Published Jun 24, 2011Mist, the Cleveland, OH-based duo of Sam Goldberg and John Elliott, has so far only been a footnote in the musical careers of both members. Goldberg is probably best known for his solo material under his own name and his Radio People alias, as well as running the Pizza Night tape label, which has been crucial in gaining exposure to many experimental artists in America's Midwest. Elliott, on the other hand, currently dishes out solo material as Outer Space and Imaginary Softwoods, and best known as one-third of the much-lauded Emeralds.
But things should change for the duo while Emeralds take a brief hiatus this summer and Mist get their first wide release with the double LP House, recently issued by the Elliott-curated Spectrum Spools, a new subsidiary label of Editions Mego.
Speaking of the duo's most recent effort, Goldberg tells Exclaim!, "Mist is a really young project, and House is only our second official record. The Glowing Net EP [reissued in 2010 by Amethyst Sunset] was just a tape that got reissued on vinyl. We've only performed 11 or 12 times, and the first short tour we did wasn't very concise. The shows we've played more recently have been more representative of our output as we actually perform songs from House, which has been a great deal of fun and the audience has responded extremely well."
Even though Mist have seemingly remained on the back burner for both musicians while they focus attention on other projects, they've grown more comfortable together and allowed songs to come together over increasingly lengthier spans. While earlier releases tended toward shorter, more succinct pieces, House sees the duo concocting works that slowly unfurl over an entire side of an LP.
"I feel like in the past it was more about seeing what we could sound like and using technical ideas," Goldberg says. "Now it's more about invoking a richer piece of music with the tools that we have."
Inspiration for House has come from several different outlets, particularly Michael Hoenig's (founding member of Krautrock legends Tangerine Dream and Agitation Free) overlooked 1977 cult LP, Departure from the Northern Wasteland. Drawing from the past as much as the present, Mist were also spurred by a recent cassette from New York trio Forma, which was just reissued on LP by Spectrum Spools.
"We jammed the Forma record a lot," Goldberg says. "The upbeat synth bop of that definitely got us amped."
Indeed, one only needs to hear album opener "Twin Lanes" off of House to hear this newfound "synth bop" emanating from the duo.
While "Twin Lanes" is the most infectious track off House, much of the two-LP set has a cinematic quality to it, at times coming off like the soundtrack to a fictitious '80s sci-fi film, though Goldberg admits that's not their intention.
"We actually have no real control over this. We don't really try to sound cinematic, but the emotive chords that John and I tend to lean towards always invoke that nostalgic feeling, or that feeling of leaping into an unknown future that is such a common thread in the moods and plots of popular film."
Even as Goldberg downplays this quality of Mist, it appears as if others have caught on to the soundtrack-like nature of Mist, as they've recently been asked to score a film for a friend of theirs.
With their first full, proper tour coming later in the year and a possible follow-up to House, 2011 promises to be a productive year for Mist. In the meantime Goldberg will also be busy with his Radio People project, which has an LP to be released later this summer via Mexican Summer.