Composer creates effective, mysterious vibes on instrumental album ‘The 13 Crystal Skulls’
Whether you’re reading a Sue Grafton novel or watching Robert Stack narrate a classic episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” you’re likely consuming these types of media because you like to feel on edge without actually being put in danger.
On his new instrumental album, The 13 Crystal Skulls, Bay Area composer Chris Wirsig translates that feeling through sound, one of the strongest forms of evoking emotions.
Each of the tracks on the album paint slightly different shades on the same musical canvas. He creates this sense of mystery, suspense and fear with a large variety of instruments. Whether it’s a piercing electric guitar, haunting synthesizers or pulsating keyboard riffs, Wirsig understands how to make you feel enjoyably uncomfortable.
He also strikes a tone befitting of the myths surrounding the historic 13 Crystal Skulls. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s believed that the Mayans or Aztecs created these skulls and were scattered across the world. They became part of various rituals or ceremonies and some believe they contain knowledge about the history of the human species.
Listening to this album, you can’t help but imagine yourself standing in a dark, candle-lit hall while men in cloaks uncover a skull and start chanting something in a language you don’t understand. The fact that this music alone can create such a strong visual within me makes me realize how well-done this album truly is.
It’s also impressive how Wirsig can differentiate these tracks enough so they sound unique but don’t stray too far from the overarching tone the whole album is going for. In that regard, you can tell a lot of work and thought went into these songs and every note feels like it has a purpose of some sort, even if you can’t quite understand what it is upon first listen. The more you hear it, though, the more that purpose comes to light.
Wirsig is a classically training pianist and saxophonist. He studied audio engineering at Munich’s SAE Technology College and has more than 15 years experience in music production. He has been writing songs since 1991 and contributed music for computer demos and commercial games throughout the 1990s.
The next time you’re looking for some mood music to either listen to in the background or simply to put yourself in a certain frame of mind, give The 13 Crystal Skulls a listen. Plus, it’s way better than watching that horrible Indiana Jones movie inspired by the same thing.