Friday, 13 June 2014
The Mystic Moods Orchestra's Awakening from 1973
The Mystic Moods Orchestra, created by audiophile Brad Miller, mixed orchestral pop, environmental sounds, and pioneering recording techniques becoming one of the choice audio aphrodisiacs of the 60's and 70's. The first Mystic Moods Orchestra album "One Stormy Night", became Philips' most popular release in 1965. Throughout the rest of the 60's and 70's, they continued releasing similar styled recordings and their recordings continued to be reissued throughout the 80's and 90's.
I am not sure of the choice of the word "aphrodisiacs" in the above paragraph, though the next release was beautifully entitled "Erogenous"-- a word which for a man is an aphrodisiac in itself probably.
Wikipedia has more on this very interesting man, who without a doubt, probably sported very bushy chest hair and a shirt unbuttoned to his navel:
"Brad Miller was born in Burbank, California, and had developed an interest in railroading in his teens. After a few years of hanging around rail yards and learning all the lore of steam and diesel engines, he decided to record the sounds of some of the last steam locomotives operating on a major rail line. Eventually, around 1958, he and his friend, Jim Connella, formed a company called Mobile Fidelity Records and started cutting records from these field recordings, which they released through railroading magazines and model train shows. Sound effects recording was quite the rage at the dawn of stereo, and one of these albums of train sounds was even reviewed favorably in High Fidelity magazine. A few years later, Ernie McDaniel of San Francisco radio station KFOG decided to put one of Miller's albums, "Steam Railroading Under Thundering Skies," and an easy listening album, on separate turntables and broadcast them together. His late-night stunt produced a barrage of listener phone calls (most of which were positive), much to his surprise. He later related the episode to Miller, who was inspired by the idea.
While working with arranger Don Ralke, Miller recorded a series of tunes, most of them Ralke originals, played by a string-laden orchestra, then mixed in a variety of environmental sounds he had collected. He took several months fine-tuning the blend, then cut a deal with Philips to release it under the title of One Stormy Night, credited to the Mystic Moods Orchestra.
With the help of producer Leo Kulka, Miller quickly developed a series of One Stormy Night clones: Nighttide, More Than Music, Mexican Trip, Mystic Moods of Love. Don Ralke wrote most of the material and did all the arrangements for the first few albums. John Tartalgia did a few more, then Larry Fotine became the primary arranger when Miller and Kulka moved to the Warner Bros. label. The musical content shifted to mellow covers of current hits ("Love the One You're With"), and Warners modified the packaging of the albums to make sure there was no mystery that these were records to serve as the preamble or accompaniment to getting it on. Erogenous came with an inner sleeve that, when pulled out, showed a nude couple in soft focus.
In 1974, Miller founded his own label, called Sound Bird Records, and reissued many of the Mystic Moods Orchestra albums, as well as albums of environmental sounds without music and more train recordings."
And check out their huge discography to get an idea of just how popular this stuff was back in the day.
Today we will find it a bit debatable whether or not this music can be the prelude to love. Were the humans of the seventies different than the human beings currently alive on the planet?
I think Larry Flynt would have agreed.
With the hokey introductions this album reminds me a lot of the old classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a hugely popular book that was made into an incomprehensible movie about a seagull that flies the world to achieve enlightenment (and it probably is at least partly indebted to it, considering it came a year or so later). I really loved it back in the day when we'd watch it stoned. At that time it just seemed so profound, rather than simply laughable as would be the experience watching it today. The music written by Neil Diamond also became omnipresent forty years ago, for difficult to understand reasons. Compared to the movie, the book is quite trite and banal without a doubt-- you can amuse yourself for quite a few minutes reading the synopsis of the story on the above link. What was interesting about the movie, particularly back then in the seventies, was without a doubt the sheer bizarreness of the endless shots of a talking seagull discussing self-improvement and encountering odd angel-like seagulls. It's a classic.
Here's the first track, "I Am, It Is" (notice the resemblance to Neil Diamond's hit 'I am I said')