Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead visited Ballard’s Tractor Tavern in December with the Mickey Hart Band and recently released his new album, Mysterium Tremendum (360° Productions) on April 10, 2012. The album consists of an epic, strange collaboration of sounds from the universe, so alienated and odd that one might feel they are experiencing a completely new world.
Strange, jungle-like rhythms excite and arouse the soul to new meaning. Hart’s new album transforms music and infuses it with sounds selected from the universe. The marriage of vibrations and tones leaves one reflective and empowered.
“I have always thought of life, the world at large, as music,” said Hart in a press release. “This work is a representation of that notion. I have combined sonic images of the formation of our universe with sounds drawn from musical instruments. It’s all about the vibrations that make up the infinite universe. In this case, they began as light waves and these light waves are still washing over us. Scientists at Penn State, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and Meyer Sound have transformed these light waves into sound waves. These musical excursions transport me to wonderful and strange new places filled with rhythms for a new day. The combination of music from the whole earth and the sounds of the planets, the stars, the events that formed our universe is intoxicating and points toward an awareness of what music is, could be, and where it comes from.”
Hart visited other worlds and brought to his album the sounds, voices, and experiences – some of which are so apart from this world, they could only be described as ‘mysterious’.
Songs like “Heartbeat of the Sun” produce thick reverberations, almost a chant-like structure framed with steady drums, whereas “Djinn Djinn” literally revs up to brushes and untamed vocals that sing of different lands, the environment and how man is involved with it. This song is very connected to nature in its lyrics: “The whole world dances and the desert cries.” The song brings to life the sun and the earth and references the ancients who probably sang praises of the earth in the same way “Djinn Djinn” does.
Tony Award winning female vocals, Crystal Monee Hall is featured on “Starlight Starbright”. She sings to the universe about her bold wish to make: “No selfish wish have I to make, shine on shine on for your own sake.”
The Mickey Hart Band also includes Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Grammy winning percussionist and longtime band mate Sikiru Adepoju, singer Tim Hockenberry, drummer Ian “Inx” Herman, guitarist Gawain Matthews, and Ben Yonas, keyboardist and producer on this album.
Each song draws out different emotions and fragments of the world. Longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter, joined Hart in the creation of this piece of art. Hart said in a press release of Hunter, “He is indispensable to the weave of this story. The way he writes, the imagery and mythology, are perfect for this project. Nobody writes like Robert Hunter.”
The album is a positive mix of extraterrestrial sounds, world experiences, and deep, rhythmic vibrations and will be released by Hart’s 360° Productions. Co-producers, Hart and Yonas recorded the album at Hart’s Studio X in Sonoma County, CA. Steve Kimock, Reed Mathis, Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hidalgo appear as special guests on certain tracks.