Secret Sound is a podcast and research project focusing on the esoteric history of American music, from the 18th century to the 20th century. For over 10 years host Matt Marble has been researching marginalized American artists and the esoteric spiritual influences that have empowered their work. From psychic pianists to prophetic instrument-makers, these artists have found inspiration from within, often musically expressing themselves in experimental and imaginative ways. 

Each episode focuses on a single artist, and explores their biography, creative process, musical works, and influences. Along the way, listeners are introduced to diverse esoteric traditions, such as Theosophy, spiritualism, Obeah, Enochian Magic, and more. We’ll also explore aspects of American history and society as broader contexts to these traditions and the artists drawn to them.

All episodes are free to stream or download. Also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Contact: scrtsnd@gmail.com


Check out the 2-hour music special I made for Dublab radio: LISTEN


Explore some of the rare historical documents from my personal library: LOOK


 

#30 - The Prince of Darkness - Prince Massard Kurzhene 

Welcome to episode 30, The Prince of Darkness, featuring Lithuanian-American composer, film scorer, violin prodigy, and band leader Prince Massard Kurzhene (1900-1989). Having graduated from a Russian conservatory and begun touring Europe at the age of 12, Kurzhene found his…

#29 - The Magic Rustling - David Lynch 

Welcome to episode 29, The Magic Rustling, featuring renowned filmmaker, painter, and musician David Lynch (1946-present). From Eraserhead to the latest season of Twin Peaks, Lynch has forged a dream-soaked art so abstractly unique that it spawned the adjective Lynchian…

#28 - A Sound Within - Louise Landes Levi 

Welcome to episode 28, A Sound Within, featuring Buddhist musician, poet, translator, and world traveler, Louise Landes Levi. She has translated renowned mystic writers such as Mirabai, René Daumal, and Henri Michaux. She's released over a dozen books of her…

#27 - Dance of the Seven Rays - Torkom Saraydarian 

Welcome to episode 27, “Dance of the Seven Rays,” featuring Armenian priest, author, teacher, and composer/performer Torkom Saraydarian (1915-1997). Raised in Turkey, he survived the Armenian genocide to become a minister in the Armenian Apostolic Church. Immigrating to California, Saraydarian…

#26 - The High Priestess of Delphi - Eva Palmer-Sikelianos 

Welcome to episode 26, “The High Priestess of Delphi,” featuring composer, choreographer, master weaver, and Sapphic feminist, Eva Palmer-Sikelianos (1874-1952). After almost founding a lesbian artist colony on the Greek island of Lesbos with fellow Sapphic pioneer, Natalie Barney, Eva…

#25 - The Dawnbreakers - Russell & Gina Garcia 

Welcome to Episode 25, “The Dawnbreakers,” featuring Russell & Gina Garcia. Raised in Oakland, CA, Russell Garcia (1916-2011) was a world-renowned composer, arranger, and conductor, working for decades with jazz icons, as well as for major Hollywood film and tv…

#24 - The Song of the Violet Flame - Lotus Ray King 

Welcome to Episode 24, “The Song of the Violet Flame,” featuring harpist, composer, and religious leader, Lotus Ray King, aka Edna Ballard (1886-1971). Raised in Chicago, Ballard got into metaphysical literature and harp playing as a teenager. With her…

#23 - Music of the Gods (Hip Hop & the Five Percent Nation) 

Welcome to episode 23, Music of the Gods. Rather than focus on a single artist, this episode explores the role of the Five Percent movement in the origins and development of American hip hop. Founded in 1967 by Clarence 13X…

#22 - The South Side Shaman - Kelan Phil Cohran 

Welcome to Episode 22, The South Side Shaman, featuring trumpeter, harpist, composer, teacher, community activist, and astronomer Kelan Philip Cohran (1927-2017). Early on, Cohran joined the cosmic discipline of Sun Ra’s Arkestra for two years. Next he worked with Malcolm…

#21 - A Wandering Monk - Julius Eastman 

Welcome to episode 21, A Wandering Monk, featuring the brilliantly black, queer, composer, dancer, conductor, pianist, and grammy-nominated singer—Julius Eastman (1940-1990). His music often employed his unique “organic method” of composition, while some works, anticipating post-minimalism, fused avant-garde and…

Secret Sound - 20 - The Obeah Man (Tony McKay/Exuma) 

Welcome to Episode 20, The Obeah Man, featuring Bahamian born singer/songwriter, painter, and Obeah practitioner, Tony McKay (1942-1997). Coming to Greenwich Village in the 1960s, McKay took on the identity of Exuma, the Obeah Man. His mystical wardrobe, lyrics, paintings…

Secret Sound - 19 - The Religion of Dreams (Rahsaan Roland Kirk) 

Welcome to Episode 19, “The Religion of Dreams,” featuring Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1935-1937). Blind from the age of 2, Kirk became a maverick figure in the jazz world, notably for his ability to play three reed instruments at the same…