Shane Morris / Mystified



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About Evolution


1   Fire Gathering

2   Growing Into New Territory

3   Waiting For The Storm To Pass

4   Hunting In The Hills

5   The Trials Of Evolved Man

Through the creative use of sound and composition, sonic storytellers Shane Morris & Mystified have arrived at EVOLUTION, the monumental conclusion of their three-part “Inspired Evolution” soundscape series.  A masterfully crafted follow-up to the series’ first two installments, EVOLUTION continues the artist’s bold effort to create a sonic environment that evokes prehistoric places and atmospheres.  The music, sometimes rhythmic, opaque and mostly amorphous, is much like the swirling of the gene pool forming over a long period of time.

Having taken us through the epoch of dinosaurs and the emergence of mammals on the trilogy’s first two installments, Morris & Mystified now compel us to the age where early humans have evolved. Technological and physiological advances result in the domination of Homo Sapiens. Reptiles and Mammals still populate the Earth, but Mankind, the contemporary end result of their development, makes small changes (soon to be huge) in the Ecosystem and the planet as a whole.

The sound of EVOLUTION is an evolution itself. The trilogy’s first chapter, EPOCH, featured purely acoustic soundworlds, and on part two, EMERGENCE, some electronics were introduced. On EVOLUTION the acoustic sources take a back seat to a mostly synthetic environment where sounds symbolize the innovations created by Homo Sapiens.  An occasional brass drone, tribal drum or acoustic percussion riff appears, but at this point in evolution, the use of man-made tools has changed the reality surrounding it, and therefore its sound.


A breeze coming from the time widens a silky fluty blanket. Its dreamlike song raises a thick cloud of drones which eventually float like this light morning mist of which the suspended droplets moisten the dense Neanderthal forests. The dew dried up, the drones breathe within communicative breaths while the wooden jingles are drawing a ghost rhythm. The drumming arouse the curiosity of pulsations isolated in this leafy sonic vegetation from where wake up the stridulations of huge locusts. "Fire Gathering" takes then a tangent unknown in this Inspired Evolution series with percussions which knock down the ambiances became a little more threatening. Navigating in the seas of aboriginal and tribal moods of SteveRoach, ByronMetcalf and of Mark Seelig, ShaneMorris & Mystified are surprising with a conclusion at least clearly more aggressive than on the first 2 opuses of their trilogy. Between the mysticism of a society disappeared since millenniums and the paranormal of the contemporary tones, “Evolution” always offers these ambiences which are near the spiritual contemplativity as well as an impressive sonic pallet which this time breathe through rhythms as lively as creative. "Fire Gathering" continuous then its sonic breakthrough, just like a Cro-Magnon man discovers the dangers of his territories of hunting. The tension is tangible and each knock of percussions spreads a filmic aura, in addition to sharpening the tones of the heterogeneous noises and the organic jingles which nibble at these hollow vibes and these winds come of between mountains which sneak such as a false soothing wave.
Simply sublime, "Growing into New Territory" offers an array of beatings which sparkle and skip in a very dialectical approach. One would say a race of fragile small-steps which avoid the same traps, while the lines of synth are spreading an ambient soundscape, and so very soothing, which covers a forest half sleepy. "Waiting for the Storm to Pass" reminds me the ambient, organic and shamanic rhythms from the tandem Roach/Metcalf. In spite that the track remains quiet, we feel a threat floating throughout its 13 minutes. ShaneMorris & Mystified may claim to create a prehistoric tone, at times we believe in it firmly, that the spectral approach of a secret society also perspires all through the 60 minutes of “Evolution”. And this even if we dive in the heart of luxuriant aboriginal vibes with "Waiting for the Storm to Pass" and its frame-drums' tomtoms which make us travel just like being on the wings of a huge insect and flying with the wave-like of synth lines. The breaths of caves and the long drones, all both rather musical, decorate the ambiospherical intro of "Hunting in the Hills". The fusion weaves a rather serene approach. Other more resonant synth lines are spreading some iridescent curves among which the magnetic singings and the reverberating pads arouse the awakening of the cymbalisation of the wooden cicadas. Hollow voices, which borrow the tones of frame-drums, and shamanic rattlers are quietly driving the serenity of "Hunting in the Hills" towards a more frightening passage, drawing the images that we visualize of a prey at the end of its resources. "The Trials of Evolved Man" seduced just as much with its docile pulsatory rhythm. The movement of the pulsations may be sustained; one would say an ambient techno with these jingles which adorn its parasitic gravity, that it awakens not at all the passivity of the synth lines, rather musical and very soothing I have to specify, which float such as the caresses of the gods on a fauna torn between its peace of mind and the rebellion of its mini-inhabitants. This very beautiful track throws a magnetizing crescendo, plunging the listener into a fascinating morphic state and so looping the loop of a trilogy of which we already regret its final part.
“Evolution” is a surprising album of ambient music which rivets the eater of sounds that we are in a mode of constant listening. A rather unique exploit for an album of ambient music. The soft rhythms, the caresses of synths and their unique electronic dialects, as much as those brilliant acoustic percussions coupled to the multiple quirky tones give a rather unique sonic texture which exceeds even the borders, nevertheless splendidly defined by Steve Roach and his accomplices, of a landscaped and aboriginal music. This is the very beautiful album that offers us ShaneMorris & Mystified . One of the best in the genre. Magnetizing, bewitching and simply superb!

- Sylvain Lupari, Synth & Sequences

Evocative modern primitive soundscapes!

The third piece in a trilogy, this 5-track, 60-minute album charts organic life as it, well, evolves from the primordial stew into complex life forms. Using predominantly electronic instruments, Morris and Mystified (aka Thomas Park) craft sounds that evoke the imagined “proto-music” of primitive man. Basic percussion, tribal drums, minimal scratchings, gongs, and the sounds of the natural world all around are here, haunting, mysterious, and somehow alluring.

The “music”, or perhaps more appropriately ambient sound, on “Evolution” is subtle and quiet, but never static. The elements of mood and texture are all present, and even semblances of near-melody. But don’t expect a wistful set of cheery background sounds. This is a heady, rich, and immersive sound-stew that conjures vivid mental imagery, like a gradually-moving cinematic experience.

“Fire Gathering” is a dark night-time ritual — lighting torches in a ravine with the ocean breeze wafting along the treeline. “Growing Into New Territory” combines light percussion with the sounds of water running, and deep drones — like a tentative visit into an undiscovered cavern under a clear, starry night. It’s lovely music really, with a swell of wonder and a tingle of darkness.

“Evolution” is a wonderfully rich and subtle (yet heady) work of electronic ambient sound sculpture. It’s a spacious travelogue to times long since forgotten. Fully recommended.

- Todd Zachritz, Goatsden

"Evolution" is the closing chapter of the "prehistoric" ambient triptych by Shane Morris & Mystified (aka Thomas Park), sonically seeing a nice blend of acoustic and electro-synthetic sounds.

Within the prehistoric places and atmospheres sketches out by the music, the presence of man is now set into the foreground as he has learned to survive by improving his skills. As on the previous two recordings, many subtle and refined changes in the drones, tones and layering are encountered in the meticulously mixed and mastered outcome in which quite some minimalist sequencer patterns and percussion are featured.

The intense, the mysterious and the subtle all pass by during the slow morphing ride, still carrying an organic, tribal edge. The final track "The Trials of Evolved Man" feels like a release with its contemporary rhythm accompanying the static drone textures.

To get the full scope and immerse in the primordial but always captivating realm of the evolving sonic narrative, make sure you listen attentively and use a pair of quality headphones.

- Bert Strolenberg, SonicImmersion.org

As the conclusion of the three-part “inspired evolution” soundscape series (the first two being Epoch and Emergence, from 2012 and 2013 respectively), Evolution offers a further refinement of what began as a mostly acoustic based concept into something far more electronic, with only some percussion and drums (and sampled loops thereof) remaining, representing the emergence of early humans on the planet, and eventually their domination and stewardship of it. Of course this is instrumental music, it can be anything the listener wants it to be, but these are the concepts composers Shane Morris and Thomas Park (a.k.a. Mystified) are attempting to convey. The five long pieces are based around ambient washes, mostly dark and amorphous, punctuated with hand drums, bells, gongs, mysterious sampled sounds, and repetitive pulsating electronics, forming a slow-drifting fabric that successfully fuses the spacious floating ambient idiom with elements of Berlin school and even techno. The pace of change throughout each piece is organic and varied, but calculated and deliberate in moving the ideas forward, creating a flowing environment where evolution (there’s that word again) can thrive and flourish. While the composers envisioned this as a soundtrack to an idea based on primitive man, one might also consider it on its musical face value only, being a guided journey through subconscious portals, going ever deeper as the program proceeds. Any way the listener wishes to receive it, this is definitely a soundworld worthy of investigation.

- Peter Thelen, Exposé Magazine


Evolving organic dronescapes.

Evolution is the final part of the Inspired Evolution series by Shane Morris and Mystified. In line with the title, the music has developed from the primordial Epoch where only natural sound sources were employed, via Emergence wherein electronica 'emerged' amongst acoustic material; now synthetic sound comes to the fore. The five tracks retain a similar minimal approach to that taken on the previous albums: mysterious drones, both deep and delicate pulsate with layered intensities; rhythmic flicks and rattles, percussive disturbances and bass throbs thread through the brightening terrains building into light beats in places. Warm swells, dramatic pads, metallic washes and synthesiser textures build and decay in gentle waves with an optimistic sense of progress. The final track The Trials of Evolved Man is perhaps the most contemporary in sound, twinkling faintly toward ambient downtempo before dissipating into lustrous, buoyant synth drones.


As with Epoch and Emergence, Evolution is a vivid digipack presentation of two panels. A blue lake surrounded by rocky hills, flat beneath a grey sky is the subject of the cover art; a perfect place for people. On the rear the ripples of the lake shore coruscate in close-up ripples flinging track titles off to the left side. Each track has the time listed on the rear cover and there brief credits and label details here too. Inside is another image of the front cover lake - here straddling both sections - striking blue water centremost. To the left is a two-paragraph explanation of the project; to the right, thanks and website details. The disc nicely tucks into the sleeve, free of plastic and without disturbing the inspiring visuals.


Follow-up to the 2013 Emergence and the 2012 Epoch, Spotted Peccary delivers the conclusion to this ambitious ambient narrative. Shane Morris and Mystified, having moved through the eras of the dinosaurs and early mammals now turn their attention to the arrival of mankind, symbolising this development through the increased use of electronic sound over the acoustic elements of the previous recordings. Promotional material reveals, "The music, sometimes rhythmic, opaque and mostly amorphous, is much like the swirling of the gene pool forming over a long period of time." The five tracks are all between ten and fourteen minutes in lengths - each one unhurried and subtle in development.

- Paul Jury, Morpheus Music Reviews

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