Premiere: Birds of Passage – “The Numinous Place”

A Closer Listen is proud to present the world premiere of a new track by Alicia Merz aka Birds of Passage entitled “The Numinous Place.”
You might remember Merz from Dear and Unfamiliar,  her fabulous collaboration with Leonardo Rosado.  Released on Denovali records,  that record became one of our favorites of 2011, a fitting introduction for those of us unfamiliar with Merz’s gorgeous voice.   Her latest will serve as the theme song to Mark Staufer’s  The Numinous Place, a groundbreaking new multi-media form of fiction.

“The Numinous Place is a supernatural thriller like no other and this new medium of the future – merging all media seamlessly to tell a great story – is the perfect place to begin the TNP franchise.”

Unlike e-books, which just migrate text from the printed page to the screen, The Numinous Place makes full use of the potential of  your device -iPad, iPhone, Android, ereader, computer- to craft a truly unique form of fiction.  Not unlike the audiowalks of Canadian sound artist Janet Cardiff, TNP blurs the participants perception of reality, drawing one into a complex web of immerse elements, artfully blending “video, audio, images and text to reveal the greatest conspiracy of all time…”   The narrative of The Numinous Place unfolds on your digital interface in much the same way you would normally navigate.  Reading web pages,  watching video, perusing images.  As in Cardiff’s work, the interface blurs one’s perception of reality and fiction resulting in an uncanny sense of immersion within the narrative.

It’s like if THE DA VINCI CODE came to life in your hands showing you actual video footage of the clues and interviews with suspects, presented the real life historical documents and artifacts, and played you recordings of crucial pieces of evidence.

THE NUMINOUS PLACE does all this in such an authentic way, you’ll be swept along in the cosmic detective story like never before, as you gather the evidence that proves none of us are who or where we think we are.

 Mark Staufer is the creator, writer and director behind The Numinous Place.  A former New Zealander who now makes his home in Los Angeles after stints in Australia, the UK and Europe, Staufer says he has been gestating the project for nearly a decade.  Mark is former Head of Production at Universal Studios Networks in London, while working on TNP he has written, amongst other things, a screenplay about legendary comedian Bill Hicks for Oscar winner Russell Crowe, who described Staufer in industry bible Variety as ‘a most talented writer.’  Crowe is one of the investors behind this project, but they still need to raise over $25,000 more to bring this vision to fruition.  Staufer is now just a day away from the completion of his Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds, and though they have nearly $50,000 already pledged, they won’t receive any of those funds unless they reach their target goal of $75,000.

Staufer approached Merz to create a new song to serve as the theme-song to his project. Of working with Alicia he says:

“I’ve always been a fan of Alicia’s music. Her tunes resonate with me on a visceral level. When I found out she was a fellow Kiwi, it was like all my Christmases had come at once. You see, there’s not many of us New Zealanders, and we’re all quite polite. So I knew if I approached her to compose something for The Numinous Place at least she wouldn’t just tell me to bugger off. She’d at least give me a fair hearing and read the manuscript. I got a much better result than that. The Numinous Place is about a spiritual quest, it’s a cosmic detective story in which the main character solves an ages-old conspiracy by collecting evidence from here, and the dreamworld. I use audio. video, images and text to tell the story, and this allows me to create a believable and realistic narrative. The protagonist has to learn to lucid dream as part of his quest, and the reader will learn this art – of becoming conscious in their dreamworld – along with him.”

Merz  was instantly attracted to the project, particularly its aspects of lucid dreaming, Buddhist philosophy, and mystery which well-suit the mood of her music.  When I ask her about the challenges of working on a multi-media project shes replies that it served as a really welcome opportunity, different from anything she’s worked on in the past.   “I’m honoured and excited to be able to be a part of it. Doing this was different to how I work solely, because I seldom have had to write something for someone that has had a set subject matter.  So for “The Numinous Place”  I had to get right into its world.  What i didn’t want to do was tell the story of The Numinous Place in the song, I wanted to make a poetic interpretation.”

Staufer  and Merz’s work really resonates with one another.   He continues to claim that  “she has composed and performed a truly unbelievable theme song for me. It’s fragile and beautiful, and I think it’s the best thing she’s ever done. I’m also really chuffed to have her involved because I reckon Birds of Passage is on the brink of international stardom. You wait. And when you hear The Numinous Place theme song, you’ll know what I mean.”

Please give Birds of Passage‘s “The Numinous Place” a listen, and let us know if you agree with Staufer.  And if you’re intrigued by TNP please consider contributing to their Kickstarter campaign and investing in this groundbreaking new form of literature.

About Joseph Sannicandro

writer | traveler | sound organizer | contrarian | concerned citizen


  1. This is the best Birds of Passage song since “Bullrush in the Sun”. I hope this project sees the light of day as it sounds amazing.

  2. Update: TNP has met their goal!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: