Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Carl Sagan (Blue Sky Black Death)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

This is one of the songs that I feel I was presented with as a personal gift from the universe. While searching for something completely unrelated (‘Machine Heart’ by Instrumental Core), YouTube decided to offer me Blue Sky Black Death in the list of suggestions.

I was immediately drawn to the artist name, and although I did not realise at the time that ‘Carl Sagan’ was the title of the song, I always had the utmost respect for the man, so I went ahead and clicked the link.

And what an intriguing marvel I discovered.

To be sure, the music has a beautifully haunting quality, and adds a great deal of atmosphere. But the lyrics are out of this world -- perhaps literally. Whether or not my interpretation is congruent with the intentions of the writer, I have a strong sense of the speaker’s identity as implied but never explicitly stated. The arrangement of the clues, though, and the poetic eloquence with which they are expressed, serve to evoke a visceral understanding in the listener that exceeds what directly naming the subject could achieve.

The eeriest thing is that there seems to be such truth in this song. It does not feel like a figment of the imagination, a work of art, a fictitious narrative.

It feels like a harbinger.

Check it out on YouTube


I emailed Alexander Chen (, the person responsible for the lyrics and vocals on this song, congratulating him on such an exceptional piece of music. To my amazement, he actually wrote back to say thanks. What an admirable gesture! If only more successful and famous individuals retained such humanity.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Only my railgun (fripSide)

I frequently become gripped with a somewhat pathological compulsion to listen to a specific song; luckily, thanks to the wonders of the digitally augmented world in which we live, I can usually access that song in a reasonably short period of time. Once I do, I tend to thrash it repeatedly for an hour or two before I finally feel satiated.

Although I have not really analysed this behaviour, I can report with certainty that it is good for my mind. It probably has something to do with a self-reinforcing biofeedback loop that optimises my metabolism, or perhaps it is related to a specific waveform of neural oscillation. Fortunately, the instances when I am unable to devour the song I crave (in much the same way as a junkie craves a hit) are few and far between -- although it is worth noting that when this does happen, it only takes me a few seconds to get over it. Aerodynamic stability ftw.

But I digress. Sometimes this fixation is a reminder of how remarkably specific the recollective ability of the human mind can be. This afternoon, my addiction-song was something Japanese I hadn’t listened to in close to a year, and other than a few vague seconds of melody, I didn’t have the faintest clue as to what the title or artist might be.

Then I realised the melody was associated with a picture of Kagamine Rin, which quickly led to my realisation that it was ‘Only My Railgun’, originally by fripSide. I had a similar moment of surprisingly non-linear recall a few days ago, when I was trying to remember the title of a film from which I was quoting some dialogue: I hadn’t seen this film in years, but the keyword magically surfaced in my mind when bidden, instantly and without resistance.

Please note that the only reason there is no iTunes link to this song is because I could not find it for sale there, or anywhere else. I have already been in touch with Apple to remedy this situation, but if you come across an alternative way of supporting the artists, please contact me and I shall post it. As an aside, I strongly recommend watching the original PV of this song; in my opinion, it is fresh, imaginative, and visually captivating.

Check it out on YouTube (unless you have already watched the original PV)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Another Time (Thunderstone)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

A long time ago, I fell obsessively in love with a feisty and extremely intelligent young woman, but unfortunately she took me for a stalker and that was the end of that. She turned out, in the end, to have been something of a fraud herself, but not before she had exerted a deeply formative and beneficial influence on me. In fact, it could even be said that she is indirectly responsible for the understanding I have of the universe today. In any case, I have already written the treatment for a novel that was inspired by her, and as fiction anyway, it is a story I have a lot of faith in.

One Christmas, I made a compilation CD for her, with the most painstaking care, although I question whether she even listened to it. This was one of the songs on it, and here is what I wrote about it for her in the liner notes.

"To me, this song echoes the timid hope that forever seems to exist despite the horrific evils perpetrated by humanity. The rarer such a delicate and indispensible thing is, the more precious it tends to be."

Check it out on YouTube

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Silver Future (Monster Magnet)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

My love of Monster Magnet stretches well back into the last millennium, and some elements of this song -- such as the unsettling, claustrophobically restrained verse juxtaposed against the balls-out testosterone of the stadium chorus -- are epitomic of their work. So is the mastery with which the song's dynamics build to its glittering metal crescendo.

Overall, though, what appeals to me most is the sense of being at the threshold of something monumental and brilliant. Interestingly, silver is not the most precious imaginable adjective, yet the conviction and bombast with which Wyndorf delivers his prophecy make it clear that for the speaker, this is the best future imaginable. It has an unearthly, fantastical beauty about it, like cities of tomorrow depicted in sci-fi magazines from half a century ago.

I often have the impression that music is acting as a vehicle for information from the divine. I have chosen this song as the first in its series because of its powerful message: I stand at the edge of a silver future, and before me is the best of all possible worlds.

In the reality of my life, the construction of this website has been a grisly, exhausting and blood-soaked battle. Now that I finally have a place to land in the vast infinity of the virtual world, I feel as if I am finally ready to take that decisive leap forward.

Check it out on YouTube