Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
I don't think we'll ever come to an agreement on this, as we seem to have two different philosophies and understandings of the world entirely. For instance, I consider myself an artist, which is probably why I'm so adamant about artists being the ones who make the damn art. And for instance, I have a very solid belief in the literal universe, where what science has established is all that is certain and not even that is even certain, which would be why all your talk about the abstract experience of art flies over my head.
A book: Words on a piece of paper. The words connect to our brain in the sense that we can read and comprehend them and translate their concepts to the language of our brain, and once they have been understood your brain starts thinking about them. But the book, itself, did not cause this. This is purely caused by the way your brain works. Even involuntary memory, if you taste a madeleine cake dipped in tea and immediately are flooded with memories of being a child and eating madeleine cakes with your aunt, memories you had not remembered until now, the cake did not have any special properties whatsoever! Your brain works by links rather than lists: You eat the cake, your brain connects it to a similar link which would be your old memories-- you never truly lost those memories, they were just buried-- and digs them up again. Your brain is the only magical abstract thing here.
And I'm gonna jump now back to my "No such thing as objective" argument. So what you are saying, as this is the definition of objective, is that if we found an alien race at the other end of the universe that grew up on a planet of fire and shit and basically were nothing like our civilization in terms of growth, and if it turned out they had been making art (again, sticking with my definition of "works designed to evoke thought") for thousands of years, their art would have the exact same objective standards as ours? Despite probably growing up in a culture where, say, slow pacing is the only way to keep safe from.. bears or something. So they've developed a love for slow pacing. But you're saying the general consensus from their own literary critics, even after having grown up in this "we love slow pacing" culture, would say "That is objectively bad."
That is what you intend to say? If you instead mean "objective by human standards," then that is still subjective, as human standards change. I love and adore art, friend, but I do not hold it to be sacred. I do not hold anything to be sacred, and I spend years analyzing these things and philosophizing on them to better understand the fundamentals of how they work, why they work the way they work. And I simply cannot see art as having any objective qualities to it, because nothing in this world is truly objective. Objectivity is something we made up, and nature loves to remind us that everything we think we know to be true and unchangeable is, instead, tentative and subject to change. So there is no way that the only thing in the known universe to actually be unchangeable is something we made up in the first place, especially not if it's so dependent on words and concepts that we also made up that are also constantly changing over time!
Do note that I am very picky with my words. Usually.
Here's another one:
Without the critic/reader you have no reason to make art.
This is a very ignorant and presumptuous statement to make. Maybe an artist makes art because they like to! Maybe they see it as a hobby. Or something to entertain themselves. I've done this, I've done far more than my fair share of this. The amount of years I have spent in perfect isolation from the world have been plenty long enough for me to go and write story after story after story after story, draw comic after comic after comic after comic, experiment as much as I can, develop my writing skills, read books! I spent five years, friend, writing stories no one would read. And I knew no one would read them, so why did I keep going? Why, if I had no reason to make art? Maybe I was an exception to that too because I was an abused kid wanting to channel my emotions. And maybe now more reasons why I have such a stubborn view on the world and such a passion for art are becoming clear.
I will conclude this by saying some positive things. Let it not be thought that your arguments are moot; every one of your posts gives me plenty to think about, every post challenges my beliefs and gives me reason to challenge my own beliefs, and that is perfect for a growing boy (of seventeen, for the record). And please let it not be thought that, just because I don't view art as sacred, just because I constantly argue that art is pointless and trite, that I have no respect for it. Art is quite possibly my favourite phenomenon in the whole world (next to women, at least!). I have devoted more of my life to creating and experiencing it than I imagine most people would assume. I've had so much time on my hands; I kinda had to. But the only thing I hold dearer than art (and women) would be my logic and philosophies, and art works by my logic, not the other way around. I develop my logic so that everything I experience can apply to it (which is also a similar method I use to come up with the vanilla Fear pages on the series bible, crafting the vanilla description so that every single interpretation can apply to it), not the other way around. I love art, but I cannot objectively claim it to be above the laws of the world, which is why I stress how little art is truly worth in the end.
When the world has ended, what will be left? Not art, I can tell you that. I like to hope that humanity will somehow die in such a way that we will leave behind archives of our art, but in order for a new culture to understand them, they would need to know our languages and our many, many conventions. And that's only if they don't already have tons of their own conventions that make them laugh at ours.
Art is meaningless in the long run, but still I devote my life to it in the short. Because it's all I have. ..which, I suppose, is another reason I find "Death of the Author" makes me jealous. I don't want anyone to take my art away from me. I want to be worth something, and I.. really am not good at anything else. But I acknowledge this to be a flawed and biased position, so I concede that I'm not fit to judge.
I've made all the points I can think of. You have increased my appreciation for "Death of the Author" greatly, I can tell you that, but I don't think I'm ready to embrace it full-on yet for the reasons I have described.
Member No.: 175
Joined: 14-August 12
Well, it seems as though you have made your closing statements so I shall make my own.
Objective and subjective are interlinked. We cannot have one without the other. We have changing rules as to the objective and even the subjective as a result. We cannot distinguish objective from subjective within our experience, no matter how hard we try. The world is made subjective through our words. Gravity is not gravity, it is just a word we came up with to describe weight and the physical law/theory thing that is Gravity. Nothing is not nothing. Space is not space.
I suppose a lot of our differences lie in our minds. You are a more concrete, engineer-like thinker. I am a more abstract, liberal arts kind of guy (fuck, I am a Philosophy and English major which is about as liberal arts as you can get hahaha). To me, an abstract is as real as a concrete. I think that the text is something separate from everything else, that it creates things itself. I agree that the brain does a lot of the work, but I think the text does an equal amount. That is all I can say on that. I suppose my example was a bit poor for that since it is not the same as a smell bringing back a memory, but similar. It creates connections within you by creating connections within itself. I know you don't really see this, its kind of a weird metaphysical thing.
You and I will probably never see eye to eye on "objective as a thing that exists." I like your hypothetical though, about the alien race, but, again, I have to bring up Dadaism and Marcel Duchamp. Their art was almost completely alien to the art critics. They did not know how to take it. Did it mean anything? If so, what? It took us years to grasp the importance of what they were doing. They, for their times, fell into objectively bad. Now, we think of them as rather groundbreaking and good, they were the avant-garde. Similar concept with the aliens. Objectivity can only apply to us, as a species. We cannot say anything for any other species, our experience does not allow that. Then again, we have subsets of objective truths, depending on culture. Culture decides what is objective, as a whole it decides. We decided what cake was and is, but another culture might not see that as anything with a name, so what is it? If you don't have a name, is it a thing? It falls under edible for them, so it becomes food, which is an objective thing. What we can eat never changes (unless you are abnormal and are unaffected by poisonous or harmful substances), just that which we know we can eat.
Similarly, that which we know is art changes, but that which is art never does. We find new things to apply the terms good and bad to, but never do we change good and bad, they remain constant. Those things we have already applied good and bad to remain good or bad.
Now, is it wrong to say that we can be objective. Yeah, it kinda is. We cannot be objective fully. So everything is subjective. Woop de fucking do hahaha. Who says opinion is less than fact? Well, many do, but I find it isn't so long as the opinion is well backed by reasons that make sense.
Your opinion of everything, every opinion you and I spoke of, I treat no less than fact. To me, objective and subjective should not be relegated to good and bad. They just are, and we cannot escape either one.
Art is perhaps the most interesting phenomenon because it does, on the surface, seem to be almost nothing. Yet art, writings, pictures, everything like that, have caused the flow of history to change. Machiavelli's "The Prince," Plato's "Republic," Nietzsche's anything, Dante's Divine Comedy, the Magna Carta, the Bible, the Q'uran, the Talmud, they all had stunning effects on our history. They are not sacred, they are IMPORTANT. Art is important. We can look at those works objectively (at least now) and see their worth by seeing their effect. Anything in the "Literary Canon" falls into this. They are in the canon because we can see what effects they have had, both during their time and the relevance to ours. Art is timeless, that is why it is great, why it is important. Well, good art is timeless.
Because we created the works of art, we can attach objective meaning to it. We did not create nature. We should not decide what it can and can't do. We are God when it comes to our works. We can do with it, judge it as we please.
What I said about "without the critic/reader" is perhaps to great of a blanket statement, but I suppose I never distinguished that the artist himself is a viewer in the end. I thought I mentioned he is his harshest critic. It was a harsh statement, and I fall into the artist that draws for himself, that writes for himself that makes music mostly for himself. It was wrong of me to say, I admit, at least in that way.
An artist can create as much as he likes to. He himself can consider that piece that the world may never see as art even. But in the end, is it art?
I'm not sure right now how to say this, but art is not always art, even though the creator thinks it is. It is not up to the creator to do anything by give the work birth, it is up to the world and the work itself to create its worth. I am not trying to diminish you, or anyone who has done what you did, I am just giving my perspective on this. When My Immortal was written, it was never art. Ever. The piece of paper with a sketch on it that you will never see, that is not art, no matter how proud of it I am. You have said before that art is hard to define, impossible perhaps (they have a whole section of philosophy, aesthetics, devoted to this whole topic of art), but it is not for the artist to define. He hopes it is art, but it is rather for the public to decide, and for the art itself. Sorry I keep devolving into that idea.
And if our world ends, out art is the only thing that can convey our culture. Art is how we know about the Greeks and Egyptians, at least a lot about their culture. Art will survive, just some of it won't. Did we laugh at the Egyptians when we first found them? No. Do we judge their art, yeah, and by trying to figure out their culture. Art historians do that shit. Do we laugh at them? No, at least I don't think so, because we always find stunning things about those past cultures. We will be a stunning, or hateful seeing as things are going the way they are now, but I guess equally as stunning, just not in a positive way.
And I kind of like the fact that you have held off until now to give your personal connection to all of this. I can see now where all your points come from, and it makes a lot of sense. I don't have that personal of a connection with my art. I distance myself from it, I try to be like Chekhov. But you have to see that Death of the Author does not take anything away from you, it just allows you to become unfettered from yourself, but, and here is a key thing to me that I haven't mentioned yet: only if you want to be unfettered. Damn the world and let yourself guide your work or damn yourself and let the art flow through you into the world, it is your choice.
I don't think Death of the Author is the be all and end all of criticism. No good artist does, nor critic and the public doesn't generally know about it so fuck 'em hahaha. I think it is important though.
And this debate has been enlightening. I love seeing different points of view and matching mine up against them, seeing what I can take from you and incorporate into myself. Here is what I consider our debate. THIS VERY DEBATE IS ART. And as such, it does to me what all art does: it gets me thinking, feeling, testing myself, testing it, testing the artist on the other side. My point, ultimately, originally when we continued this debate, was to show the positives to Death of the Author, as from what you said, I succeeded in a way. And you have to know that you succeeded. You showed me a perspective outside of the academic circle, thinking against it, something I don't get to see very often. And it will probably all influence me greatly.
SO, I guess I should just say thanks for this whole thing. Sorry if I offended you at any point.
Now, back to prog: BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME SUUUUUUUCKS!!! (and thus begins another book-long debate hahahahaha)
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
Postscript: Okay, now I think I'm finally starting to realize we might be discussing two different distinct definitions of "art," as well as a possible solution. Yours sounds like an abstract concept that exists independently of physical space but develops dependent on it. Mine's just, as I've said, "any work designed to evoke thought." Because of this, and because of my realization that your abstract-concept definition is a fairly common definition to it (my dad believes in a similar definition), I suppose I'll concede by changing my word. Art can be the abstract concept. A work designed to evoke thought will be a fussypott, a term coined by our own alliterator to mean exactly that (in contrast to a "goblat," a work without a proper intention to it, also his term).
We've had a good few discussions about art on this forum, and we pride ourselves in being one of those not-too-common places on the internet where such a discussion can take place without resulting in deliberate flaming or trolling. :D
Now then. Let me talk about Between the Buried and Me. With all due respect, I'm going to completely ignore your trolling attempt and just start rambling about The Parallax.
In early 2011, Between the Buried and Me released an EP titled The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, which I have provided in its entirety for reference. I got this EP shortly after its release, and I wanted to know as much as I could find out about it because I had grown to appreciate Colors and wanted to hear more of their stuff. But very few information was released about this three-song EP! All that was established was that it was the start of a rock opera, and that the rest of the story would be covered in a future full-length album. And, rather unfortunately, I don't know (m)any fans of Between the Buried and Me and numerous Google searches yielded little results, so there was almost no way of deciphering this work, at least until the second part's release. And with the nature of Tommy Giles' cryptic stream-of-consciousness lyrics and an apparently heavily-sci-fi plot, it.. really wasn't easy to figure anything out.
But after several months of (occasionally) listening to the record, I developed a theory I believe to be rather sound around early 2012. My thesis is as such: The Parallax is a continuation of both the song "Sun of Nothing" from Colors and the song "Swim to the Moon" from The Great Misdirect.
..really, the evidence is actually a little obvious. "Sun of Nothing" and "Swim to the Moon" have been declared, by Tommy Giles, companion pieces to each other. "Sun of Nothing," Giles describes, is about a man society has derogatorily dubbed "the spaceman" due to living in recluse. He feels no joy from his life, and he strives to take a spaceship and fly out into the sun, killing himself in the process but experiencing perfect isolation in the meantime. The song itself depicts his thoughts as he floats through space, going over his life and realizing he never really had it all that bad, but also knowing that there's no turning back now that he's floating away, and going to sleep content in isolation. "Swim to the Moon" is about a businessman fed up with the stresses of everyday life who goes to a beach, lies on his back on the water, and floats out to sea to get away from it all. The song depicts a few days of his drifting as he goes through various emotions, finally ending with pure joy. Meanwhile, the three songs on Hypersleep Dialogues have been about two characters named "Prospect #1" and "Prospect #2" who are both completely isolated from the world. Prospect #1 is evidently somewhere on the ocean, finding an island shortly into what he describes as his "fourth day" ("Swim to the Moon" took place over the course of three days). Prospect #2 wakes up from sleep to.. well, his passages are notably more cryptic, but there's a lot of machinery and I'm somewhat certain there's a mention of space in there. There's also the lyric "Have I become a God? I have been called much worse," which I believe alludes to "A spaceman, that's what they say I am." And then we have the occasional musical reference, which I admit I'm not exactly the most skilled at spotting, but I'm fairly sure about these. In Hypersleep Dialogues, the musical accompaniment to Prospect #1's passages tends to sound more technical and metal-oriented, with the occasional clean vocal singing over a technical riff. The musical accompaniment to Prospect #2's passages, according to my observations, tends to experiment much more and switch genres from time to time. And my theory is that this matches with the musical differences between "Swim to the Moon" and "Sun of Nothing," respectively! And then there's also a riff from "Swim to the Moon" which I'm 94% certain is excerpted during Prospect #1's passages in "Specular Reflection," but I'm.. just gonna end my ramble here.
If it turns out this is the case, then I will be extremely happy, as "Sun of Nothing" and "Swim to the Moon" are, in my opinion, fantastic pieces and I would love to see the band play with concepts like that. And I really look forward to The Parallax II: Future Sequence. I find that Between the Buried and Me has a distinct way of using their music to tell stories, a way that is just technical and heavy enough to bother the great majority of people I try to show the band to, but goddamn I love them all the same. Their songs have been the focus of my analysis for quite some time.
Member No.: 175
Joined: 14-August 12
I'm glad you ignored that trolling, it was not, obviously meant to be taken seriously.
I really like your analysis. I will have to look into those connections myself, see if I can see it. I really just need to re-listen to everything I own by them, which I think is Colors through Parallax. By the way, I LOVE their keyboardist and drummer. I really am interested in seeing what they do with Parallax Part 2.
Zacksquest, I am kinda surprised to see Caravan on your list. No clue why I am surprised since they aren't as obscure as, say Camel or Soft Machine, but they aren't one of the more popular guys like King Crimson or Yes or Rush.
Member No.: 175
Joined: 14-August 12
Also, I guess I'll talk about the band a bit.
If you don't know, Tesseract is a Djent band, those bands that stem from the sound Meshuggah pioneered. They take one aspect of them though and run with it.
That aspect is ambiance. They never have solos, or at least, no solos that are blindingly technical. These guys rely on rhythms and spacey interludes.
And those are done extremely well. Their rhythms are complex and tight, the guitars and bass holding everything down perfectly. The layers work beautifully. The drums are equally fantastic.
The singer, at least the one for the above song, is really what got me though. He becomes less of a singer and more of another ambient layer. He screams, but that is used sparsely and most of what he does is his clean singing. And damn, can this guy sing. This video above is live, and it is fucking incredible he does not start to suck with what he has to do. Obviously he has training, unlike many singers.
Really, that's all I've got to say. Also, I rather enjoy the lyrics.
So according to this admirably well-written blog post, The Parallax is actually about "Swim to the Moon" (yep) and.. "Lost Perfection." Which, itself, is the sequel to "Prequel to the Sequel." The songs themselves are available to listen to in that blog post. "Prequel to the Sequel" is an allegorical story about the end of the world brought about by 'three lovers,' and then "Lost Perfection" was about those three lovers (and a newborn, the narrator) watching the world burn.
So. So yeah. The Parallax is about a man who ran away from his life and a man who ended his world working together to fix the human condition.
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
I'm currently listening to the new Coheed and Cambria album. As much as I love this band's lyrics and a lot of their instrumentation, I still think their songs tend to be too simple for my tastes. And none of their albums feel, to me, like they're actually telling a story. They just feel like a collection of songs with an accompanying set of lyrics that are part of a story. Which, I will admit, is actually very cool in its own right! I do like that! But it means I get pretentious when I see people praising their storytelling abilities. Sure, it's a good story. But is it told well? Personally, I don't think so. But I respect them for what they do try for, and I have made sure to purchase every one of their albums; I am far from a hater of the band.
As for what I think of The Parallax, this is.. well. Hahahaaa. I finally got a chance to buy the CD itself (nearest music store is several towns away o_e), and I was so pleased to see it in creative packaging: The album is actually provided in a hardcover book. The lyrics and accompanying art make up the pages, and then the CD is at the back. Right from the start, it's presented to give the idea of a story.
OKAY NOW BEFORE I START GUSHING, LET ME TELL YOU CRITICISMS
I'm not sure where I stand on the continuity between The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues and The Parallax II: Future Sequence. I can name one musical passage that finds itself in both albums (to my knowledge, I stress), and lyrically there are numerous motifs the two share. But the EP stands as more of just a character study/introduction, presenting a vague look into the thoughts of Prospects 1 and 2. It also serves as a transition from the Prospects' respective backstories ("Swim to the Moon," "Lost Perfection") into the main story that is Future Sequence. And. ..well, I mean. I dunno! It doesn't actually do a great job as a transition, musically. Or even lyrically.
This brings me to the elephant in the room: I have no idea what happens in The Parallax. It's sorta the opposite of having no idea what happens in The Lamb Lies Down in Broadway; in Genesis' enigma, it's very clear what literally happens but people still spend years analyzing it to find out what the point of it all was, or what to make of the ending. In The Parallax, I.. well. If the lyrics hold the entire story, then maybe people can eventually piece together what happens. But it's all told in stream-of-consciousness from the perspective of two different characters whose parallels present them as almost the exact same person at different ends of the universe, and there is literally no way to tell the difference between the story's dream sequences and the realities. Add that to the fact that I'm 90% sure the story isn't told linearly, and you've got an album with a story more like a David Lynch film.
Now, on one hand, I respect that and find it enticing. On the other hand, it might not even be that nonlinear. We don't know. Though considering Tommy Rogers often explains what songs and albums are about in clear terms (he did this with The Silent Circus, Colors, and the premise of Prospect #1), maybe he'll give more context eventually. And yes, the lyrics are that confusing. >_> Hell, I can actually follow them for the most part until "Telos," where a woman is introduced that I'm fairly sure is probably Prospect #1's backstory and is the reason he's burying his head in the ground in "Extremophile Elite," but "Melting City" then introduces a character named "The Black Mask" who I'm guessing is either that same woman or is just some other name for a/both Prospect(s), but it may even be a new character entirely for all I know. But the Black Mask is only mentioned in "Melting City." And then the Night Owls come in on "Silent Flight Parliament" and and and what the hell even happens in that song, I have no idea and I can't guess without having a better grip on the previous few songs. And I'm not even gonna try to figure out where "Bloom" fits into the story. By which I mean I'm 90% sure it's backstory for Prospect #1 that happens during the events of "Swim to the Moon," though whether it really happened or was a dream I don't know. But wait, actually, "Bloom" could have happened directly after "Telos" because Prospect #1 mentions a personal reset through selfish release which I'm fairly sure is his oceanic escape in "Swim to the Moon" but he says it like he plans on doing it again, possibly abandoning Prospect #2 and just hiding away in the ocean out of anxiety, which would fit in ironically well with the start of "Telos" and okay wow I hope that's what the story is. And then in that case, "Bloom" is what happens to him when he goes out to sea; he is pulled underwater by hiveminded jellyfish people and he meets Queen Sea. Or he dreams of it. And if it's a dream then Queen Sea could be a metaphor for his combined fear and desire for the woman he left behind who killed herself out of loss. Or did she? She got into a black box and mentioned fire and "Goodbye to everything" and then the epic "Telos" chorus of "Goodbye to all I've known, I love you" but then that line is directly followed by "Rebirth, reborn" so what the hell.
But then let's say that's what happens, let's say Prospect #1 runs from Prospect #2's decision in "Telos" and goes out to sea. Let's say he really does meet Queen Sea ("BEBOP SKIPPITY TIPPITY TAP THOSE TOOOEEEEESSSS"). In fact, let's say that the Black Mask is Prospect #1's former love reborn. There's a lot of lyrical motifs introduced in "Melting City" that recur in "Silent Flight Parliament," one of which being "before/after the rise of the sun," leading me to believe that the two songs happen on the same day. Which could make sense. But let's look at the chorus of "Melting City."
Faceless in a sea of space, my propulsion from their pain.
I. ...I mean. I have two things this makes me think of. The first would be that Prospect #1's former love killed herself (and then was reborn?) through burning herself alive, so maybe she burned her face off. And... somehow
waaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute I literally just said "waaait a minute" out loud. Because I just thought of something. What if. What if. What if Prospect #1's former love was the "Sun of Nothing" protagonist? The only problem with this theory would be that "Sun of Nothing" mentions the protagonist being called a spaceman, but hey, maybe it could just be a general term. ..no, it doesn't sound right. It doesn't match the "She Writes" section of "Telos." And after reading that again, I'm pretty sure her "black box" is actually her house, which she sets on fire after long enough with Prospect #1 gone. She sits in her house and says goodbye to everything, writing a note for him to read.
But that brings to mind another small plot detail: In "Lay Your Ghosts to Rest," Prospect #2 mentions a letter he wrote but we never find out what's on it. Then we think we see it in "Extremophile Elite" but it turns out to be one for Prospect #1 but it's excerpted as "Please know I love," which isn't said anywhere in the letter seen in "Telos." So what's going on there? And then "Lay Your Ghosts to Rest" also has a mention of Folder 502 and Night Owls but it's confusing and baaaah
I'll talk more about the album later, I'm freezing and my hands are numb.
I am.. moderately successful. I didn't even wind up writing most of my different interpretations of what each scene could have meant, partly because it had already taken me a good few hours to write that post as it is.
Now, let me also just make this absolutely clear:
The Parallax II: Future Sequence is probably one of my favourite albums at the moment. Musically and lyrically, it hits everything I could want from a favourite album. In the context of Between the Buried and Me's discography, it is a wonderful progression from The Great Misdirect, which was also one of my all-time favourite albums (and probably will remain a classic in my heart no matter how much people tell me the album sucked compared to Colors). In many ways, I still prefer Misdirect (namely, its being a concept album without having all its songs connected; its songs were standalone, and also its many fascinating experimental sections), but in many other ways I much prefer Future Sequence (namely, its use and expansion of motif, its ability to make songs from albums even as far back as The Silent Circus bring on new contexts, and its melodies). I just. Wow.
Really, wow. Freaking wow.
I.. don't normally make my avatar based on music. But my avatar has been based on Between the Buried and Me twice now. When I first joined this forum, it was the album art to Colors. Now, it is a Night Owl. And hell, that reminds me: The Night Owls were pretty much my favourite part of The Great Misdirect; they captured my imagination and my excitement so damn well! And as stupid as this might sound, "Fossil Genera" is one of the only songs I have heard that legitimately makes me scared. Which is a big reason I took so much inspiration from the song when coming up with Topography Genera. So, with all that in mind, I just. I want you to imagine my excitement when I realized the lyrics to one of the catchiest bits of "Silent Flight Parliament" was "I'm the Night Owl." Especially when considering "Silent Flight Parliament" is one of my two favourite songs off of Future Sequence.
AND THEN I want you to picture my excitement when I listened to "Bloom," found it to be the single catchiest goddamn song I've heard, fell in love with it, and waited painstakingly for the lyrics, only to find out that the lyrics were about goddamn Queen Sea, a hive mind of tentacled water humans who are conveyed through prog*.
Think about all that for a second. That is what I love about this album on the surface. I love even more about it when I analyze it.
* Note: Queen Sea might not be a hive mind; she might be just one tentacled water human surrounded by jellyfish, or she might be entirely a metaphor for the ocean, or she might just plain be a dream sequence. BUT EITHER WAY, MAN
...okay hi I really needed to gush about this band. >w<
Member No.: 175
Joined: 14-August 12
Dude, that's what this thread is for: getting fucking frothing at the mouth or soul destroying'y furious about prog. I gotta admit, your posts about this album, and BTBAM in general, make me want to like/listen them/it. I will read your long ass post about the album after I listen to it a bit. I just got it today and will start listening to it tomorrow as I walk to class and in between classes. Probably will write up a review of it on my OOG blog, though it won't be like your analysis (seriously man, just glancing at the post, you seemed to really put your all into it).
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-May 11
So when I was walking to school the other day and having a mini-anxiety attack, I got to thinking about The Parallax. I thought it was strange that, at least going by my analysis of the album I linked to in my last post, there didn't seem to be much in terms of personal happiness, a concept frequently discussed in Between the Buried and Me's works (Colors was all about it, for instance, and various songs on their first three albums were about the pursuit of happiness).
But then I broke down what I had gathered the story to be. This is doubly relevant to the thread because this includes my interpretation of things, which I can only have thanks to Death of the Author! :P
Prospect #2 is sort of rather the antagonist of the story, a man who had ended his own world ("Lost Perfection") and decided to go and end all traces of humanity. Whenever Prospect #1 tries to escape the stresses of life, Prospect #2 arrives to pull him back in ("Extremophile Elite," "Silent Flight Parliament"). Prospect #2 explains that he sees humanity as a failed race pushing endlessly to compete, born to compress their thoughts and conform ("Telos"), alluding to Prospect #1 burying his head in the ground and citing it as evidence of his beliefs. But as (what I think) the story tells us, Prospect #2 was told to end humanity by the Night Owls ("Lay Your Ghosts to Rest," how I interpret the lyrics), who are said to be highly-evolved beings who can see and hear all and actually developed humanity as an experiment (how I interpret "Silent Flight Parliament").
But then, that sounds kinda like Prospect #2 might be a little....... biased. Like his analysis of humanity ("Telos") is based on his own flawed experiences, and.. well, he was one of three people involved in ending a whole goddamn world! So who says he's right?
On the flipside, Prospect #1 would be the protagonist, a man who responded to anxiety by running away and leaving his life ("Swim to the Moon") and comes back to find his wife had killed herself (how I interpret "Telos," "Melting City"). Here is a character who has been shown to not take anxiety well. When faced with noise, he buries his head in the ground ("Extremophile Elite"), and when faced with Prospect #2's proposal to end the world, he runs away to his home (how I interpret "Telos"). But as we're told, this isn't just some anxiety disorder; he feels truly happy in seclusion ("Swim to the Moon," "Extremophile Elite," how I interpret "Bloom"). Then again, in his old life, he would often return home from work to have the time of his life with his wife ("Telos"), so he has good reason to prefer silence and seclusion. Prospect #1 is shown to be a really admirable character, one who meets Prospect #2's bleak outlook on humanity, and responds to it with a rather humble "Why can't we step back? Are we really this important? Just because we can doesn't mean we should (Let things happen naturally)" ("Telos").
Of course, Prospect #1 isn't without his own flaws. His laid-back and anxious personality led to his own wife's death ("Swim to the Moon," "Lunar Wilderness," "Telos," "Melting City"), but then again, that in itself was an accident ("Just for a day, I told myself..."). He lacks the full responsibility, and Prospect #2 has too much misguided responsibility.
The point is that, when Prospect #1 finds his wife dead, he curls up with her corpse and sleeps ("Silent Flight Parliament," how I interpret it), trying to salvage some level fo happiness in his life. It's only Prospect #2, driven by the Night Owls, who kidnaps Prospect #1 and flies off into space in his spaceship ("He knows I'm looking for him. This thievery is for the bettering of all humankind, so it seems"). And I'm pretty sure they also end that planet as well, though I suppose there's also the possibility that they just both decide to fly away from it all, or even fly themselves into a sun/a black hole. The story ends with them drifting off into space, so what happens is kinda hard to tell.
..the actual point is that (I interpret) The Parallax is a tragedy, a rather difficult story to follow, but when you know what's happening, it.. gets pretty depressing. It's two characters who lose all they care for and react differently to their tragedies, leading in (some sort of) downfall. And then it all turns out humanity's orchestrated by the Night Owls anyway, so it becomes a really badass sci-fi story in that regard.