Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mystical Sun Interview

Click the title to download a Mystical Sun podcast for Ambient : Emissions of Sonic Beauty.

Mystical Sun is an aloof ambient project from California in the United States. His releases utilize both organic and synthetic elements as well as using custom built instruments to create an ethereal exploration into sound.

Q: How significant is heliolatry in choosing the name Mystical Sun and how does this reflect the music that you’re producing?

It plays a part on multiple levels. There are several layers of meaning in the name. In studying and reading about other cultures, particularly ancient ones, the Sun has always been central. You can find winged sun discs all the way from Egypt to pre-Columbian Americas. The physical Sun is something phenomenal. There would be no us without Sun, this is all possible because of it. The name is and homage to that as well.

Another meaning for the name is more akin to the spirit of the Sun as a being, entity or life-form. Somehow our brains are networked to the Sun and in the future I think we will discover that the magnetic fields produced by the Sun have effects on human consciousness.

Hopefully the music functions like the Sun and brings people some electromagnetic nourishment.

Q: When did you first start creating music and when did you find yourself drawn towards the ambient genre?

A: Creating music is something I've seriously explored since the early 90's when the project was intentionally formed to create this type of sound.

The mission began before I was aware of the genre. It began when electronic music was more underground and less infected by pop music culture. Creating cinematic soundtracks, atmospheric worlds, and dissolving time is the mission.

Q: For people visiting California are there any festivals or clubs you would recommend?

California has festivals and clubs of all kinds and many active scenes. There is the annual Earthdance Festival and several others that happen at various times around the year. Northern and Southern California are very different and sport alternative scenes. If someone is visiting California they'll have plenty of options. I tend remain peripheral to all this activity.

The best part about California though is the land itself. California has amazing terrains to explore like a multitude of beaches, deep ocean coastlines, high deserts, sand dunes, the lowest place in the northern hemisphere, alpine lakes, rolling grasslands with dotted oaks, ancient boreal rain forests, the oldest and biggest living life-forms on Earth, lava beds, several mountain ranges, inland seas, a 14,000 ft. volcano and sister volcanoes of immense power, a mega volcano and forest river systems. To fully explore all the terrains in California would take someone several decades.

Q: When creating music what do you prefer using most hardware, software or organic instruments?

All three. My criteria is the sound first, the source of the sound isn't as important as to whether or not the sound is what the track needs. I have several acoustic, ethnic and electronic instruments and a vast sound library that I have been building up since the 90's. I mix everything "in the box" now, in the past I had an elaborate mixer/effects rig analog tape based studio. I prefer to work digitally now because it allows for maximum flexibility and the option to evolve tracks over years with no sound degradation. When I work on a track, I hear the instruments and sounds in it, before they are actually added, so my task is to find the closest sound to what I am hearing in my mind.

Q: Where can people unfamiliar with Mystical Sun hear your music?

On the internet. This music difficult to find so the best way to find it is online. The internet really helped early on, because it enabled the music to reach the distant sets of listeners who are looking for something different.

The best and prescribed way to listen to the albums is on CD or in lossless format digitally. There are settings that work best. Like a sunset ride, drive some place cool during a sunset and start the CD. Space exploring, wait until late at night, wear a full set of headphones and listen. In the background, just put the music on all day long and ignore it. I've designed utility in there intentionally.

I'd like to get across to new listeners that the music is non-linear and moves through time in a different way than other music. A different way of listening opens many doors to understanding the tracks. The tracks are growers meaning, they make more sense over time.

Q: Apart from Mystical Sun are there any other projects you’re involved in?

Not right now, Mystical Sun is all I have time for.
With the longest solar eclipse due in 2009 there are various festivals running this theme. For those with a deeper interest there is this DVD from the Exploratorium & NASA. The soundtrack is by Mystical Sun

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