Shane Morris / Mystified



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About Emergence


1   From The Primordial Night

2   A Struggling New Form Of Life

3   Weathering Storm And Tide

4   To The Icy Peaks

5   Feet On The Ancient Forest Floor

Shane Morris & Mystified are back with Emergence, the stunning second installment to their primordial three-part “Inspired Evolution” soundscape project. This natural sequel to Epoch, their lush first release, continues the artist’s bold effort to create a sonic environment that evokes prehistoric places and atmospheres, this time focused on the age when mammals arose and began to flourish on planet Earth. Mystified’s Thomas Park explains, “Emergence takes Epoch further. Now more direct predecessors to Man are emerging on the planet; early mammals surviving in diverse primal ecosystems. Each track has a title and theme that corresponds to a different ancient location or environment.”

The sound of Emergence is vital yet primal; ambient atmospheric yet powerfully evocative. Broad, sweeping acoustic and electronic tones are punctuated with treated percussive sounds such as wooden sticks, shakers and gongs. There are shadows of its predecessor, Epoch, with trombone notes and drones, which are supported by a variety of acoustic winds and other organic instrument drones. However, Emergence reflects the evolutionary turn from giant reptiles to mammals by adding some new sounds to the mix. Shane Morris elaborates, “Epoch used all acoustic sounds to create its ancient soundscape, but for this next chapter we relied a little more heavily on electronics, including digital synthesizers to reflect the shifting evolution.”

With Emergence, Shane Morris & Mystified once again create tremendously immersive soundworlds that are shrouded in mystery and filled with life. Each track an opening into the distant past, Emergence presents a vigorous and powerful sonic portrayal of prehistoric Earth.


What I got here is the second installment of the "Inspired Evolution" , a triple concept-release about prehistoric time and evolution. As can be expected, the highly atmospheric, free form and organic ambient music takes up the trail where its predecessor "Epoch" left us. In this stage, reptiles enter the scene and have started to invade the land.

The five lengthy and cinematic soundscapes sound most vibrant and alive, and –compared to "Epoch"- they are also more accessible and friendly to the ears. Nonetheless, these deep dronescapes without the faintest trace of any melody are spiced with dense textures and poignant environmental noises/clicks, entering fascinating mysterious realms before the minds eye. On "To the Icy Peaks", a profound sense of remoteness and something foreboding settles down without getting too disturbing.

To get the full scope and impact of the intense and well-rendered listening experience, good headphones are a must. All in all, this quality outcome makes me eagerly looking forward to the culmination of this prehistoric sound stage.

- Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion

The second release in a trilogy of sonic soundtracks to the dawn of life on Earth, Morris and Mystified (aka Thomas Park) here craft "Emergence" around the appearance of mammals on the Earth. It's a lovely and mysterious primordial ambience that showcases the duo's skill at creating vast, organic-sounding environments.

Beginning with "From The Primordial Night", this album conjures magical images of a world teeming with wonder and life. "To The Icy Peaks" is a mysterious, fleeting, and haunting drift, whereas "Feet On The Ancient Forest Floor" sparkles with life on what sounds like a rainforest. Insects, drips of rain, unidentified creatures, wind, and distant rumblings -- all stunning worlds within a singular soundscape.

A large part of "Emergence" was composed with organic instrumentation (woodwinds, trombone, and acoustic percussion figure prominently), and this "third world" vibe is proof-positive that Morris and Park are masters at discovering ancient spirits encased in sound.

- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden

"Emergence", released during June 2013 on Spotted Peccary/Lotuspike, is the second chapter of "Inspired Evolution" trilogy and follow-up to adventurous "Epoch". While on "Epoch" Shane Morris & Thomas Park (aka Mystified) have focused on giant dinosaurs colonizing the land, "Emergence" maps the appearance of mammals. Just the same as with "Epoch", also "Emergence" immediately catches my attention with stunning artwork (original photography by Jourdan Laik, layout and design by Daniel Pipitone).

Over ten minutes long opener, "From The Primordial Night", takes the listener directly into nocturnally frightening wooded swamp territory. Mysterious drone on the back, synthesized drops, frog-like calls, buzzing noises of insects, emerging percussive dissonances, ear-tickling click-clack, ominous breaths..., I could call this as a cacophony, but somehow it sounds quite intricate and it precisely evokes deep moist forest. Wear your headphones and you will take a spectacularly transporting prehistoric journey with many aural rewards, a grandiose opening!!! The next piece, "A Struggling New Form Of Life", starts quietly, but soon tensive circles invade along with dramatic percussive rumbles. After culminating, sonic dissonances again switch into mesmerizingly mindscaping waves. Then reappear once more in richly cavernous organic form. Awesome!!! This track is nothing short of riveting immersion provided by its predecessor. "Weathering Storm And Tide" unfolds with rain and thunder on-site recordings and mysterious ghostlike drone emanations, which intermingle throughout with sinisterly repetitive percussive clicks. "To The Icy Peaks" melts leading drone expansions, buzzing noises, sharper outbursts of percussions and clattering fragments. Smoothly floating and meandering through calmer snowscaping plateaus with some climbs into thrillingly dramatic heights. The closing cut, "Feet On The Ancient Forest Floor", moves to wealthily colored ravine trails, lushly organic and intriguingly disturbing, with mystifyingly monotonous shaking rhythm later thrown in. A grand finale!!!

This is definitely not your mediocre dose of dark ambient-infused recording, but an enormously thrilling, anomalously accomplished and stunningly proficient sonic document offering to each journeyer a truly adventurous listening gratification!!! "Emergence" (mastered by Ben Cox) is undoubtedly after "Epoch" another must have from these two gifted explorers!!! I just have no idea how can Shane Morris & Mystified top these two parts with the final installment...

- Richard Gürtler, Relaxed Machinery

Recreate in music the birth of the prehistory! Such is the challenge that Shane Morris and Mystified imposed themselves with the Inspired Evolution trilogy. If the soundscape of Epoch depicted the period of reptiles and dinosaurs, this 2nd part focuses on the emergence of mammals as well as their environments. And as in Epoch, Shane Morris and Thomas Park display a whole sound arsenal which immerses us in a luxuriant fauna where the sounds embellish with images the story of “Emergence” with an impressive artistic vision deserving of two magnificent smiths of atmospheres.

Hollow breaths follow the walls of a cave which oozes of some scattered drops which fall with a tone of hard wood. "From the Primordial Night" plunges us into the blackness of a defensive birth where the mothers give birth in the purest of the anonymities. The ambience is torrid with its black winds which cross ramparts of rocks where sparkle rustles of insects witnesses of the birth and which feast with a concert of their musical wings. You have to hear these wings of prehistoric locusts and cicadas forged a bewitching abstract rhythm. A rhythm which depicts a hard battle between the mother, her womb and the life that she wants to deliver, while that heavy crashes fall on "From the Primordial Night",  adding so a dramatic touch that some winds with breezes of oracles embrace of a profound worry. The difficulty of the birth is splendidly put in music by the duet. And if our imagination goes towards other possibilities, they are numerous believe me, Shane Morris and Thomas Park bring us back to their reality with the very soft "A Struggling New Form of Life" and its winds symphony which would stick to a documentary showing the first steps of a baby mammoth. "Weathering Storm and Tide" breathes through these percussions of hardwood which mould the concerto for locusts in "From the Primordial Night". The ambience is simply surrealistic in a pair of earphones. Abstract, the rhythm sparkles of these tap-dancing which ooze such as thousands of rainy drops in a sound environment fed by strata of synth forewarning of terrestrial apocalypse of which the rumbles of thunder amplify with dexterity. The percussions are stunning in this track. The quiet winds of "To the Icy Peaks" lead us in a Scandinavian setting where the breaths of ice fail on ice floes of cymbals. Every detail is well thought on “Emergence”, as prove it these cymbals and percussions which simulate the fall of big glaciers. The ambiences are heavy with synth layers to Shamanic hoarse breaths, to colors of clarions of snows and to fine prismic nuances. There are no rhythms, but the atmospheres are staggering, quite as in the powerful "Feet on the Ancient Forest Floor" which reminds me enormously Steve Roach's universe with these long buzzing breaths which follow the desert lands and these clan percussions which forge the spiritual dances. Doubtless the most intense title of “Emergence”.

I rarely heard a music so creative, imaginative as that of Shane Morris and Mystified. The American duet places the bar very high by wanting to recreate a world that our eyes saw dozens of times without ever really feeling all the intrinsic atmospheres or emotions. “Emergence” is as much penetrating, fascinating as Epoch. Our ears are transformed into eyes so much the reality of sounds exceeds the fiction. It's high-level ambiospherical opus which finds all its nobility and meaning under the shells of a good pair of earphones. Fans of sounds and atmospheres, “Emergence” is for you.

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth & Sequences

From the ever so active Thomas Park, also known as Mystified, this time a real CD - CDRs, cassettes and downloads are more his territory, which is rare, but the odd (?) thing is that did a CD with Shane Morris before - see Vital Weekly 830. He's not someone of whom I know a lot, other than he he is an electronic musician. The list of instruments seems to be shorter than before: acoustic percussion, synthesizer and 'other acoustic sounds' (Shane Morris) and trombone, woodwinds, acoustic percussion and composition (Mystified), which seems an odd list considering the music one gets to hear, which sounds like a mostly electronic affair. All of what was once acoustic is firmly played through digital synthesizers and makes up some heavenly ambient music. But unlike the good ol' drone music, which is usually a straight line, the electronics follow the patterns created by the acoustic playing, so it bounces back and forth, slow, minimal yet majestically. There is a nice emphasis on the use of percussion instruments which do not bang out a pseudo tribal rhythm, but tick away in a monotonous fashion and sound like the rain against the window - especially in 'Weathering Storm And Tide'. It's all very moody music, like the soundtrack to Game Of Thrones (but I guess I say that because I just watched an episode, but it could be any such fantasy thing on screen), with violence lurking around the next corner, and we are waiting for something to happen - maybe I was lead by a title like 'To The Icey Peaks'. Good, solid, dark atmospheric music with a gentle touch of acoustics. If not spectacular, then surely well produced. Nothing new, all is great.

- Vital Weekly

Emergence is the second part in a trilogy of Shane Morris and Thomas Park where they sonically describe the time before humans roamed the earth. The first part was Epoch as featured in this review: https://yeahiknowitsucks.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/shane-morris-mystified-epoch/
Where the first part took us to the world of the Dinosaurs, this release sets in the rising world of the mammals. Listening through headphones is recommended once again!

From the primordial night takes us to a landscape of the post-apocalyptic Dinosaur world filled with tiny crickets and slowly emerging marsupials. Imaging yourself at the edge of a giant swamp, millions of mosquitos  swarming around your head. Not a lot of other animals around you and you’re the first mammal to ever see this

A Struggling new form of life breaths the atmosphere of a desolate landscape where there isn’t a lot of shelter from the ever gusting winds and spontaneous rains. Finding food, taking care of your babies, looking for shelter in a world that has been completely destroyed by an asteroid impact and the following winter.

Weathering Storm and Tide lets the crickets play in a rain forest on the edge of the ocean. Battling storms and ferocious tide changes as the Atlantic ocean begins to form. While they are happily doing their crickety business, our mammal friends hide under the branches of old trees.  They’re just waiting to finally submerge and take over the planet.

To the icy peaks drags us from the rain forest to the artic. Battering with snowstorms and even less food to be found on the surface, the mammals turn themselves to the water en eventually become the large water mammals we know of in our time. A huge whale dives deep into the icy ocean for a plankton meal.

Feet on the ancient forest floor is where the large land mammals appear. Walking through a dense forest we encounter the first mammals that will later become the Elephants and Giraffes of this world. Breaking branches and demolishing entire forests to get their daily diet of leafs.
Get yourself a copy of this emerging CD at Spotted Peccary.

- Johan Nederpel, https://yeahiknowitsucks.wordpress.com/

Ambient drone and moodscape.
Picking up where Epoch left off, Emergence progresses the Inspired Evolution trilogy into its second phase. Once again, evocative, primal atmospheres are created using a wide variety of sonic sources: trombone, woodwinds, acoustic percussion and 'other various sounds'. The majority of these, as before, being nigh on impossible to recognise as coming from the instruments named. There are insectile clicks, susurrations and flickers; liquid motion and fluid suggestion; air movements, heaving turbulence and drifting dark winds. Sleeve notes reveal something new to this release though - synthesiser; this element infuses Emergence with a shifting tide of warmth beyond the bleak, reptilian textures of Epoch. Dissonant noise and complex drone beds are lightened by the inclusion of electronic tones; A Struggling New Form Of Life has a softness and beauty that almost floats. There are rhythmic structures driving a number of passages: stick patterns and shakers; muted clunking and rain sticks; cicada-like creak rhythms as well as less regular clicks, clatters and disturbances.

Emergence is naturally packaged in similar format to Epoch: a neat card wallet free of plastic. The wallet has two panels, the disc itself slipped inside one end. Rock forms are the main subjects of the art work with mossy coatings, moist surfaces and mysterious depths. Scuff and scratch marks are superimposed upon the photography to produce a worn, neglected look and pleasingly, the sleeve is printed within too - on the inner surfaces where the disc resides. Track titles and times are on the rear along with brief credits and website information. The two inner panels reveal a shadowy cave backdrop with a paragraph explaining the aim of the project. Instruments employed are listed here also along with thanks and links to further information.

Shane Morris and Thomas Park of Mystified come together a second time to deliver the sequel to Epoch - Emergence. This is part two of a three disc series exploring our planet's ancient prehistoric past. Previously the emphasis was upon the age of dinosaurs and reptiles - deeply primitive and raw. This time the focus is upon the emergence of a new form of life - mammals. Promotional material explains, “Emergence takes Epoch further. Now more direct predecessors to Man are emerging on the planet; early mammals surviving in diverse primal ecosystems. Each track has a title and theme that corresponds to a different ancient location or environment.” There are five tracks this time, all close to the ten minute mark (give or take a minute or so) and the Spotted Peccary website allows listeners to preview each of these. You can also explore the music of the duo via the Shane Morris website or the Mystified site.

- Paul Jury, Morpheus Music

Shane Morris operates in that area of sound sculpting where you have to abandon any attempts at analysis and just let the recording flow over you. Sometimes, for a trained musician, this isn't easy, but there's more to life (and music) than scale modes and beat patterns. Everything about Emergence sounds organic, though virtually anything heard could just as easily be purely an electronic creation. But, as a wise man once said, "Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream." It's easy to picture yourself deep in a forest, with crickets and other night creatures going about the business of living all around you. Gentle breezes, occasional sprinkles of rain, and other natural sounds lull you into a state of deep relaxation, and it is only gradually that you become aware of some sounds that can't be explained by animals and natural forces — at least not natural to this world. Maybe it's a craft from another part of the galaxy slipping past overhead, near silent in its massive passage. Gradually you become aware of another artificial sound... there must be a village somewhere in the distance, and the attenuated echoes of some kind of percussive music are carrying over the hills, blending with the crickets to the point where nature and culture are indistinguishable. Perspectives change around you, almost as if you were moving, or maybe the world is moving around you, presenting different sonic spaces to you as it passes. Don't open your eyes, or you might miss something.

- Jon Davis, Exposé Magazine

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