I have often sought in audio the same feeling I used to get from exploring the world of magical realism with my father -- a wave of deeply moving connection to humanity, one that threatens to rip you away from reality with its undertow of strange, tangible fantasy. Christopher Reynaga’s Point Mystic gave that to me, a mysterious podcast about an investigative journalist broadcasting a radio show in the eponymous small town that’s a little hard to find. It resonates heavily with the Latin American magical realism of my childhood, with the fears that still plague me in my adulthood, and still with the wonder and oddness of hidden magic.
What gives Point Mystic its dreamlike quality is its reliance on improvisation and co-creation when the host interviews members of the town, who are all people in the creator’s life. Marguerite Croft develops the story and edits the script, a dedicated member of Point Mystic who creates a seamless and fulfilled quality to every episode, like a dream become concrete. Their son, Fox, is also involved in the creative process and a wonderful actor, who is heavily involved in one of the opening stories of Point Mystic. They are all creating art together, supporting each other in a real community reflected to us in the fictional one of Point Mystic. Reynaga takes this cooperative work and builds out around it -- edits it, soundscapes it, scores it, whatever it needs, until it becomes this intricate picture of magic shaded on top of real life and the very real problems it tackles, such as colonialism and racism. The atmosphere and tone shift much like the shifting of magic in and out of the darkness; it can be spooky and haunted, like the creatures that come from Fox’s imagination onto tape, or serious and contemplative, but it is always resilient against the troubles we must grapple with every day.