A “Friday” Record-ical Analysis

A Friday Record-ical Analysis

The album Mind Dream, released by the artist David Zumsteg in 2013, is composed of New Age songs. Its goal is to provide “calm, mostly instrumental music” (Zumsteg and Zumsteg 2) as stated by the artist in a 2023 interview. It was produced by David Zumsteg under the record label Triofog Music. The album successfully achieved its goal of providing calming music through a multitude of rhetorical devices and choices.

Starting music professionally in the 1990s, he mainly performed rock music, as can be seen on his website. David has been in multiple bands over the years including Pie, REX, Radio Bikini, and Maxella. These bands have all specialized in moody or heavy rock such as “rock…seductive rock…alternative…grunge.” He is also known for his photography skills in addition to his music. He began to sell his photos on Fine Art America in 2012 and has since moved to posting photos on Instagram, which he joined in 2015. This is also where he has announced his most recent album, 23 Chill. In addition to photography and music, David has also participated in theater, both acting and providing music for many TV shows and movies as can be seen on the IMBd website. He has also participated in live theater performing in works such as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Clue, Arsenic and Old Lace, and an upcoming performance as the father in Elf. Safe to say, David has a large and intricate creative background.

Utilizing this creative background, he has created a wonderful work of art which is the album Mind Dream. It is composed of many, smaller albums from the Flight of the Crow series, the production of this album spans many years. When this album was released, David had a mixed fanbase of rock lovers and those who were older or wanted calmer music. In an interview conducted in 2023, Zumsteg confirmed that his intended audience were “people that are older.” While there is not much evidence showing the relationship between the artist and his fans, what can be seen from his social media, such as Instagram, shows us that he interacts with fans or viewers who interact with his work. According to Mind Dream’s description on Bandcamp, it was “unexpected best-seller” (Bandcamp 1) and scored “several Top-10 internet charting songs” (Bandcamp 1) upon release. The album also went on to “sell worldwide on MP3.com” (Bandcamp 1). Additionally, the album was described as “peaceful and serene” and “really good music” (Bandcamp) by Indie-Music.com and Riffage.com. Unfortunately, the hype for this album has since died down, with around 4 monthly Spotify listeners last month. With the release of a new album, this number has increased to 14 monthly listeners (as seen on the artist’s Spotify page). While composing the album, David was largely inspired by another artist, known as Enya. This artist composes calm, sometimes instrumental, and whimsical music, and this inspiration can be seen in David’s album.

At first glance, the songs do not appear to be in any particular order, but upon further investigation, it can be seen that some of the songs are grouped. For example, “Christmas Snow” “Ice (On to Something)” and “December” are all grouped together and have similar themes. “Return to the Sea,” “Sand,” and “Flying (No Names)” are also grouped and all have a theme of the ocean or can be interpreted as having a connection to the ocean, in the case of “Flying (No Names).” This creates a smooth transition from one song to the next. It also creates the feeling of a timeline within the album as the album starts with “A New Day Sunrise,” which creates this feeling because it begins the album and the title refers to the beginning of the day. While the songs within the album were a part of other, smaller albums in the Flight of the Crow series, after the release of Mind Dream there were no additions after its release or special tracks, and none of the songs were released as singles.

As most of the songs in this album are instrumental, it can be difficult to identify the rhetorical choices and devices used. However, throughout the many songs, we can see how diction, repetition, and pathos combine to create a calming atmosphere. By using words such as “dream,” “flying,” “swirls,” and “mother” in the titles, a sense of dreaminess or comfort is created. Many of the songs have fantastical and otherworldly titles such as “Swirls of Sun” or “Waves of Time” which tells the listener at first glance what the album will be about or what emotions it may invoke. One of the only songs to have lyrics, “I’ll be Waiting” also helps invoke this sense of dreaminess with the lyrics “but in your dreams, you know you’re fine” (Zumsteg 2013). By continuing to mention the word “dream” in both titles and lyrics it sets the setting and theme for the album. Repetition is also used throughout the album. While repeating words are not used widely throughout the album, repeating beats or instruments are. This ties the songs together to create an album that almost acts like a song by itself. The use of repeating beats also creates a sense of comfort or calm because of the familiarity between songs. Furthermore, this repetition allows listeners or long-time fans to know that they are listening to a song from Mind Dream without needing to look at the title. For example, “Keepsake 2” and “Swirls of Sun” use similar instruments. While “Keepsake 2” has a stronger and more obvious beat and “Swirls of Sun” focuses more on other instruments, both have a similar sound with a keyboard being the star of the show and both include a maraca sound in the background.  

Finally, the album includes the use of pathos. There are a few songs in the album that utilize pathos to create a calming, comforting feeling. One such song is “Mother’s Touch”, which is an instrumental song as well as the artist’s favorite song, something he revealed in a recent interview. While this song may be instrumental, this just makes its utilization of pathos more interesting. It does so through the title. As many people have love for their mothers and a comforting memory of them, the title “Mother’s Touch” brings to mind comfort and love before the listeners even listen to the song. It brings these themes to mind for a good reason as the artist notes that “it was written about my mother” (Zumsteg and Zumsteg 4). Paired with the gentle song, the title is even more powerful in invoking the listener’s emotions. The instruments used in this song also affect the listener’s emotions as the instruments used are gentle and melodic instead of the more harsh or energetic instruments in other songs. Another one of David Zumsteg’s songs that utilize pathos is “I’ll Be Waiting”, the only lyrical song in the album.

Dakota L. Zumsteg


With lyrics such as “I’ll be waiting for you” and “I may be gone” (Zumsteg 2013), are a good example of pathos as they create a feeling of comfort. The album art for Mind Dream also helps to create a feeling of calmness. As David Zumsteg is a photographer, he had a large array of photos to choose from for the album art. When asked in an interview why he chose the photo he did, he stated that he chose the photo to “convey a feeling of calmness. Relaxation” (Zumsteg and Zumsteg 3). The photo is simple, with a setting sun over an ocean and the coast. Many people associate the ocean with a sense of calm as well as the night. Combining both the ocean as well as a setting sun, just before the night, creates a feeling of calm. The photo also shows beautiful scenery. Overall, this album art showcases David’s artistic abilities and provides a memorable and calming photo. 

The overall tone of the album is one of comfort and whimsy. This is created through the lyrics as well as the lack of lyrics, repetition in the songs and their titles, and creating emotion by tying the songs to people’s common experiences. While the album did not impact David’s musical career or fame, it did impact his future discography. Before the release of Mind Dream, he was mainly known for the rock bands he participated in. However, he has recently released his second album which follows a similar trend to Mind Dream. Also being largely instrumental with a few lyrics, 23 Chill is an album that is composed of calming, gentle songs that are similar to those found in Mind Dream. This album has been a large part of my life as I have listened to it since it was released in 2013. It has accompanied me to every breakfast and holds a place in my heart. 


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