"Hy Maya did not start as a band; it started as a concept. A life concept and fascination with Eastern culture...and that concept became my life."
- Robert Bensick
"...Hy Maya was Bensick's way of doing music; and that if you shared his style at the moment, you also were in Hy Maya."
-- Charlotte Pressler
The experimental Cleveland musical collective Hy Maya was first conceived and visualized by Robert Bensick (The Robert Bensick Band/Fins/Berlin West), in the Spring of 1972 as a sound performance piece to be presented at Bensick's Cleveland State University "artist of the year" show. The group's core members included drummer/percussionist Scott Krauss (Pere Ubu/Home & Garden/Cinderella Backstreet), synthesist Allen Ravenstine (Pere Ubu/Red Crayola), and electric and acoustic bassist Albert Dennis (Cinderella Backstreet/Wolves). Pianist Bob Friedhofer (Froggy & the Shrimps), conga player/percussionist Richard Schneider, and Mellotron player Cynthia Black (Cinderella Backstreet/Peter & the Wolves) also contributed significantly to the collective at various times.
Hy Maya created sounds that were heavily driven by an artistic and spiritual foundation and were undeniable and pivotal influence upon Pere Ubu (and, for that matter, related bands that came in between such as the aforementioned Fins and The Robert Bensick Band). Hy Maya were usually namechecked as a mere footnote in Ubu's pre-history despite the fact that two of Hy Maya's members (Ravenstine and Krauss) would go on to co-form Pere Ubu in September 1975. Few had witnessed Hy Maya perform; fewer remembered them or even knew who or what they had been, sadly a re-occurring issue for influential artists who languish in obscurity due to limited available information.
The Mysticism of Sound & Cosmic Language is an attempt to right these wrongs and to give as much of a complete portrait of Hy Maya in its various incarnations as possible. While portions of the group's history are still somewhat uncertain in regards to timelines, the discovery of numerous live and studio recordings with a variety of Hy Maya's line-ups tells the story of the group's progression in a way, perhaps, that is much closer to the band's overall intent and philosophy.