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 traditions that have empowered their work. From psychic pianists to prophetic instrument-makers, these artists have found inspiration from deep within and far, far away, often musically expressing themselves in experimental and imaginative ways. While through the inner affirmations and progressive social values operative across 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 spiritual 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/interviews, contact:

ESOTERIC = eso- ("interior"), -teric ("the most") = "the most interior"

I use the term "esotericism" to refer--above all else--to our internal experience of truth. As exotericism ("the most exterior") refers to truths which are sourced external to oneself (via authority figures, scripture, law, habit/custom, etc), esotericism refers to truths which are sourced internally through an engagement with four numinous "I's": Intuition, Imagination, Inspiration, and Insight. What is truth? What does truth sound like?

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

* Every donation (see, "donate" button above) helps to sustain and enhance Secret Sound, both the podcast and related writing/publication. Much of my research is dependent upon rare documents and recordings; while other archival sources are not always easy for me to access or financially maintain. Anything you are willing to offer is deeply appreciated and will come back to you through upcoming episodes. THANK YOU!

#44 - A Séance of Strings - Florizel von Reuter 

Welcome to episode #44, A Séance for Strings, featuring Iowa-born child prodigy, psychic violinist, composer, music educator, and author, Florizel von Reuter (1890-1985). Following an immensely successful career touring American and Europe as a child violinist, Reuter and his mother…

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#43 - The Prayerful Organist - Irma Glen 

Welcome to episode 43, "The Prayerful Organist," featuring radio celebrity, virtuoso organist, Religious Science minister, and early pioneer of "new age" music, Irma Glen (1908-1982). After successful vaudeville music tours in her adolescence, Glen found a passion for the organ…

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#42 - The Coloratura of Celestial Choice - Amelita Galli-Curci 

Welcome to episode 42, "The Coloratura of Celestial Choice," featuring Spanish-Italian American opera singer, Amelita Galli-Curci (1882-1963). Through her opera career she accrued international renown and fortune, but this was cut short by a vocal injury in the 1930s. While…

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#41 - The Ghost Dance - Wovoka 

Welcome to Episode 41, "The Ghost Dance," featuring Native American prophet Wovoka (1856-1932). A descendent of the Numu language family and Paiute tribe in Nevada, Wovoka had a vision in 1889 in which he visited heaven and communed with the…

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#40 - The Prophet of Swing - Vincent Lopez 

Welcome to episode 40, "The Prophet of Swing," featuring Portuguese American pianist, bandleader, numerologist, and metaphysical philosopher Vincent Lopez (1895-1975). Raised in an extreme Roman Catholic home, Lopez left the monastic path for ragtime piano as a child. One of…

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#37 - Singing for the Orishas - Merceditas Valdes 

Welcome to episode 37, "Singing for the Orishas," featuring Afro-Cuban Santería/Lucumí singer, Merceditas Valdes (1922-1996). Raised in a musical household alongisde Yoruba and Cuban traditions, Valdez took to Afro-Cuban Lucumí music and religious practice as a teenager in Havana. Working…

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#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…

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#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…

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#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…

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