Restored 01 May 2017, originally published 18 October 2014
Whether you’re in front of the computer screen or the steering wheel, getting into bed or leaving it, going out or staying in, it’s nice to have a soundtrack. It’s even nicer with an album that can be played in any of these situation. Mystic Crock’s Nomad is such an album. Bass- and pad-driven downtempo with minimalistic melodies, psychedelic bleeps and bloops, and natural samples. That’s what you can expect. Even if you aren’t able to pay close attention, the pronounced bass and pads, serve as good background sound. Their steady and smooth nature drown out unwanted noise without drawing too much attention to themselves. If you’d like to get a little more out of the experience, you can always dim the lights and put on your headphones. The keen listener is well-rewarded with new sounds and experiences at every depth.
Let’s start with the album opener “Deep Atmospheres”. To begin, a non-intrusive, mid-level pad intones for about half a minute. It’s actually a great sound to use as a wake-up alarm as it eases you into consciousness without the jarring terror of a default alarm. If you’re worried you’d sleep through it, the heavy bass pad takes over for a while, making this track less about getting ready for the day and more about getting into it. Subtler sounds appear as we go, like creatures of the night slithering, skulking, soaring, and sparkling. With every passing minute, Mr. Crock presents something new: background clapping, spacey electronics, a grinding guitar, chanting monks. Each element builds on its predecessor, filling out the sonic space and giving the listener a full mind-body experience. If (when) you get carried away with it, “Deep Atmospheres” will bring you down softly at the end.
“Awakening” is one of the more energetic tracks. Like an engine coming to life, the track begins with what sounds like a slow piston cranking. High and low pads join in to increase the tempo. Before the machine starts to move, we hear a sample echoing “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…” essentially commanding your head to bounce with the track. When you’re up and dancing with it, a melodic synth comes along and drives this track around your brain and into outer space (or inner space, as the case may be). You can move with it if you want, but it’s just as enjoyable sitting back and bobbing your head.
The artist’s sense of balance and progression is spot-on. No individual element goes so long that it feels stale, and those elements central to each track are always complemented well. He has a keen ability to turn up the energy without losing the downtempo vibe, as exemplified by “Awakening”, but excels at producing chilled, ambient vibes. With an average track length of more than 8 minutes, this 9-track album provides plenty of easy-riding tunes for whatever you’re trying to do.
Mystic Crock – “Deep Atmospheres”
Mystic Crock – “Awakening”
Nomad download page on Jamendo