Brad Miller, Founder of The Mystic Moods Orchestra
Good Monday morning FMF people. I have a few shout outs to start off the week. Big shout out to the Budos Band for putting on a great show at SOB’s on Thursday night. It was fun DJing all 45’s before the show and with Tommy from the Budos afterwards. It was great to see all of you out, and thanks again to the staff at SOB’s and Marc for hooking the gig up. Here is the biggest shout out: To the NY Red Bulls, good on ya! Way to be the wild card and make your way to the MLS Cup game vs. Columbus. I’ll be cheering you on in Carson, CA on Sunday, but be in LA on Saturday. Details to follow for a possible Sat. night soiree, so stay tuned here. Enough of the schmoozing, let’s get into a an unlikely band who put out a really funky record. Here’s The Mystic Moods with “Cosmic Sea” on WB from 1973.
Brad Miller, the creator of Mystic Moods Orchestra, was an audiophile who made it a point to record many sounds just as they were in real life. During the 1950’s he was dedicated to recording the sounds of the railroads (particularly steam engines) and created the Mobile Fidelity Label. In fact, my father had one of these records, that I remember the whole family listening to when I was a kid. These recordings were appreciated and well received in that particular genre or field. I mean they were captured just as they were heard, and who wouldn’t want to hear what a steam engine sounded like over their stereo? Unfortunately, MMO didn’t really get their shine until some pulled a joke at a radio station, mixing the MMO record with a random record of easy listening songs. This joke gave Miller the idea and inspiration to collaborate with Don Ralke on the first MMO album in 1965 called One Stormy Night. Now, let’s just say the psychedelic noises, spoken word mixed in with rain and thunder sounds, poetry, and other sound scapes were probably popular with not only the drug culture, but with normal every day folk as well. Released on Phillips, it was one of the most popular releases of the year. Miller would hook up with another producer, Leo Kulka, and release other records such as More Than Music, Nighttide, and Mystic Moods of Love. These records would enjoy the same type of success. A switch was eventually made to Warner Brothers, where MMO would cover pop tunes and instrumentals, and other tales of seduction. Miller released MMO records, as well as his high fidelity sound scape records as well. Unfortunately, the demand for those recordings (and his Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab) went South as vinyl transitioned it’s way to compact discs.
“Cosmic Sea” is an unlikely piece of heavy Funk. This synthesizer opening moves slowly into some heavy drums and breaks into an all out rock and roll string funk-a-thon. Some of you may recognize this side from Shadow and Chemist’s use in Brainfreeze briefly. It’s another great example of how funky stuff can sometimes be found in the most unlikely places. I’ll be back Wednesday with some more treats. Keep Diggin’!