The Road to Sound is thrilled to present a video premiere of percussionist and composer Joshua Van Tassel’s “Muttering Spells,” a single from his upcoming release, Dance Music Volume II: More Songs for Slow Motion.
“Muttering Spells” is gradual and mesmerizing, leaning into the idea of sound in slow motion. To make the haunting, textural music, Van Tassel uses an Ondea synthesizer — a recreation of the early electronic instrument, the Ondes Martenot. The Ondes Martenot is known for its eerie, high-pitched sound which can be heard in Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony and science fiction films alike. Van Tassel’s Ondea is reminiscent of those influences; its frequency drives the sense of contemplation and uncertainty that underlies the music. Its whistles blend with a lush string quartet, immersing you in a dramatic and cinematic atmosphere. The accompanying video, filmed with a slightly stunted, stop motion action, accentuates the gradual push and pull of Van Tassel’s music.
Of the video and piece, Van Tassel says:
“’Muttering Spells’ is about attempting to do something seemingly impossible, dangerous, and that you can’t do alone. You ask for help in the wrong place and in the wrong way, and then are faced with something that comes to help you which is more impossible and dangerous than the situation itself. You persist, and your original intention is warped and changed to the will of the other.”
Dance Music Volume II: More Songs for Slow Motion is out on September 11 on Backward Music. It is available for preorder on Bandcamp.