After releasing Muse yesterday, this morning I released Mystery Music VI, the second of what will likely be four albums released this month. Both Muse and Mystery Music VI are currently available on my Bandcamp page.
So, what’s with all the albums, you may ask?
Quite simply, I’ve had plans to work on and release these and other projects this fall. However, August – October were three of the strangest and most challenging months of my life, and virtually all of my plans had to be reconsidered or rescheduled. Only now am I beginning to catch up with things. Here’s hoping that I can finish the remainder of the projects I wanted to complete before the end of the year!
As for the new albums…
Given that earlier this year I wasn’t sure if the Caligari soundtrack would ever be released (for various reasons), I released about twenty minutes’ worth of demo recordings I made of the score. These “demos” were tracks 6 – 8 of the now-withdrawn Mystery Music IV.
Some time ago I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was considering how I would address the issue that would arise after releasing the Caligari soundtrack: having the demo recordings of Caligari on Mystery Music IV while at the same time having the official recordings available on the soundtrack.
Initially, I considered reissuing Mystery Music with new works to replace the Caligari demos. However, again, there was that bizarre nearly three-and-a-half month ordeal that required my having to put many things on hold indefinitely. By the time things began settling down, I was so far behind with things that adding even more work on top of the work I was already trying to do did not seem like an appealing prospect. Pushing work on this album further into the future – when I know I’ll be buried in even more new projects at that point – was an equally unappealing prospect.
Since both of the previous “mystery music” albums were relatively short (basically, EPs), I decided the best course of action was to combine the two albums, along with the addition of a couple newer works, and thus create a stronger, single album. During the last week, though, I reconsidered the track last, and ended up switching some tracks between albums.
Not all the tracks from the first two “mystery music” albums are included on Mystery Music VI. For instance, Tonight is now the closing track of Muse, and Iris is a bonus track on Mystery Music VI.
(Muse, front and back cover artwork)
Like Heartbreakers, Muse is an album that collects works that were in one way or another inspired by the women in my life – both present and past. While there is of course an emphasis on romantic love and how it inspires me, that is not this album’s focus, as it is with Heartbreakers.
For instance, one of the tracks, A Blanket of Stars, was composed last year on Thanksgiving Day, after a female family member challenged me to see how quickly I could compose music for the following image: a man and woman taking a romantic carriage ride through a park on a snowy winter night.
After returning home from Thanksgiving dinner, I composed and recorded the piece in about an hour-and-a-half or so, had sent it off to that family member, and then returned to my parents’ house to spend the remainder of the evening with my family! It was definitely one of the nicest Thanksgiving Days of my life – all around, a great day.
Because it’s a very special piece to me, I decided to use the original, unedited recording of A Blanket of Stars. You can check out the recording here:
Another instance were a woman served as a muse was the appropriately titled My Autumn Muse – a short pop/world music-inspired instrumental I composed and recorded on August 4th, 2022, in honor of the upcoming birthday of the fascinating and controversial, Mata Hari (1876 – 1917).
In a very mysterious way, Mata Hari served as my muse not only for the percussion suite I composed late last year and which I named after her, but for a number of other works I composed around that time, including two short soft rock instrumentals: Dark Eyes and Forever Always Young.
(Mystery Music VI, front and back cover artwork)
As I mentioned previously, Mystery Music VI is in part a product of making some changes to some of the tracks on my already-released albums.
Some may wonder about the meaning of the “mystery music” designation, so here’s how I explain it in the albums’ liner notes:
In my nomenclature, “mystery music” is a genre; a designation
for a certain kind of composition; NOT in terms of its form or
structure, but a result of either intention of happenstance.
For instance, there have been times when I composed music
for a specific project, or for a specific occasion, etc., and for one
reason or another, the project fell through…Since the music was composed specifically for those projects and/or occasions – and since I want others to have the
opportunity to hear the music I composed for those projects/occasions -I usually have to make considerable changes to the work, including
scoring and often even changing the title.
I then present the works in their modified form. Therefore, since
those works are being heard outside the context in/purpose
for which they were originally composed – and that original
context/purpose is not explained – those works are thereby categorized
as “mystery music.”
On other occasions, when something or someone inspires a
composition, and for one reason or another I don’t want the title
to reflect these sources of inspiration, those pieces will sometimes
be designated as “mystery music.”
“Mystery Music” also has a similar function to opus
Mystery Music I is the first Mystery Music album.
Mystery Music II is an unpublished short piano piece;
an arrangement of a work originally composed for organ.
Mystery Music III consists of three short electronic
pieces. These works can be heard on Three Analog Dances,
Night Shift, & Other Works: Electronic Music (Volume
Mystery Music IV is, of course, the Mystery Music IV
Mystery Music V is a short unreleased electronic work,
composed in July, 2022.
If you’re familiar with the two previous “mystery music” albums, you’ll likely note that I’ve retained some of the features of the artwork of those albums – both in terms of layout and in terms of the actual images – while still aiming for a fresh and striking take on the artwork.
As I’ve mentioned previously, my album artwork – particularly with the “mystery music” releases – contains clues about the music heard on the album. One of the more obvious visual clues from the Mystery Music VI artwork will likely be the photo of Mata Hari on the back cover. I used that photo not only because she was the otherwise unnamed source of inspiration behind My Autumn Muse, but because I used that photo (or part of it, rather), as the background image for the YouTube video I made for The Mysterious Island (Dance Excerpt) – the fifth track on the album.
It should be noted that if you were among those who purchased the two previous “mystery music” albums – you now possess collector’s items, my friends!
I hope you’ll check out the new albums. As always, thank you so much for your interest in my work!
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