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 intuitive disciplines 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. While through the inner affirmations and progressive social values of many esoteric traditions, this history is also naturally diverse, being explicitly inclusive of women, people of color, and LGBTQ artists. 

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.

For more info or to schedule presentations, 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Explore some of the rare historical documents from my personal library: LOOK


 

#36 - The Mahatma of Manhattan - Louis M. Eilshemius 

Welcome to episode 36, “The Mahatma of Manhattan,” featuring painter, author, publisher, and composer, Louis M. Eilshemius (1864-1941). Now marginally known for his idiosyncratic paintings of nudes and landscapes, Eilshemius spent most of his life being mocked and ignored, until…

#35 - The Quantum Heart - Harley Gaber 

Welcome to episode 35, “The Quantum Heart,” featuring composer, multi-media artist, and tennis player Harley Gaber (1943-2011). Gaber’s music was deeply informed by his study of Buddhism and Taoism, as well as his lifelong interest in quantum physics. He is…

#34 - Service Through Sound - Evelyn Benham-Bull 

Welcome to episode 34, "Service Through Sound," featuring composer, author, Theosophist, and music therapist Evelyn Benham-Bull (1897-1983). Almost entirely forgotten, Benham-Bull was an active composer in the 20s and 30s before shifting her focus to practicing and teaching music therapy…

#33 - The Godmother of Music Therapy - Eva Augusta Vescelius 

Welcome to episode 33, "The Godmother of Music Therapy," featuring opera singer, New Thought philosopher, and pioneering music therapist, Eva Augusta Vescelius (1853-1917). After co-founding the family-run Vescelius Opera Company and touring the world for over a decade, Vescelius’ interest…

#32 - The Queen of Number-Vibration - Sarah Joanna Balliett 

Welcome to episode 32, “The Queen of Number-Vibration” featuring New Jersey author, feminist, and pioneer of American numerology, Sarah Joanna Balliett (1847?-1929)—though she is better known by her husband’s name as Mrs. L. Dow Balliett. Synthesizing occult numerology, Pythagorean and…

#31 - The Oracle of the East Village - Harry Smith 

Welcome to Episode 31, “The Oracle of the East Village,” featuring filmmaker, painter, musical ethnographer, and occult magician, Harry Smith (1923-1991). Smith is best known for his influential 6-LP Anthology of American Folk Music, as well as his experimental films…

#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…