MCast V3, Episode 3: A Closer Look…

I happened across NEST’s self-titled EP a little over a year ago, and I consider it a great moment of serendipity in my life.  I truly am a fanatic for music, and this album very slowly but very completely burrowed into my imagination.  Since reimagining the MuseionCast for this latest “season,” I knew I wanted to include this music somehow.  The greatest problem I faced was how to pick which songs to use and which to leave out.  So, instead of worrying the problem to death, I simply put it on the back burner and continued to listen to the album.

Then a funny thing happened.  Images, ideas, and bits of discarded stories began to insinuate themselves in the music.  I soon began to very strongly associate each of the six tracks with a particular mood or idea each listen from then on.  And I decided that I wouldn’t have to cut any of the songs (as long as I could get permission from the artists, of course), because each song begged its own story.

I could already tell fitting six stories into a half-hour program would prove difficult.  So I gave myself some hard rules and severe limitations.

Rule 1:  No single story could be longer than 500 words.

Rule 2:  I was allowed only one draft per story, no rewrites.

Rule 3:  I was required to record all six stories in one take (though I would be allowed to edit in post production).

I found these challenges to be frustrating, but also a lot of fun.  Temptations came often to fudge the rules, retake a line here, cut from or add to a story here, but I resisted.  For better or worse.

“Fiction 1” is set to the song “Lodge.”  This started with the image of a human shape drifting underneath the ice of a frozen lake.  It was a dream image, therefore the physics of the entire fiction are in question.  I don’t personally believe many of the things done are possible.  Maybe it’s a fitful night’s sleep for a people experience a winter that has been too long and too deep.

“Fiction 2” is set to “Kyoto.”  This is meant as a surreal “word-painting” inspired by accounts I’d read of the firebombing of Japan during the last days of World War II.  When my mind’s eye followed the droplets of blood to the dead pond, I knew to stop writing.  The floating mass of dead koi strikes me as both beautiful and profoundly sad.

“Fiction 3” is set to “Marefjellet.”  This is a few “what ifs” crammed together.  Based on characters and situations I created for a children’s book I wrote and illustrated for my daughter when she was five years old, I then drew the idea further out by adding elements from Dr. Seuss, Through the Looking Glass, and the Chronicles of Narnia.  What could happen if a parallel world really existed?

“Fiction 4” is set to “Charlotte.”  As an artist, I try to get inside the experiences of a whole menagerie of different characters, which is why I like first person narratives so much.  Sometimes I make myself go to dark, hopeless places as a result.  I very much love this song, but the fiction I wrote for it had to be difficult.  As an atheist, I take solace in the fact that eventually, all pain and awareness eventually end.  This may actually be the cosmic justice many of us long for.

“Fiction 5” is set to “Cad Goddeu.”  An adventure story inspired by the Tunguska Event of 1908…with a twist.  It’s set in a world where people use organic machines in a mish-mash of nationalities and time periods.  “BioPunk,” to coin a very bad term.

“Fiction 6” is set to “Trans Siberian.”  It wasn’t a difficult leap to make this about a trip by rail.  But the removal of inorganic objects from the human body?  That’s pretty much all me.

Please download the episode and enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

If you’re just interested in the music, the new full-length album is available.  It’s amazing work.

Thanks, np.

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