Mystics Anonymous is the recording project of Jeff Steblea. Formed in 1995 Jeff’s focus was artistic freedom. He released “Mystics Anonymous” in 1998. However, a solid line up never materialized so with a little creative thought a light bulb went off and Mystics Anonymous became a recording project as did building his own studio. It was during this time that Jeff was asked to contribute some original scores for some independent tv/film projects. The “Brutality of Beauty” was released in summer 2003 as a limited mail order featuring 7 new songs. He also composed “Middle Distance” for the “Of the Earth” art exhibit at the Artworks Gallery in Connecticut. That score was released in 2003 and comparisons of his work were made to Brian Eno and David Lynch. Mystics Anonymous was quite active during this time, recording and releasing “Winsted in the Space Room” also in 2004. It featured 14 new songs that leaned towards the more experimental side of Jeff without alienating the listener.
That brings us to present day and Mystics Anonymous’ latest release “Dreaming for Hours” which came out January 2014. I’ve been listening to this thoroughly over the course of the last few weeks delving into the composition, style, the nuances of the vocals. The first sounds of “Sinner’s Lament” are that of a drum machine spewing a tribal beat that compels you to listen. Slowly the other instruments/sounds are layered on top of it adding fullness and further drawing you into what’s next. Imagine smoke tendrils as fingers curling in a “come hither” motion. And you do.
In “Wells had it Right” the lyrics are poignant, reflective and present that leads you into “False Voices” which is an instrumental piece. This experimental instrumental has all the ebb and flow of a tide. A little more than halfway in and you may notice some R2D2 sounds and a vocal sample as it seamlessly transitions into a tribal themed beat again, reminiscent of Meat Beat Manifesto. The allterna-pop pace picks up again with “Knife Thrower” The lyrical sarcasm/irony is smart and well done. For some reason “Days” really sticks with me. Maybe it is because it reminds me of early World Party (All Come True) even be the way the backing vocal comes in and hi-lights the lyric that reminds me of the time I first heard Sinead O’Connor backing Karl Wallinger and World Party on Hawaiian Island World.
“Made of the Time” has a heavier sound to the vocal and overall mood of the song. It reminds me of Low Pop Suicide / Joy Division and how they tended to be a bit darker without being completely dark.
The next few songs “Dreaming Interlude”, “Theme from Night Sweats”, “The Fifth Business”, and “Hours Epilogue” are the more experimental songs on the album. They contain more of an electronic feel and they are a welcome addition. It mixes up the alterna feel of the album and takes it into yet another musical realm. There is no easy classification of this release and I like that. It has appeal to many in that sense.
Jeff states: “the whole point was to establish a project where nothing is off-limits”. Well Jeff, mission accomplished.
Check out Mystics Anonymous on their website here:http://mysticsanonymous.com/ or like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mystics-Anonymous/326367507376859?ref=ts&fref=ts
Listen and download their stuff here :http://mysticsanonymous.bandcamp.com/