CD Review

Mystified – “Vagabond, Pirate”

By Marcus Pan

Vagabond, PirateThomas Park's work has always been a staple in the ambient genres, whether it be soundscape or fractal based music. Vagabond, Pirate is one of his releases under the moniker Mystified, and pushes forth what he refers to as his his "illbient" soundtrack style. The release is 17 tracks long and consists of two albums smooshed together – Vagabond and then Pirate.

Vagabond is up first and begins a dark and dismal road with Filthy Hope. Router begins a minimal beat with background touches of vocal samples that pushes the disparity as you move down the dark road of sound. Eerie A continues the slight rhythm using more natural elements as its movement. By Spun things get weirded out as differing sounds are scraped together. Not much throughout Vagabond, Pirate is soothing – it's not meant to be really.

Freedom Factory is guided by pure wind being mostly rhythmless and attempts a smooth atmosphere but still remains fearful. Vagabond is a great title for this section as you're brought along on a dark road to nowhere in particular, always moving, albeit slowly, and never quite knowing where you'll end up next.

The opening Between the Two of the Pirate portion of this release really has me thinking of the underbowels of a pirate ship as it plies its way through the murky ocean off the coast of some far off mysterious land. The rhythm is the windwashed waves and the underlying bass oohs are the pulling of the oars as we begin this portion of our journey.

Plunder takes a strangely effervescent tack with its washed out synthetic melodies that conspire against one another. By Plunder 2 a rhythm slowly builds up, bubbly but there, with a funky bass hidden just under the bright keyboard overtones. Plunder 3 returns us to the effervescence with its strangely muddied ambient washes of sound interspersed with metallic scrapes of high mid octave sound with whispering voices barely discernible under the pressure.

Wharf finds itself getting momentarily brighter in sound as it flourishes its sweeter rhythms and sounds. A slight reprieve from the surrounding darker tones. Be Friends helps extend this momentous brightness for a while, but slides in background voices that are never quite made out but near enough to be reachable on a conscious level. Linger returns us to a slow brooding as Pirate comes to a dark close.

Mystified, and Thomas Park in general, always surprises me with the way the names of his releases really do sound like the strange ambience he provides. Pirate makes you feel like one and Vagabond has you traipsing down the darkest and most depressing roads. This isn’t your everyday listening fare, unless you’re too sane and need some disparity thrown in there. It’s certainly a dismal but satisfying ride whenever Thomas Park takes the helm.

Contact Information:
Post: 5073 A Chippewa, St. Louis, MO, 63109, USA

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