Released on Mythical Records on November 30th, 2014.
Carolyn O’Neill is a Chicago native who grew up playing the clarinet and organ. After playing in her high school orchestra for four years she went on to receive her degree in Music Composition from Columbia College Chicago. Carolyn’s debut album, under her project name, Rasplyn – “Scenes Through the Magic Eye“ is due to be released on Mythical Records on November 30th, 2014.
It’s challenging to try and classify the work of Rasplyn, on this 7-track debut, as she comes up with something that escapes any previously conceived category tags: if you think of her as a dark ambient artist, you may be right for a few songs; but then she morphs into experimental and avant-garde tracks, and comes back playing typically neoclassical passages.
At that point you stop trying to find a tag for her music, and just take it at face value: as one of the greatest examples of what I personally call Atmospheric Music; or rather music that surrounds, then invades the space around your being, engulfing your senses, and inducing you into any given-mood predetermined by its composer.
Rasplyn’s “Scenes Through the Magic Eye” is a multi-dimensional, hypnotic, down-tempo assault on all of your senses. Most mainstream music genres aim their sounds towards capturing the attention of your head, heart or feet -either through appealing musical notes and/or ear-catching words. Rasplyn’s music moves on different wavelengths as she builds layer upon layer of intoxicating soundscapes that pierce your entire being.
A plethora of percussion, strings and mystical voices –but never words, which are far too circumstanced, therefore limiting, I presume – are used to rapture and transfix your senses, both aural and spiritual. To say that this is an essential recording is an understatement. It’s a spinal album, dark and moody, and one that needs to be discovered by all.
What would we do if there weren’t artists like Rasplyn making the effort to stretch barriers, and set musical goals that go way over and above the need to be on radio station playlists or popular music charts?
“Scenes Through the Magic Eye” is simply beautiful, and beautifully complex. You fall into the songs, get wrapped up in them. And while some composers use sparse instrumentation and slow rhythms to create a more sensitive environment, Rasplyn manages to create simplicity out of complex textures and subtle counterpoint, maintaining interest, and always giving the listener someplace to find solace. The entire album is a musical masterpiece, worth listening to a thousand times.
I didn’t name or mention any specific track and I purposefully will not! “Scenes Through the Magic Eye” is not a pop album; it is a storybook for your soul, as each musical passage unfolds into the next igniting textures which might sound smooth and seamless, but beneath the surface evoke Carolyn O’Neill’s innermost experiences and emotions.
Right at the end of my review, I discovered that Carolyn O’Neill, over and above her musical prowess, has experience as a Clairvoyant Reader and Energy Healer. Which for me was a significant discovery and put the whole, “Scenes Through the Magic Eye” project, into perfect perspective.
Now I understood why this stunning piece of work contains an amazing amount of mystical, emotional inspiration that sneaks into your soul and grabs you!