Paul Masvidal of Cynic fame is a somewhat strange and enduring icon. After suckering me in with the 1993 technical death metal album Focus, their discography quickly changed, thanks in no small part to the fact that the band's extreme trouble with maintaining cohesion meant that they released a grand total of three albums over the last 26 years (!). The personal growth of the remaining members over the literal decades between their first and latest albums meant that when I listened to the 2014 progressive rock album Kindly Bent to Free Us, I was blindsided.
Kindly Bent... is, I think, the first album that broke through to me about the nature of God. It's warm, uplifting, compassionate...and seriously philosophical. It is one of the inspirations for the way that I changed how I think about religion over the last few years. This album is why I was immediately intrigued when I heard that Cynic vocalist/guitarist Paul Masvidal was working on a side project with the explicit goal of producing therapeutic music.
Mythical Human Vessel is a trilogy of records written and performed by the songwriter and guitarist Paul Masvidal. They are the first independent solo releases on his label, Masvidalien Records, released May 31, 2019.
Best known for leading the influential progressive rock group Cynic, “MHV expresses another dimension to me entirely,” says Masvidal, “At first, I was reluctant to let others hear these songs cause it’s me at my most vulnerable, raw and naked, and frankly, now it’s the part of me I feel is most important to share.” Drawing on influences from musicians John Lennon, Brian Eno, Chet Baker, Russill Paul and Elliott Smith to visual artists, Mark Rothko, Ai Weiwei, Hilma af Klimt, and Cai Guo-Qiang, the songs embrace concise forms and catchy melodies in spite of their often painful subject matters of loss, depression, and heartache.
At the center of Masvidal’s experiment is the use of Isochronic tones, a 'brain-entrainment' technology. Isochronics are said to produce bio-chemical reactions in the body that increase serotonin, alleviate depression and stress, improve focus, and aid in restful sleep, similar to the effects of exposure to negative ions in nature.
Through its incorporation of Isochronic tones, Mythical Human Vessel is intended as “an inherently relaxing listening experience, and adding the tones multiplied the benefits,” Masvidal says. “More serotonin for all!"
Throughout all three volumes of Mythical Human Vessel, the sound of undulating and sweeping frequencies in slow and rapid succession act as a subliminal agent to affect the listener positively and help to create a deeper connection to the songs themselves.
Mythical Human Vessel was mixed and produced by Warren Riker. The Isochronic tones were designed by Dr. Stephane Pigeon, creator of the Brian Eno-celebrated website MyNoise.
Masvidal is currently working with experimental artists Greymar to develop Mythical Human Vessel into an immersive live experience using evocative imagery, storytelling and technology as part of an experiential journey into heart-opening and multi-dimensional landscapes.
For more info visit: mythicalhumanvessel.com
Mythical is hard for me to listen to. It's too personal to be comfortable with. The style is too foreign for me to criticize accurately. But I think that might be something that I need.
Check out "Parasite" at the nine minute mark. It's my favorite.