Music Review: The Akashic Mysteries

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The Akashic Mysteries
The Akashic Mysteries

The Akashic Mysteries were musical guests at ConCarolinas this year. Unfortunately, I missed their concert but they gave me a copy of their self-titled album which, of course, sat in my car for a couple of months (music needs to be properly aged) before I got around to listening to it.

The Akashic Mysteries are a trio based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. The group consists of R. G. Hubbard II on bass and keyboards; Tony Karnowski on drums; and Sean O’Connell on electric and acoustic mandolin, saxophone, harmonica and melodica.

The group descibes themselves as “experimental jazz fusion” but there’s a lot more going on here than those three words would suggest. Jazz fusion makes me think more of artists like Stanley Clarke or Chick Corea, whereas Akashic Mysteries seem to have as much in common with Rush as they do with Miles Davis. Meaning, they can rock just as hard as they can groove.

Their music (all instrumentals) and song titles both suggest a strong Lovecraftian influence that’s felt throughout the album. The opening and closing tracks, “Sphere I” and “Sphere II,” are upbeat, swirling, almost danceable rock tracks that would not sound out of place on any classic prog rock album and serve to bookend the more experimental (sometimes eerie) tracks that make up the rest of the album. “At the Top of the Stairs” uses an atonal jazz piano, backed by the sound of a rolling movie projector and occassional drums, to create just over two minutes of dark horror-movie feel before breaking into a Brian Wilson, Pet Sounds-type of centerpiece and then descending back into the gloom before ending. The rest of the album is equally amazing in its blending of styles and moods—from the goth rock beat of “Incantation for Shades” to the Italian-flavored mandolin of “Omerta,” The Akashic Mysteries is an album that is hard to get bored with.

I definitely recommend you look this one up. They’re not currently available on iTunes but they do have both MySpace and Facebook pages.