Spectral Hypnosis: Mind Over Mirrors – Check Your Swing Album Review (w/ Full Album Stream)

SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS is a recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body. This post highlights only one musician and one release, with Mind Over MirrorsCheck Your Swing.



The moniker of Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly’s Mind Over Mirrors seems to contain a philosophical idea that hints at a mind’s ultimate “victory” over experiences in a world of mirrors and illusion. Yet at the same time, such an idea inherently contains a philosophical flaw if viewed logically; for what, truly, is “mind”, and what is experiencing the illusion if not for the mind?

Steeped in analog and digital drones from a harmonium and varying electronics, the landscape of Fennelly’s latest album, Check Your Swing, provides a listening experience that seems to riff on the contradictions inherent in his project name (if indeed my interpretation is even remotely correct). It may not be intentional, but Fennelly’s music incites within a listener a battle between conscious and subconscious mind spaces, as certain moments flow on without demanding much thought and others dominate one’s experience completely.

On first listen, album opener “Breaking A Jam” and the sparse “Pass Into The Driftless” both seem to fall back towards background music territory. Though excellent, they — like most tracks on the album — are most significant when viewed as a part of the entire record spectrum. Others like “Memorander” and “Check Your Swing” seem to insist on being front and center in one’s aural line of sight. These two tracks don’t capture one’s attention for being more erratic or bizarre than the others; they just drone on heavier, by possessing a nuanced, burning intensity that becomes notably more eerie and fiery with every second, as though preparing listeners for an explosive introspective revelation. Never do the sonics actually explode in any ostentatious sense, but their ever-building tensions do crest to a point where they absolutely demand’s attention even if they had begun without it.

The album’s sequencing seems to produce a curious effect in a listener, where tracks will alternate between capturing one’s conscious mind and releasing it, all the while dipping in and out of one’s subconscious. Hence, like moments in life where revelations about the nature of existence come and go, Check Your Swing ebbs and flows, creating an ever-changing deep listening experience.


Mind Over Mirrors – Check Your Swing Full Album Stream

Check Your Swing, which will be released via Hands In The Dark Records on November 13th, is well worth repeat listens. It is limited to 300 copies of vinyl with MP3 download coupons. Get yours.

You can also get a mixtape Hands In The Dark made for us earlier this year.


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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