Tuesday, 14 September 2010

day 11: Origins #1 - Lost Archetypes, Fading Shamans and Unfinished Labyrinths

[caption id="attachment_332" align="alignnone" width="427" caption="Masters of the Labyrinth - Lyrics"]Masters of the Labyrinth - Lyrics[/caption]

Apparently this was too much for slow connections in combination with slow iDisk servers, so I split it in two.

Part #1

A long time ago in a Netherlands far, far away...
Before I knew anything about things that look random but are not
Before I knew anything about branes, brains and automatons
Before I knew about Musashi, Lao Tse, Gödel, Escher and Bach
Before I knew about structure and systems

I wrote Confessions of a Demi-God, a song lyric

Well... “wrote” is not really the correct tense here, maybe “started to write” is better.
I didn’t write it as one piece, not in one go, but it was always meant to be a trilogy in three stages:

Confessions of a Demi-God stage one: Random Order
Confessions of a Demi-God stage two: Sentient Chaos
Confusions of a Semi-God stage free: The Lost Archetype


Always a part of it and appearing as a piece of prose was All in a Day’s Dream: An epilogical prologue

Over the years it emerged from high-school scribblings between homework assignments into an epic that has been (partially) set to music three times now by different musicians...

The 92/94 - Lost Archetype - version
The 97/99 - Fading Shaman - version
The 01/03 - Unsolved Labyrinth - version


Over the course of the years lyrics have been added, removed, changed and reintroduced again.

The 92/94 - Lost Archetype - version


The second stage was actually performed and recorded first chronologically, in the period of 1992-1994. Back then we changed our high-school band name from Nightcrowd to Scrythe (yeah, I know), as we changed our musical direction and dropped some personnel. We made a demo tape on a 4-track recorder (yes youngsters, that’s what people did in the old days)! Incidentally, Hank Heijink the owner of the 4-track, whom I didn’t know very well at the time, was the brother of the girlfriend of our drummer Marco, became my colleague at the Radboud University many years later as he got his PhD in cognitive (music) psychology @ the Music, Mind Machine Lab, after his masters degree in computer science and after he finished the Brabant Conservatory in Classical Guitar, only to continue after his PhD to get a degree in Lute and Theorbo at the famous Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Apparently he’s also writing iPhone apps now, in NY. I just knew his reputation as an extremely talented drummer and percussionist in 1992.

Oh, how people can change...

But I digress, back to the trilogy that never was:

Here is a part of the booklet (click the image to download the entire thing). All in a day’s dream is already there as prose to fill the booklet. In the last column it says: Not included but definitely part of the story... Those songs did not exist as music back then.

[caption id="attachment_334" align="alignnone" width="720" caption="Masters of the Labyrinth Booklet"]Masters of the Labyrinth Booklet[/caption]

Now about Hank’s 4-track, we did not have anything else. Just some cheap mics. The noise you hear (especially in the beginning as I play the harmonics with delay, is also because of the effects unit I had at the time for my guitar: a cheap Zoom that the entire band called zoem (hum). The distortion was of course worse than the delay as you can hear. So we used all four tracks to record the music, then down-mixed some tracks to create room for vocals... we just didn’t have a vocalist.

So I did it, in a room the mother of our bassplayer (and my neighbour) Bjorn used to cut people’s hair in. With a mic that didn’t even have a detachable cable, or an XLR plug. I don’t even remember if I had headphones....

[audio: 05 Scrythe - side b - 05 - Confessions.mp3]

Yeah it sounds terrible and so do I, but the music is still pretty ahead of its time :)

Bjorn came up with the the term Lost Archetype by the way. In a phone conversation about band names I had suggested Lost Horizon and Ancient Archetype, a simple contraction did the trick. He is the best bass player I know, I mean listen to the bass slap breaks in this song, we were 18 for God’s sake. I have NO idea how to do that. He lives in LA now.

The Lyrics to stage two at the time were as follows, maybe you should read them as the music plays:

Confessions of a Demi-God
Stage: Two


-- Sentient Chaos --


So I was wrong to believe in the absence of structure,
But I never claimed to be a soulless one,
I found that chaos speaks to us through order,
Controlling the flow of reality itself.
Precognition?
Indeed!


This is the evil playground,
Where we witness the creation of our own damnation.
This is the factory of lies,
We built in the city where truth was born.


Oh no!
Not again,
Not now.
Recounting my years in captivity,
Twenty-one and some,
A raid of ego to bind the last to the least,
The anguish arrives!
Here it comes!
HERE I GO!


The really funny funny, strange, weird -I don’t know- thing about this text is that it makes a LOT of sense to me now. I can’t imagine what I meant by it back then when I was 21. That’s actually the age I first started drinking beer. Well... there you go

The 97/99 - Fading Shaman - version


Then some years later (1997/1998) and some personnel changes later we did some proper recordings, this time of stage one and we asked my brother to sing (he added some cool lines too!). Below are the lyrics, read them as you listen. The three song demo (on CD this time!) was called “All in a Day’s Dream” and of course again featured All in a day’s dream as prose in the booklet.

About a year after the release, I met the people of Entheon in Nijmegen who translated and published Terence McKenna’s “Food of the Gods” in Dutch. We cooperated for a certain underground movement, on some stuff... that... well... eh... is not for this blog right now.

Anyway... When the translator read All in a day’s dream and Confessions stage one, she said: “Wow can I send this to Terrence? He’ll love it!” ... uhh ... hey well who am I to refuse such a great mind? Well, it turned out he had just been diagnosed with brain cancer, or glioblastoma multiforme. I am not sure he actually read it, because this thing is so aggressive he died a few months later. Since then, the subtitle in my mind has been:

For Novelty, whenever I may find her. Well, perhaps in two years :)

Ok, so here it is, in honour of a great shaman:

All in a Day's Dream
An Epilogical Prologue


The Master of the Labyrinth sighed as he knelt beside me. I saw his eyes focus on my naked brain and I guessed he was examining it for abnormalities. He then spoke to me:

"Foolish young creature, your quest continues. I will share with you the Truths you must pursue, for they are One and they are All. First, analyse the manifestations of Order, then delve for the powers of Chaos. When you are still in possession of your life after having done these things, you must begin the search for the Lost Archetype. Be everywhere, investigate nowhere."


And of all the voices I had ever heard, from the roaring of the pit-demons to the angelic high whispers of the air-spirits, this voice was the softest, the deepest and the most frightening one. Then he took a piece of my brain and as he slowly merged with the dark surroundings he said:

"You won't be needing this."


----



Confessions of a Demi-God
Stage: One


-- Random Order --


I - RES EXTENSA


Overt and blurred
The race for time begins (now!)
Naked and hurt
I breathe life!


Silent, unstirred
The virgin universe cries
Forced to compel
Infinity!


II - RES COGITANS


Systems within systems
So relieved to have reached the shores of reason
The burning dreams I left behind
A testimony of my treason
Wild guesses, my new vessels
Across the planes of panic
Beware of the two-faced trespassers
Their touch will leave you frantic


The attempted blend with reality
Left me blind to the light of relativity
Crippled, in a way, I seek my refuge
To keep me from collapsing in insanity


Systems within systems
While I release the firm hold
And dive into a free-fall
Of distance through cold


Overt and blurred
The race for time begins (now!)
Naked and hurt
I breathe life!


Silent, unstirred
The virgin universe cries
Forced to compel
Infinity!


III - UNITAS MULTIPLEX


Crystalline dreams
Lost in my world
Blessed and deceived
Losing the race!
Violent minds
Reach for my land
Intangible leash
Can’t be set free!


Somewhere between stimulus and response


IV - SOMEWHERE BEYOND STIMULUS AND RESPONSE


Tempt me all you like
There is just one way
Out of this apocalypse
Strife drowns my pride
Self preservation
Must delete itself
Prison deep within
Guarded by hauntings
Who appear to be
Mere fragments of me


"Lie not", they tell me
And with lies they hold me


Forget
Reject
Relay
The will to crave


<As far as I can remember the underlined words were added by my brother>


I used to have a website called Purple Brain Recordings whose index page looked like this:

[caption id="attachment_324" align="alignnone" width="380" caption="Purple Brain Recordings"]Purple Brain[/caption]

L.A.P stood for Lost Archetype Productions