PHILOSOPHIES BEHIND THE ALBUM
– FIRST WORDS –
‘First Words’ was written to provide a down to earth perspective of the immediate environment that a person living in the U.K. or any other capitalist nation sees around them. We chose to record the ambient sound of a shopping centre to give an idea of the droves of absent minded pedestrians that while making our way through every day, we inevitably become a part of. The poem was written to try to capture the sense of soullessness that surrounds these places, the words describing the stark contrast between the vast potential of the human individual, and his or her acceptance from social conditioning that they can be no more than a worker and family member, their lives playing out the same script that the millions around them rehearse every day. First Words seeks to create a sober base for the listener to begin the album.
All words by Chess.
– BLURRED VISION –
‘Blurred Vision’ is a short spoken word poem by Radiance, a singer, producer, and lyricist affiliated with Opanarise. The words are set over the original introduction to the following track, ‘Elements’. She describes the state of the youth of today, their problems with alcohol and the devastating effects of gun crime.
All vocals by Radiance.
– ELEMENTS –
While making the album, we became aware that it needed a strong track after its introduction. After months of different versions and ideas, we came up with ‘Elements’, the idea being to span the four elements of the Alchemical world (Air, Water, Fire, Earth), and somehow incorporate them into a piece of music. The short poems introduce each element i.e. ‘let me breathe’ for air, and set the scene for the oncoming passage. We sifted through hours of vocal snippets from various sources to find suitable material, which was relative and did not sound out of place. From here we built upon the layers to create a sense of impact when each element begins to play. The message behind the track is to realise that whatever the stage that we find ourselves socially or politically, we will always be under the guidance of the most simple aspects of creation.
The track is mostly sample based with composed strings and singing on the breaks by Rosie Corlett. (myspace.com/rosiecorlett)
All words by Chess.
– ASCENSION –
‘Ascension’ was first written in 2004, and lay untouched for the best part of four years. It was intended to be used as a background soundscape, but the inclusion of a clip from Dr Jacob Bronowski’s ‘The Ascent of Man’ brought enough to the track for it to be a suitable breather between ‘Elements’ and ‘Survival’. Dr Bronowski is speaking on the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp where he and various members of his family were imprisoned during World War II. The track aims to give an image of the stupidity of our race, and the simple teachings that if upheld, would by default change the way we coexist with nature and our own kind. The words I wrote attempt to capture a contemplation of the expanse of a lifetime, while standing in a place of no hope surrounded by endless potential for positive change.
The track is half composed half sampled, singing and words by Chess.
– SURVIVAL –
‘Survival’ was the last track to be written for the album. The inspiration for its content came after we made the chorus (sampled from Fantan Mojah) and began to shape the main instrumental. We felt that it was important to have a lyrically strong track at the beginning of the album, and so Survival came to be. I had experienced a series of dreams of huge waves crashing through cities and shorelines, which became the influence for the first verse of the track. I began this verse with the image of a young mother and son wading through a flooded London to the safety of an office block inhabited by groups of survivors. There, her and son are given treatment and as she begins to fall asleep, a singer’s voice echoes down the corridors; it chants ‘Time……….Comes around’ (the idea being that he is another survivor and is saying that this has happened before and will happen again). As she lies next to a warm fire with her son in her arms, she thinks back to when the events leading up to this point began, and so begins verse two.
I wanted to create an apocalyptic recount of a future of political and natural upheaval. Economic recession, increasing military activity in the Middle East, war, and a series of natural disasters (Please get in touch if you wish to play this at your wedding), leading to an eventual unification of world powers. The idea is that by attempting to meddle with the most basic framework of our planet, the organisations responsible bring about their own destruction by their creator, however in the midst of utter turmoil, there is hope as extreme situations can both separate and unify people, as is the case with the mother and child and her fellow survivors. The track ends with the poem ‘Everybody Sang’, by the famous war poet Siegfried Sassoon, who is commenting on the armistice that brought the end of World War One, which he fought in.
Below is an illustration on the front cover of ‘The Week’ published two months after the album was first released.
– PREPARATION –
‘Preparation’ was intended to be a gateway track as you pass through the initial stages of the album. We decided to leave the track free of any lyrics or speech samples so that the listener can relax between listening to ‘Survival’ and ‘Avarice’. We wanted to create an atmosphere that kept the darker mood of the first section of the album without being too heavy. Preparation was written with the thought of a need to prepare ourselves for the future in mind. It is entirely composed bar the drum loop.
– AVARICE –
‘Avarice’ was another track that was produced as an instrumental long before becoming a complete track. Avarice in short means greed, something which has provided huge problems for us humans on the minor and major scales. The track features Jahson (myspace.com/jahsonthescientist), Chess, and Kanetik on vocals, with Kanetik singing on the intro. We wanted to do something different with the composition of the track, so we forgot about the standard verse, chorus, verse outlay and instead recorded a conversation of us talking about Civil Liberties in the UK (for more information on Civil Liberties see the Database State article), this gives the listener the space to think between verses and keeps the track aired.
The word ‘avarice’ means ‘extreme greed for wealth’. The levels of profiteering that we see in the developed world seem to make no sense. Could it be that these huge sums of money are just the strings that hold up the financial structure? Surely if there were ceiling in place to limit money made by major businesses it would release huge amounts of pressure on their customers and workforce? Idealistic it may seem, but the idea for people to keep their gold in secure buildings controlled by other people in exchange for pieces of paper must have seemed ludicrous at the time.
Avarice tries to explore the mentality of government and business, with an emphasis on unity and positive action towards change.
Mostly composed, singing by Kanetik and Chess, Rhymes by Jahson, Chess, and Kanetik, with Chess on final chorus.
– ATHENOR –
‘Athenor’ is a track about Alchemy. Please do your own research into this subject as my description of its meaning on the track is solely my personal understanding of its teachings. It is not my place to describe it now, as it is an extremely powerful practice and has no sympathy for irresponsibility.
The speech sample at the beginning of the track is German philosopher Karl Jung.
Singing by Rosie Corlett (myspace.com/rosiecorlett) and Chess. Rhymes by Chess.
– TRUTH –
‘Truth’ features a recorded snippet of the famous playwright Harold Pinter’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. He was suffering from throat cancer at the time but managed to write and recite a brilliant piece on his disgust with the invasion of Iraq, and the various hypocrisies that followed. The aim of this skit was to bring up the point that we must not get carried away with searching for one truth that us as a group will be able to appreciate. The real truth is that which is within you, which guides and protects you and provides only you with the benefits that you require to live. Through this understanding we rise together as accomplished individuals, rather than groups who expect ‘god to do them a favour’. The last of the lines of his passage “sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost” are intended to relate to the content of the next track, Dragon.
The Piano is played, hums are by Chess, and main guitar is sampled.
– DRAGON –
‘Dragon’ came about by accident. We were trawling through drums loops and samples when suddenly two parts came together perfectly, seeming to fit over what was left better than anything we had heard previously. The instrumental seemed to possess a potency that could be listened to for hours (you know you have made a good beat if you can leave it playing and not get bored!). From there, I decided that this would be a good base for an emotionally heavy lyric, and started to write. 192 bars later I was finally done! (Most verses are 16 or 32 bars)
The content of the verse is based around a fantasy relationship. A young man has been left alone in the deepest stages of love and sits in his room remembering the experiences in the late hours of the night. As he begins to drift away, time slips from him and he starts to see images of his lady through the course of history. She becomes an Egyptian Pharaoh, Roman Empress, Italian and eventually English Princess, the world swirling behind her as she walks through the vision before him. He retells the story of Saint George, the patron Saint of England, who slew a terrifying Dragon on the edge of the Middle East with a lance through the chest before it could devour the Princess of a nearby village.
As he falls deeper into unconsciousness, he drifts into his past life as a local blacksmith – shaping the rolling hills of England and eventually recreating her body, its form suddenly turning to fragile wood and burning with the final cast into the furnace that would have perfected his creation. Struck with disbelief, he turns from his workshop and drifts above the sprawling city of Rome, where he comes to rest only to see his love dancing with a lumbering host of Renaissance Princes, their drunken gloating eyes transfixed as she moves through the room. As the panorama changes, looming Doric pillars become sun beaten Sumerian Carvings and he listens to her Mother from a window as she pressures her Daughter to bear children with a suitable husband before bringing disgrace to the family.
Time suddenly retreats as he falls deeper into sleep and him and his fellow friends frantically journey into the Caucasus Mountains to evade tidal surges during a great deluge hundreds of years before. As he watches the thundering rains from the shelter of a cave high up in the rocks, pools of collected water become the outstretched Lochs of Scotland and he is once again in Britain. Seated on the banks of the Loch he sees her monochrome photograph drifting on the gloom of the surface of the water, and he is himself with her again, in this instance during her greatest time of need, the room surrounding them a latticework of resonating interwoven lines.
The surface of the water changes to a deep turquoise blue, sistered with underwater reefs and a plane swoops by overhead, carrying her to an inaccessible island on another side of the world. As he turns from the shoreline, a small knife appears in his hand and he curses his simple upbringings, walking back to the village where it all began, and into his workshop. There, lying on the anvil amongst the horseshoes which he left to cool centuries before is a circular pendant with a blood red crystal eye. As he holds the object to the light of the furnace, he begins to see that the roots of his own existence are not quite as simple as he, and those closest to him may have originally thought, their own callous expectations causing them to take into their own hands the metaphorical lance which, as with the story of Saint George, was thrust into the heart of the Dragon to keep it from devouring the treasured Princess of the nearby village. The pendant glows with the lineage of the past Kings of England, their images eventually fading into his own awestruck face.
Dragon is not intended to be a love story, but more of an appreciation of how much such a profound experience, if understood, can teach you about the nature of our existence and the dynamic of our true selves.
The lyrics for ‘Dragon’ were recorded on Saint George’s day by complete coincidence.
The track is mainly based around a sample, with composed strings and small instrumental touches, and all rhymes by Chess. Daniel ‘Sawdust’ Saunders plays the solo guitar over the final section.
– FLIGHT –
Flight was intended to bring the listener back down to earth after the long journey of Dragon. We recorded the ambience of a harbour side building site, the newly exposed earth exciting a group of hungry gulls overhead. The spoken sample is taken from ‘The Corporation’, an excellent documentary covering the wrongdoings of major businesses worldwide. The basis of the track is to highlight the point that there will be a terminal ending to the way we are living in the present day, if we do not take drastic measures both personally and on a worldwide scale to better the situation.
– MIGRATION SUN –
‘Migration Sun’ was again an older track which was first conceived in 2006. It is intended to bring in the first seasonal change of the album, where the heavier atmospheres of the previous tracks become lighter and more elative in sound. The introduction features a spoken sample of Credo Mutwa, one of the few remaining traditional South African Sanusis or Sangomas, who is pleading for us to wake up to the world we live in. The inspiration for the lyrics came from long conversations about moving away from the UK to live elsewhere in the world, after coming to the conclusion that there are simply better places to be regardless of their crime rates or economic stabilities. The UK provides many services to its citizens which in comparison with less developed countries make it on paper one of the best places in the world to live in. Although there should be no reason to leave this island (the fourth most populated in the world) something just does not feel right. Could it be the looming grey skies? The seven months of perishing cold followed by warm rain? The UK is empty in her heart. Her politics are sterile and over meticulous, her people lacking in substance. She boasts some of the highest levels of alcohol abuse, and twice the rates of heart disease than her similarly populated neighbour, France. Something pulls at the heart, constantly whispering ‘Go’, although the words are drowned by the incessant chants of drunken revellers who stumble through her rain washed streets. The world awaits. Migration Sun, for the soul of one.
Singing by Kanetik and Chess, rhymes by Kanetik and Chess. Track is half sampled half composed.
– DOORS –
‘Doors’ is about the transition from darkness to light. It represents the change in mood that the previous track; ‘Migration Sun’ brings to the album, seeking to encapsulate the metamorphosis into one fluid poem.
Words by Chess.
– THE TREE –
‘The Tree’ is another older track which goes back to 2006. It took several forms before vocals were finally added in 2008. ‘The Tree’ helps to bring in the seasonal change of the album, lifting away from the dark climate of the poem ‘Doors’ and helping to convey the positivity of its words.
It is a track about spiritual progression and understanding. The lyric is a metaphor for the Sepirothic Tree, a system of spiritual teaching associated with the Kabbalah or mystical side of Judaism. Its 22 stages map the makeup of the human consciousness, steadily climbing into higher realms of awareness in the same way that a tree climbs for sunlight and oxygen. At this stage of the album all that matters is the soul. The political and social commentary of the previously darker stage of the album has faded away, revealing the mapping of intuition and the roots of all things.
The chorus; ‘and so we walk into the sky’ sums up the lyric and hopes to galvanise the track’s message.
Rhymes by Chess, singing by Kanetik and Chess.
– PROGRESSION –
‘Progression’ is a piece completely composed by Kanetik. We felt it carried a sublime and reflective atmosphere and so chose to use it to clear the air as the listener progresses into the lighter area of the album.
– LAWS OF SCIENCE –
‘Laws of Science’ arrives at a point of the album where we hope the listener is at their most serene. The vocal samples are researcher David Icke explaining that the laws of science are not as concrete as we may think. There are only rules understood by science, which are constantly being reworked, and understood by people because they trust science. The introduction of quantum theory has finally met its tail with the spiritual understanding that has been calmly recited to us for thousands of years.
The arrogance of the modern scientist has attempted to plant posts and markers on that which has no form. They want to measure the unmeasureable, and capture what does not exist. Our science only can explain the densest levels of existence, ignorant of the other energies measurable around us, and vast amounts more which are not. The five sense human consciousness manifests its physical surroundings from only 4% of the energy around us, condensing from the unknown as a torch picks up objects in the darkness.
Laws of Science attempts to be a track that conjures deep reflection in complete tranquillity.
Half sampled, half composed.
– WHY –
‘Why’ is a speech sample taken from the film ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ a fantastic documentary covering the nature of reality and quantum theory. It is intended to come across as a glimpse of the reality of what we are doing as humans; from an angle without philosophical debate. Are we not more than simply units of labour in vast economic systems? Of course we are, only the real issue is not that we are part of these systems, but wilfully ignorant of the fact that we know we can change our lives, sacrificing the power of our minds for the immediate pleasures of the day to day working life.
– BETTER DAY –
‘Better Day’ marks the end of the serene mid section of the album, and the descent once more into darkness. The poem in the middle was originally written as a standalone piece, and then incorporated into the track as the two moods complimented each other well. Better Day is a track about feeling truly positive in your heart, no matter what the situation that you face.
‘Better Day’ is entirely composed, poem by Chess.
– NINE –
‘Nine’ was the first track we made. It goes back to 2004, and was the accumulation of a lot of experimentation and thought. We are both huge Hip Hop fans, although the changes in its sound over the last 15 years have caused us to search amongst other genres for production that bears the signature sound of the mid nineties.
Advances in music technology have helped various genres enormously. Reel to reel magnetic recordings are now crystal clear 24-bit wave files. The issue with rap music is that technology does not aid it; in fact it detracts from it. Use the metaphor of a boxing match on TV: you want to see the action, but not in too much detail otherwise it becomes disturbing.
Good rap music is founded on simplicity. Intricate detail begins to separate the various parts of the track until it lacks cohesion. To achieve the honest and wholesome sounds of mid nineties rap music, producers need to do their research and source the relative equipment used at the time. Please do not listen to talking heads who tell you about using analogue emulators etc. It doesn’t sound the same.
Conscious and intelligent lyrics are one of the most positive aspects of good rap music. It brings the genre out of its stereotype, and helps us to realise its potential as the most descriptive genre in music.
Nine was an effort to incorporate these values into a track. We avoided a chorus, and I wrote until I felt that the verse was finished. The resulting feedback gave us huge confidence to continue with a full project. Nine was re recorded in 2009 (The year of the Ox) with better production and some added instrumentation.
The speech sample is Bruce Lee speaking during an interview. The track is entirely composed.
Singing by Kumaree, rhymes by Chess with some interjections by Kanetik. Guitar by Kanetik.
– PERSIST –
‘Persist’ is a track about strength and persistence. The speech samples that begin and end the track are Mohandas Gandhi, the hugely influential and inspiring Indian thinker. The lyric covers the need for strength in this world, and the huge obstacles that many of us face on the way to our realising our dreams.
It is only with tooth and nail dedication that we can materialize what is most important to us, and this track seeks to be a celebration of this. Again, the track was conceived as a basic structure in 2007, and then completely revised for the album.
The instrumental that accompanies the main verse is half sampled half composed, with the final ending mostly composed.
All singing, words and rhymes by Chess.
– GETTING IN TOUCH –
‘Getting in Touch’ is probably the one track on the album which directly appeals to the Hip Hop connoisseur. It is probably the most rap-like sounding track on the album. The speech sample at the beginning of the album is taken from the film ‘Network’; as the main character pleads with his audience to wake up and begin looking at themselves. ‘Getting in Touch’ is in essence similar to the other tracks on the album, but presented in a slightly different format. We intended to make something that carried our message in the shape of a verse-chorus-verse style track (a formula that has been a standard in rap music for twenty years).
Rahma Ali, a very talented vocalist and producer (myspace.com/rahmaali) sings the chorus, with Kanetik on the first and third verses, and Chess on the second and last.
Getting in Touch bridges the gap between the more neutral atmospheres of the previous tracks and the intensity of ‘Cracks in the Paradigm’.
Chorus by Rahma Ali (myspace.com/rahmaali)
Singing by Kanetik and Chess
Verse 1& 3 by Kanetik
Verse 2& 4 by Chess
The track is mostly sampled, with some composition in the break, in which Sudanese singer Emmanuel Jal is sampled.
– PEACE –
‘Peace’ is taken from the manga series ‘Patlabor’. Two colleagues stand on a harbour’s edge and discuss the definition of what we know as peace. One of the reasons that we included this skit in the album is that it is important to think about the words which we use in our everyday conversations and read in our various publications. Words are not inherently powerful; they are amalgamations of sound, punctuated by volume and emphasis. A word gains energy by being associated with an event, action, object, or any other thing. As the particular entity gains energy, so does the word associated with it. With this in mind, it is an interesting thought to wonder whether two overlapping words such as ‘peace’ and ‘piece’ could have an infringing effect on each other. Why should the word for one of the most highly sought after states of social, political, and ultimately human affairs be tinted with another word whose definition is that of being a smaller part of a whole? Surely the word ‘piece’ bears a negative effect on the word ‘peace’ in our minds? It would surely help the process of understanding and changing the situation in and around us if the English language had a word for peace whose phonetic spelling was entirely exclusive, it is rather important after all.
– CHANGE –
‘Change’ arrives at a stage of the album where light is slowly regressing back into darkness. A psychic medium speaks of her experiences, and the importance of her understanding that what is inside will be balanced on the outside. The track prepares the listener for the longest and most intense stage of the album.
Mostly composed, with some small samples.
– CRACKS IN THE PARADIGM –
‘Cracks in the Paradigm’ was intended to be the one track on the album which directly confronted the threat of one world government and the function creep of security and policing measures that we are seeing in the world today.
The break in the middle of the track features speech samples from George Bush Senior, ex Prime Minister Tony Blair, and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown, all speaking on the subject of ‘The New World Order’. Of course anyone mentioning this outside of politics is a tin foil hat wearing nutcase who probably believes in UFOs, so where does it leave us when we hear three of the most influential people in the world talking about it? It must be a different New World Order, or so we hope.
Jordan Maxwell, a researcher of forty years, is sampled at the beginning and the end of the track. He outlines the treat that is posed by the institutions of world government, reminding us of the huge importance of positive action against the direction of negative development, and the need for us humans to wake up and realise that we are being led by profoundly evil people.
Iron Braydz (myspace.com/gmabraydz) features on the second verse, with a blistering lyric that summons biblical images of desert storms consuming hoards of marauding troops.
‘Cracks in the Paradigm’ is the album’s look into tyrannical rule, working with the idea that if we can honestly look at the situation that we are in, we will gain enough understanding of it to be able to change ourselves and thus the situation itself.
Singing by Chess, rhymes by Iron Braydz and Chess. The track is mostly sampled, with some composed parts.
– MEDIATATION –
‘Meditation’, as mentioned on the explanation of ‘The Map’ is a reworked version of ‘Black Paradigm’ which we decided not to use for the album. Instead we agreed that it would work as a short instrumental skit to clear the air after the long haul of ‘Cracks in the Paradigm’. The track aims to create an impression of the energies surrounding us, slowly calming into the meditative tranquillity of still water.
The track is based around two samples, with composed strings and sounds, and background vocals by Chess.
– THE MAP –
We wanted to create something completely different at this stage of the album. We had been experimenting with atmospheric sounds to create differing moods during the transitions between tracks, and some of these atmospheres had inspired spoken word lyrics and speech snippets. With this in mind, I decided to write ‘The Map’ as an ad lib, with the simple image of an old warrior meditating by the seashore as its beginning.
The origins of the story were explained in another track called ‘Back Paradigm’ which did not make it onto the album (we decided that it was too sample-heavy to use, but track 25: ‘Meditation’ is a reworked version of its instrumental)
The story begins during the aftermath of the battle of Tanamine, a fictional mountain citadel renowned for its mineral deposits. Our character awakens from unconsciousness as the dawn sun rises over a snow cloaked battlefield. As his vision clarifies, he witnesses the decimated remains of his section strewn across the blood soaked ground. Soldiers moan for help as the more fortunate desperately edge back towards their battered lines. The towering silhouette of Tanamine bears over the mottled plains below, its high stone walled defences bathed in the glow of the rising dawn.
He stumbles to his feet, and slowly begins to edge towards the smouldering buildings. As he progresses, memories of the battle begin to creep into his mind. He recalls the long siege of the city, finally ending with the calling in of the ‘Black Paradigm’, a small unit of highly trained shock troops who covertly enter cities and kill all within. Their impact had been shocking. He entered Tanamine and was met with a scene of utter destruction. Still regaining his balance from his prior unconsciousness, he numbly observes the smouldering houses and slain inhabitants, making his way to the city’s temple, its exterior heavily scarred but still intact. Below is the painting ‘Temple’ by Leon Botha, almost an exact image of my vision of the temple of Tanamine.
Inside the temple he encounters the last remaining survivor, an old prophet, who lies critically injured at the far end of the darkened interior. Here, his soul is questioned and his intentions judged. After having decided that our character is deeply remorseful of his army’s actions he is handed the map as the prophet passes away. He returns to his section, the map hidden, and the story does not re ignite until decades later.
The story begins decades after the long saga of Tanamine. Our character has returned, and has lived a prosperous and responsible life. The society in which he lives operates around a highly controlled system, where external influences are strictly illegal, with punishment of death for the most serious offences.
After Tanamine, our character buried the map given to him by the dying prophet at the foot of a willow tree located in the dense forests surrounding his home city. The only others who were aware of the map’s existence bar our character were a handful of military Pages; helpers who maintained weaponry and equipment etc, who were strictly loyal to their masters, even over the rule of their government.
After having been informed that the security forces of the city had become aware of his possession of the map, he bolts back from the shoreline where he had been meditating towards the city as the sun sets and darkness falls around him. On entering the city, he is aware that capture would mean certain death. He creeps through the gloomy streets and eventually reaches his home. He frantically gathers vital equipment together and hides the mementos of his time in the war of Tanamine. It is at this point the he meets the guide. (Needless to say, bumping into an eight foot samurai apparition with the face of a wolf would probably spark a question!)
“Who are you?”
“I am a keeper of dreams, a guide who has walked from the end of where your map leads”
And so the journey begins.
This track is entirely about persevering through hard times and finding the strength to continue on. We are all fragile. An egg may observe another egg as having a shell five times thicker than its own, giving the impression of invincibility to the weaker, but the reality is that both will break in exactly the same way if dropped. Sometimes people experience immensely traumatic things, and find themselves in an area of their minds where their consciousness has condensed from a vast array of choices, to a handful of terminally important decisions; the light hearted options of before seeming completely irrelevant in the circumstances.
It is in these places that we see the root of ourselves and decide whether to continue on. If we make the choice to advance with positivity and perseverance in mind, one can become aware of a guiding energy which operates within us all, however in a huge amount of people it seems to work as a very subtle signal to calmly usher us through life. It is pretentious to digress any further, important events require important decisions.
Our character had lived with the trauma from what he had seen in Tanamine for many years until the threat of death came to visit him. One of the psychological symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an interest in information which questions authority. The passing on of the map after the battle of Tanamine signifies the gaining of hidden benefits that these events can have for some of us. His burying of the map signifies his receipt of a guiding energy, but his ignorance of it until most needed.
The map is the awareness of a path in life; the guide is the manifested inner strength to walk that path.
The city and its strict laws represent the inner boundaries that we set ourselves, its pinnacle, the warden (head of security) being the character of fear.
Thus our character’s inner strength (the guide) has defeated fear (the warden).
As they embark on their journey, they must first escape the confines of the city. This is representative of the awakening to the world we live in. The city represents the womb like state of a conditioned mind, its borders strongly defined and guarded by the two balancing forces of the ego, the Id and I, represented by the guards of the city gates.
For them to progress, our character’s strength (the guide) must overcome his childlike ego (the guards) by non combative means. The guide approaches the guards and they fall to the ground, the blood vaporised from their bodies, not a violent move made. Now that the trappings of the ego have been left behind, they take a torch from the walls (representative of the guiding light given to us from birth) and enter the darkness of the surrounding forest (the unknown world/non predetermined life) in search of the map. After having been located by our character, its seven binds are cut to reveal its detail. This signifies the seven most commonly accepted stages of the alchemical journey that that embrace the experiences of the voyager.
As the map is discovered, our duo is compromised by a group of soldiers with a civilian in tow. It is at this point that the guide rises to their pursuers and questions their intent and loyalty to their superiors. The narration fades out at this point, but the story will be explained in further work.
‘The Map’ is entirely composed, with some small bits of sounds design. All vocals and narration by Chess.
– THE GUIDE –
‘The Guide’ interjects the narration of ‘The Map’ and ‘The Desert’. The story will continue in future work, but we thought that too much spoken word at this point of the album would slow things down. ‘The Guide’ is one of the oldest tracks, which was first put together in 2004. It was completely reworked from its original state, having the production and structure tightened up, and re recording the vocals (the album took over five years to make, during which time my voice deepened significantly). We made the track to bear a positive and strong energy of achievement amongst the chaos of our world.
The lyrics attempt to carry a message of perseverance to the listener, delivered in a slower way to let the instrumental play more of a part.
As a track, ‘The Guide’ seeks to encapsulate musically the entire story of ’The Map’.
Based around a sample, with composed strings, and all singing and vocals by Chess.
– THE DESERT –
‘The Desert’ was originally written in 2006 but completely revised nearer to the album’s completion. Our character and his guide have endured a gruelling journey and have finally reached the desert, the hardest phase on the route to the map’s destination. Our character is physically exhausted, mentally drained, and the further he walks, the weaker he becomes.
Eventually, the pair rest amongst a rocky escarpment, and for the first instance, our character contemplates whether he has the ability to continue. The guide sits beside him, sharpening his sword with a sharp piece of stone. This is symbolic of a testing time’s ability to make one stronger. At the point of his defeat, the guide explains to our character that all is energy, and he is all that exists in unison over all time, and further.
The words begin to fade at this point, as the story will be explained in full in our next project.
‘The Desert’ is about strength in the most desperate of circumstances, and the knowledge of and belief in your destiny carrying you through the obstacles which always arise when a soul seeks its true meaning. The track is a metaphor for the areas of doubt that one experiences when embarking on a journey into the unknown, be it a business venture, adventure in other countries, or decision to create or do something original. It is an area of no return which tests ones resilience and eventually galvanises a person’s strength to achieve what they have set out to do. Crossing the desert brings untold benefits, however becoming consumed by doubt will weaken the journey maker to the point of defeat. I believe that you must commit to your chosen undertaking with everything you have to achieve your personal goal, whatever level it may be on. Constant half heartedness eventually corrupts the spirit, sending the journey maker into routes and eventually a destination that their spirit did not originally seek.
The sounds are entirely composed, narration by Chess, speech samples taken from the audio book ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho, a huge inspiration for the whole album.
– KNOWLEDGE –
‘Knowledge’ was intended to be a return to the flow of the album after the long saga of ‘The Map’.
‘Dez’, a Parisian lyricist, singer, and poet features on the intro. A translation will be available in the lyrics section over the next few weeks.
We wanted Knowledge to be a less intense track, with a more contemplative atmosphere than its predecessors.
The lyrics are focused on the benefit of the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge of the self, knowledge of the keys, knowledge of your wealth, and knowledge of the seas. It is the basis of advancement, the platform on which we cultivate wisdom and hone our skills to navigate through life. Every instance deepens the mind and opens its aperture to the world. If we stop learning, we stop growing.
Singing by Elize and Chess, poem by Dez, and lyrics by Chess.
– BRICKS –
‘Bricks’ was written to be the last collaborative effort of the track. As with ‘Doors’, the introductory poem was written as its own piece, and later incorporated into the track. I wanted to create an image of the futility of the modern western life, the materialism, selfishness, and wilful ignorance that we see around us.
I try to make clear that we need guidance that if is not manifested within us will probably materialise as a single leader or small group. For me, I live with an overwhelming feeling that something is wrong, and will not continue for long. The country which I was brought up in and love dearly is a mass of drunken louts who fight their way through their unhappiness. People seem to have no substance, their hearts are empty and their ideas lack passion. Young men should have fire in their bellies and anger in their eyes to change what is wrong. Where is brotherhood and loyalty amongst us? We fight each other not realising that the truth that sits and laughs in our faces every day.
Our women are overworked and distrusting, now finding it somehow patronising for a man to be chivalrous towards them. They lack affection and elegance and have replaced their feminine grace with hard edged work ethics. Britain needs focused, educated, self disciplined problem solvers if she wants to heal. We need to ostracise the mental pollution from our areas of acceptance and begin to heal ourselves and let our land lie down and rest. Britain is a fantastic country ruined by the gluttony of her citizens. Pubs and Bars are now the places of worship. We indulge in the most carnal behaviour at the end of our working week; drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, taking drugs, vomiting and urinating on the street, fighting, and returning home to rut with an unknown person in a substance fuelled stupor, who then cheats nature the following morning by swallowing a pill that destroys what truth she may have created inside her.
We are so far from where we should be. Love is the energy that makes you do what you need to do. It is not a chemical process which engages you with a sexual partner in order for you to mate. You must feel truth when your heart is quiet. Feel that energy and grasp it harder than anything you could imagine. Protect it, cultivate it, nurture it, and help it to develop and grow until the whisper in your core becomes the fire in your eyes. Let nothing, even from those most dear to you, distract you from it. It is the thread towards all that is true and is the most profound mission in life. Its path helps you to develop, cleanse, understand, strengthen, and grow. It takes you through ecstatic profundity and terrifying darkness, rooms of doubt and vast seas of turmoil, but when you know where you are going, all, to the deepest level of yourself, is understood.
You must work every day to purge fear from your mind, until its claws are unpicked and it has vanished into the ether. Study your surroundings and feel that which is true. With this in mind, truth, or your truth will begin to reveal itself to you. We are all stronger than we could ever imagine, nothing is too much. Believe that you are your soul’s image and you will be that person. We are born into a realm of high levels of social conditioning that seek to convince us that our hearts speak a language which is to be seen in relation to the mental illnesses that cause us to lose touch with reality. The person who is doing what he or she should be doing and is in their centre is so profoundly in touch with their reality that it makes the most supposedly realistic people seem insane. With fire in your mind become the person that you are, as though all around you conspires to manipulate and suppress you.
Feed your mind, body, and soul with stimuli. Look at people with your heart, not your eyes. Never adjust your beliefs to suit conversations or your beliefs will stop conversing with you. Relish the tense atmospheres created from bold statements, it is the sign of new territory just as a muscle shakes when first used.
Accept no compromise and understand that every day is a brick towards the structure that you create in the journey of your life. One day, we will all finally turn around and see what we have created, be it a tomb or a temple.
Love is the understanding of oneness, but who am I to talk?
Intro poem by Chess. Verse 1 rhyme by Chess, 2 by Kanetik, 3 by Radiance.
– BALANCE –
‘Balance’ comes at a stage of the album where we hope that the listener has understood its flow and concept. In my view, everything is balanced by a counteracting force. Thus nothing is dark without light and blind without sight. With this is mind we can welcome bad times as being precursors to positive change, and know that negative actions towards us bring word of blessings in the future.
Vocals by Chess.
– HIGHFIELD –
‘Highfield’ was intended to be the culmination of the preceding tracks on the album, both musically and lyrically. We made the track originally in late 2004, and it lay untouched for the best part of three years. The idea was to create a highly emotive track without losing the rhythm of the beat. The claps came about by accident, giving the track an atmosphere which was perfect to outro the album.
French singer ‘Dez’ features, his lyrics; ‘laissez-toi allez’ meaning ‘let yourself go’ in English.
My verse was written to convey a message which I had not managed to get across previously. I wanted to comment on the futility of revolution, and the inevitabilities of the misuse of power. For me, it is especially important these days to realise that being involved in a radical movement which seeks to physically change its surrounding governmental environment is not worth the while. We all want to see change in the world, and that is a basic nervous reaction to the awful state that the world is in. However the structures of control are from a very old class who have extended qualifications in kicking arse. Trying to somehow bring change by smashing windows and planting bombs will not help anything; the participators only become a catalyst for more legislation and so control.
In my opinion, patience and assertiveness combined with common sense is the answer. The cycle of chaos-theocracy-aristocracy-democracy-chaos has run for thousands of years. Is it a human trapping which makes us desire societal change in our lives? Why do we grab for it, often acting before thinking and destabilising countries which may not have been just, but at least were not in chaos.
My view (and that of many others) is that harmonious, responsible, and intelligent humans will create their reflection in the structures of leadership which nature creates as we begin to pool together and form communities. It is a natural occurrence in nature; it always has and always will occur. We should not seek to find ways of leadership not existing, but find ways in ourselves that leadership does not need to be a constant issue of contention.
Idealisms aside, ‘Highfield’ seeks to be a track that pleads for people to let themselves go from the perpetual cycles of government and society, and beginning the path towards understanding themselves and thus making educated actions in the physical world around them.
Singing by Dez, harmonies by Kanetik & Chess, vocals by Chess.
The track is entirely composed. Speech samples from ‘Voice of the Buddha’ audio book.
– LAST WORDS –
‘Last Words’ was written with a simple message. We wanted to end the album with a down to earth atmosphere that brings the listener almost to the point of where he or she started, ending on a calm and thoughtful note.
The message is: If you can see that there is something to do, please do it.
Words by Chess.