Cleveland released his first commercial album on Larry "Synergy" Fast's legendary Audion Recording Company label in 1986. Mythos combined layers of guitar with Bob Stohl and Kat Epple's woodwinds, synthesizers, and light percussion; and Michael Masley's otherworldly bowhammer cymbalom. The CD received glowing reviews in Option, Jazziz, the Stereo Review Compact Disc Buyer's Guide, and numerous other publications. This edition of Mythos presents the entire album for the first time since the original release—and the 2012 remastering using modern tools brings new vibrancy and clarity to what was already an outstanding recording.
"The title cut on Mythos (which runs 20 minutes and takes up the entire second side of the LP and cassette releases) was the culmination of a way of creating music I’d been working on since I was in my teens, and it remains one of my favorite pieces. The basic idea is to record lots of improvised tracks—more than you can possibly use—and find the combinations that work at various points. It is a very labor-intensive way of working, as you have to compare all of the tracks in every combination, but the results can be compelling. In the case of “Mythos,” since the piece runs so long, and we didn’t have automation at the time, I would sometimes get almost to the end of the mix and then make a mistake, necessitating having to start all over again.
At the time “Mythos” was recorded I had only recently met Michael Masley, and he and I improvised the basic tracks one afternoon at Spark. I played guitar using a violin bow, an Ebow, and various other devices—all running through two Revox A77 tape recorders configured for looping (a la Fripp and Eno)—and Michael played bowhammer cymbalom and a small xylophone. After the first pass, I wanted to get a deeper sound so I slowed the tape down, transposing everything down a few steps and creating some huge guitar and cymbalom sounds. The remaining tracks were recorded using the slower speed as the base, providing a nice blend of timbres. We added additional guitar and cymbalom tracks, and later Bob Stohl and Kat Epple added several types of flutes, Lyricon (a woodwind synth), and a variety of bells, cymbals, and other light percussion.
The other pieces on Mythos were more composed and arranged, though some of the solos were improvised. It is somewhat ironic that Mythos was released on an “electronic music” label, as there are no synthesizers on about half of it." —Barry Cleveland, excerpted from a 2004 interview with Anil Prasad, Innerviews.org
Read the entire interview here: http://www.innerviews.org/inner/cleveland.html
"We were inundated with material during the early days of the Audion label and a few of the submissions stuck out as being a cut above the rest and Barry’s was certainly one of them,” said Fast, a pioneering musician that helped shape the evolution of synthesizers in modern music. “What he was writing wasn’t the same kind of repetitive, formulaic thing that a lot of the electronic acts were submitting as demos. Barry’s music was creative and unpredictable. He offered a storyline and it was one that was significantly better than your average mystery novel in which you can figure it out by page three. With Barry’s writing, you couldn’t necessarily determine where it would go next, but it always went somewhere interesting without being jarring. Barry’s music also had a wonderful soundstage and soundscape. There was a certain clarity to it. It was clear he knew what he was doing with his writing and recording. It made for a very nice package. He’s a very talented guy.” —Larry "Synergy" Fast (Peter Gabriel)
Chosen as one of The 25 Best New Age Compact Discs
(Alongside such other “new age” albums as Dark Side of the Moon, Autobahn, Dig It, and Thursday Afternoon.)
—Stereo Review 1987 Compact Disc Buyer’s Guide
“The five hypnotic songs on Mythos engender a dreamy tranquility, yet remain interesting enough to hold your attention. Obscure ethnic instruments ground the guitar/synthesizer songs with an ancient earthiness.”
“Features free-floating contexts that are strong without being overbearing and beautiful without being cloying. The drones, spiraling arabesques, and eerie, electronic colorings in Mythos leave plenty of room for listeners to transcend themselves.” —Jazziz
“Unlike many electronic/space music recordings, the focal instruments here are guitars, not synthesizers. Cleveland gets a remarkable variety of sounds out of them, too. He avoids the extremes of ambient innocuousness as well as anarchic harshness, and leaves one looking forward to his next work.” —Option
“Cleveland himself does everything but play the guitar straight; he uses Ebow, violin bows, Thumbo, and the cymbalom’s Bowhammer to elicit long droning chords from his instrument. Side two is a 19-minute Frippertronics loop, with flutes, bells, and cymbalom floating in and out. Very empyrean. —Electronic Musician