The Mystic: Garek Jon Druss

Photo by Megumi Shauna Arai


Back in November, the European Space Agency released a recording made by Rosetta, the interstellar probe hurtling through the solar system alongside Comet 67P some 300 million miles from earth. The comet’s “song,” created by shifts in its magnetic field, sounded like high-speed electronic sputtering that tapered in and out of a breezy whoosh.

“When I heard that recording,” Garek Druss says, “I was talking with someone and I was like, that’s it! That’s the celestial din! But,” he laughs, “don’t quote your own record.”

Druss’ Music for the Celestial Din came out in August on Debacle Records, the audio component to a multimedia presentation he created for the Hedreen Gallery in 2013. In its subtle synthesized bubbling and languid flow, it resembles the Rosetta recording. Coincidence, maybe, but not unintended: Druss’ art bridges human perception to the immaterial realms, that part of existence we feel but cannot see.

“There’s this other world that you take from and bring out and have dialogue with,” Druss says. “It’s a presence I’ve felt my whole life and this is my way of trying to interact with it and share it.”

As a member of A Story of Rats, Druss partners with a drummer and second synth player on extended, tension-filled sojourns into teeth-rattling drone and pulverizing percussion; their live shows are famous for extreme volume and overworked smoke machines. Volume is a way to create auditory space, sounds colliding with sounds to produce new sensations in the mind, auditory hallucinations Druss refers to as “psychoacoustic ghost towns.” He describes one gig in the middle of which he left his body, only to come to and cut his set awkwardly short. “I remember waking up and being like, ‘Shit, I’m in front of people’!”

Originally trained as a painter, Druss wields a powerful visual language to augment his music. The graphics for A Story of Rats suggest the occult, black-on-black glyphs and references to numerology and sacred mathematics. For Celestial Din, he crafted five three-dimensional geometric shapes—basketball-sized “platonic solids”—that he fitted with speakers for playing his soundtrack. The score to the piece looks like an illuminated manuscript from some fictional religious movement.

Druss is currently working on two solo albums and two albums for A Story of Rats before he revisits Celestial Din for another gallery show late next year. All of his artwork is an effort to shift perception away from tired expectations into a freer, more evolved way of seeing.

“I don’t want everything to be concrete and day-to-day: Cops can kill people and this is the job you’ll have your whole life and this is how to define love,” he says. “If you’re able to look outside of those things and have a beautiful interaction with something endless and ever-evolving—for me that brings peace. That means stuff is gonna be OK.”

Age 34
Hometown Pocatello, Idaho
Current Obsession Alfred Schnittke
Skill You Wish You Had Homesteading

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