilation coming out soon on Mahorka records, which I cannot share. Listening, I think of the sad procession of outdated cars along the street, the vacant buildings and signage still up from 70 years ago.
I will also mention "Concrete Expanse", more generally about the city, which captures the huge amounts of space in Saint Louis with nary a tree or shrub-- it's the kind of world that fosters kids who are later amazed to discover what a "cow" and "goat" are, even though we are here in the middle of the MidWest.
I am a believer in atmospheres and environments, and their power to affect and transform. I am not sure that my works on this subject would make people happy-- but they might be able close their eyes, and see what I saw, and continue to see, with mine that are open-- the ugliness of an unfair world, where men and women who never asked for it are made to live without beauty or adornment.