CD Review

Mystified – “The Hand of Jayanti”

By Marcus Pan

The Hand of JayantiI’ve been a strong Thomas Park fan from Audiocad on through to Mystified[1]. So far I’ve written up three Mystified releases in the past year or so, this being counted among them, and I’m wondering if maybe it’s time to chill it down just a little for Thomas. His work has always been very low-key, keeping very simple and background-like. But he always had his slight classy touches that would guide it into something a bit more than just “being there,” which is very hard to do.

The Hand of Jayanti, with four tracks that seem to run as long as some full lengths, might not have enough of his classy touches as his previous work. All of Mystified tends to stay in the background – but The Hand of Jayanti fades out there and gets a little too ambient to the point of being inexistential. I’ve spun this album a few times already and I forget that I’ve done so and start it over when I realize there’s no music playing – so that’s kind of a tip.

Mystified’s previous two albums would fade into the background then come slinking, jumping or sloshing out at you when you weren’t expecting it and from the beginning Went Missing gives you a feeling that it will do that – bubbly, sloshily, interesting at first. But it fades moreso and I forget it’s there bubbling behind me – a little too far behind me maybe. If you really listen to it though, the stream-like visions will begin to get darker and more intense, lending to Park’s ability to frighten on a subliminal level.

At some point a while later The Moon Ate the Sun quietly slides in. This one will play around with a rhythm that’s somewhat non-sensical and the backward washes add a layer of perverse decay – it’s a very interesting concoction. But once again you have to concentrate on it, which in some ways steals from the ambient movement at the core of it all. Sati’s Corpse has as much silence to it as ambience, which makes it slip away further. The Hand of Jayanti closes with Daughter of the Mountain.

The Hand of Jayanti was hard to write about, if only because it fades away before I can get any words out. If you concentrate hard enough you can find nice nuances in the bubbling overlays and comfortable washes, but I’m used to Mystified not requiring much concentration and instead making it easier for you not to work your mind too much as it soothes it. The approach to the music by Park isn’t much different from before, but maybe his little tweaks he would do are fewer here which keeps it from reminding you that it’s around. I liked it better when Thomas messed with my head as well as my background.

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[1] The prior release, Vagabond, Pirate, was reviewed in Legends #153.