Winsted in the Space Room
This is independent music at it's best - free, unfettered, willing to go anywhere and do anything. On the latest Mystics Anonymous CD, Jeff Steblea continues his predilection for exploring different musical styles. Just as he explored a loose, rootsy sound on the debut CD, Winsted in the Space Room finds him focusing on lo-fi studio experimentation and tighter song structures. While the debut CD featured the virtuoso and improvisational talents of Jeff's guest musicians, Winsted instead concentrates on the compositions themselves. Creating this CD mostly alone in his Gondwanaland studio, Steblea turns in an edgy, unique performance steeped in indie aesthetic. Winsted in the Space Room also showcases the eclectic nature of Mystics Anonymous music, as it mixes spoken word, piano, Beatles-esque pop, electronica, hard rock, and funky faux lounge and jazz-inflected grooves. Reviewers have compared the music on this album to artists such as Yo La Tengo, Wilco, Guided by Voices, and Robyn Hitchcock. Steblea released the first Mystics Anonymous CD, focusing on a rootsy alternative sound, in October of 1998. Two more CDs followed: a limited edition mail-order CD called The Brutality of Beauty, and Middle Distance, an instrumental score for the 2003 art exhibition Of the Earth, which blended sound manipulation, drumming/percussion, and groove rhythms to evoke the vast American southwestern landscape. Mystics Anonymous music has garnered college, public, and commercial radio airplay in the United States and abroad. With each new release, the project has earned a reputation for it's fierce independence and adventurous eclecticism. 'With Mystics,' says Steblea, 'the whole point was to establish a project where nothing is off-limits.' Although Mystics has an eclectic nature, Steblea's distinctive voice and songwriting skill are the glue that holds Mystics together and keeps it's sound unique.