Mystery Hearsay - "Ear Gear"
(Harsh Reality 2000, HRC002)

From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)

Mystery Hearsay is a solo project by Tennessee based electronic musician Mike Honeycutt. The music ranges from multi-themed and fairly complex constructions to classic German-styled early 70's space electronica. The bulk of this lengthy disc are two 30 minute tracks plus a few shorter pieces.

The disc opens with "Another Whine On The Rhine". This 30 minute epic begins with chaotic electronics and percussion and strained synths lines that are dead ringers for guitar licks (or is it guitar?). The percussion style gives it a bit of a free-jazz feel and the guitar sounds create a dark spacey atmosphere which gets wildly intense. The music soon shifts into a machine-shop motif reminiscent of the Residents' Mark Of The Mole. Like the esteemed eyeballed ones, Honeycutt excels at creating image inducing electronic soundscapes that are anything but pretty or serene. The music is continually erupting with thunderous drones and a parade of pure electronic sound. Yet it's all very linear and the journey, however disturbing, has a sense of direction and develops very smoothly across its 30 length as we segue through multiple themes. There's also some really blazing industrial space electronica here that rocks out in its own wild way. Headphones are essential to grasping all that's happening here, though you'll have to keep the volume down lest your brain be fried.

"Decent Recent Percent" is the other 30 minute track. The music is an interesting combination of floating space electronica, minimalist patterns, and the same cold machine-like atmosphere heard on the opening track. Broken down into individual segments this track has some solid moments, though it doesn't evolve and flow like "Another Whine On The Rhine", and consequently lacks the "what's 'round the next bend" anticipation of each new transition. But I can still list a gazillion sci fi movies that this would make a great soundtrack for. And speaking of sci fi, "Beacons Home" and "The Reoccurence" are two shorter tunes that speak volumes as space journeys la early Tangerine Dream or electronic Ash Ra Tempel. The eerie synth lines have that wonderful early 70's sound and are accompanied by all manner of bubbling cosmic soundscapes. Juicy!!!

For more information you can visit the Mystery Hearsay web site.
You can also sample MANY sound files at the Mystery Hearsay web site.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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