MYSTIC MACHINE_Up_COVER.jpg
MYSTIC MACHINE
Up
(2021 - self release - USA)

https://mysticmachine.hearnow.com/
World Access to buy
https://mysticmachine.bandcamp.com/album/up

Eleven compositions spreading the inventive and excellent skills of John Hohnstein, who has been the"Everyman" of Mystic Machine for many years now, that give the listener reminders of variety such as Tangerine Dream, Allan Holdsworth, Pink Floyd, David Arkenstone, Jordan Rudess, and too many other influences to even try to list. Both his technical and performance talents lay down a rock solid framework for each track. His great taste makes the difference of every moment. The combination of a soft, lush, flowing, and often powerful accentuations, are all part of the formula you will come to know, unless you have been a fan all along. Consistency would be a key description of Hohnstein.

It should be recognized that he first song on the album, 'Banshee Brother; is a tribute to Hohnstein's first working rock n roll band, Banshee (1971). In his own words "for all they taught me… and of which I am the last surviving member". This artists and kind (and very humble might I add) human was born and raised in Denver, moved out to San Francisco with a band in the mid 1970s, broke up and returned to Colorado a couple years later. Eventually moved to the mountains above Evergreen Colorado before moving to WA in 2014. He lives in serene settings and thus his more reflective and calm mental state of mind. Most are envious in this time where each day is a trial of fire.  

So what does the artist say about the title of the album? (John Hohnstein quote as I spoke to him) “Up” to me means a higher energy vibe in contrast. Showing another side…kind of a yin/yang perspective. Also for the cover I used the silhouette image of an ancient Native American portable rock art artifact I found many years ago in Colorado, an effigy of a man looking up. Seemed to fit the concept well…" So with four CDs (recordings under the brand "Mystic Machine" , the flow continues as a river that has not run dry. If you have not heard of this man, the reason is more likely his gentle spirit, lack of ego, and void of trying to be number one. In short, he is one of the nicest humans you will ever know, if you are lucky enough to take the time to touch base. I am certain he would rather the world just take in his music and appreciate what he gives.

All instrumental for the most part (a few sample words are used just when needed but rare), the music keeps strong with imagery,  and when John writes something gorgeous, (example 'Last Breath; - track #8) it takes you off into a warm deep place. Although I have known him for some years and know his vast capabilities, I recommend Mystic Machine to all keyboard lovers, who also love an artist who can add in superb guitar,winds, strings, and effects, not to mention programmed percussion that fits so well. The cosmic works of Christian Boule and Steve Hillage should not be left out as for the axe simulations, as well as aforementioned supreme being of Holdsworth. In fact my nose for details served me well on this as the lead guitar stuff John uses a Jordan Rudess App called GeoShred. Did I state that Mr. Hohnstein.knows his way around getting abundant resources out of his keyboards/software?  

  ©Reviewed by Lee Henderson  3 - 10 - 2022