Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

Mystified: 2 March 2008

website: Mystified homepage


Metadata: Mystified is Thomas Park and he looks a bit like Moby in the photo of the great man on his home site. Since 2003 under the Mystified banner he has produced collaborative, mixed media and personal works, mainly orbiting the ambient/drone genre. On the basis that a man is as good as his library, perform your own character assessment of Thomas at his extensive links page, a one stop shop for a fine array of leftfield labels and artists. I approve of Thomas' distribution model - lots of free works - in the best tradition of the web. He is a keen blogger, posting most days, and as you will see he still embraces the compact cassette, the medium that democratised music, a cultural precursor to the www.

Orphir by Mystified. The album is available as a high bitrate MP3 from Orphir on Darkwinter In overview, Orphir is what I regard as a sub-minimal work - beyond what I regard as "drone". It is a deeper layer in the taxonimic root-system, that for want of a better description, I would call "dispersal". This is deepest essence, the volatile micro-trace that evaporates from music at the slightest waver from absolute zero. The antithesis of melody, harmony and counterpoint. White paint on a white wall. In this sense, it achieves more than Jonh Cage's seminal 4'33''. Orpir defies a paradox - it defines silence with sound. The review, as often from the Landschaft pen, is free-form; a trancendental impression rather than literal description, and in this case is interchangable between pieces; a series of pen sketches:

A pot-shard caught in stasis, suspended in the layers of history. A marker in time culturally cross-referencing - defining a point in time. Or the Tertiary/Cretacious border clueing an extinction event in a band of ash, an event in the geo-scape, a bar code turned on it's side waiting to be read.

The friction of dead plankton on water molecules in their descent to the depths. A cypher waiting for the law of accelerating return to increase computing complexity to a point where the relationship of everything to everything else is decoded. A Rosetta stone of secrets waiting to be unlocked.

White noise from the ether, where CETI, casting her far reaching ear in anticipation of a voice from the galaxies has arrived too late for the message.

Orphir is a small Orkney Isles (NE of Scotland) community on the edge of Scarp Flow. Home to the ghosts of the british naval fleets of two world wars. The rusting hulks of monster battleships lie at rest on the seabed, graves to the fallen in plate steel. And Orphir is the seaweed that wafts on the tide.