Mortal Prophets – ‘HANUSSEN: The Enigmatic Clairvoyant’


Emphasizing the role of one’s body within the human experience, HANUSSEN: The Enigmatic Clairvoyant is a riveting new album from Mortal Prophets, the NYC-based project of John Beckmann. Impressing with various albums over the past year — including GUITARWORKS and the Sleeping In My Bed EP — Mortal Prophets continue to showcase an inventively atmospheric take alongside moving thematic pursuits.

HANUSSEN: The Enigmatic Clairvoyant is considered an opera, specifically in the context of the Italian meaning: “a work, labor, composition.” The album explores especially “the nuance of labor,” within, with the album title deriving from Vienna-born Jewish mystic Erik Jan Hanussen. Thematically, the release explores the illusory nature of clairvoyance amidst the haunting echoes of history.

The prologue opens with a twinkling intrigue, engrossing with ominous mystery into a delicate piano-forward melody. A chilly atmospheric hold is evident here, and that knack for soundscape persists throughout the album. “HANUSSEN: An Opera (Act I)” follows with a glimmering entrancement, touting an ethereal radiance in its illuminated synth enveloping. The second act continues with a more ominous force, emphasizing spaciousness as a bass-y murmur expands into flashes of electronic atmospherics. The opening tracks to the album quickly showcase a dynamic atmospheric captivation.

The highlights continue from there; droning guitars concoct a hypnotic allure on “Act V,” while “Act VII” is fit for meditation with its chiming calmness and reflective ambience. The epilogue melds various components — from elegant strings to sweeping strings and twinkling electronics — into a final showcase of Mortal Prophets’ balancing of melodic enticement with riveting atmospheric constructions.

“HANUSSEN: An Opera (Act V)” and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Emerging Singles’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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