This last month has had the tallest loops steepest drops ever recorded. Emotionally speaking, my world has never been shaken around so much. Can I sue for whiplash?
Music. It sets moods. I find that when I’m depressed, I’ll listen to something like Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow or Delirium’s song “Just a Dream.” Maybe I want to rage… I have heavy dance beats mixed together by PJ Produkt called “Release.” Nostalgic trip? Give me any Newsboys album or Intuition by DJ Encore. All of these push specific emotions through me. But no album has ever pulled emotions out like this one.
This Binary Universe by BT is by far my favorite album. I first fell in love with it a few years ago because of its unique blend of genres and style, and the fact that it put such vivid imagery into my mind without any lyrics whatsoever. Plus knowing that it’s entirely generated through electronic synthesizing, C programming and circuit bending makes it mind blowing. But now I’m even more in love with it because, if I pay enough attention to it, it yanks me around and puts me back together again in a relatively neutral state of emotion. This album is the only known trigger for my emotional reset button.
All That Makes Us Human Continues
The album came with a DVD filled with the complete album set to abstract music videos, all of them very different from one another. I never understood any of them until recently.
The first track’s video is a series of flashing lines, shapes, and colors that form a vague construct of gears and frames.
Interpretation: I see these as the representation of the perpetual construction and destruction of society, cultures, and individuals. Nothing is ever completed, only built upon and eroded over time.
Thunder opens this song. The video shows a moonlit ocean with scattered stratus clouds. A giant flying mechanic thing flies over the barren waters, followed by several innocent white doves. The machine reveals its erie – and almost evil – long, curly tongue. One of the doves breaks from the group as it flies into the moonset. After breaking through thick fog, it reaches an island filled with strange creatures – some covered with eyes, others bouncing and waving seemingly involuntarily. This dove escaped an evil leader to find its own way to a community of unique, content, and happy individuals, none of them pretty as doves, who all have a home on a grassy island with a nice tree lit with paper lamps. A steamboat passes and churns galaxies from its exhaust fume.
Interpretation: Don’t follow; be. The universe we’re in is just unwanted gas by the wayside.
The Internal Locus
Film shards run overlaid against a blurred image of a robot. Living underground, this robot is building machine rabbits and projects them out of a tree stump into the living earth above, home to a tall, overall-wearing farmer. A fish manages to find its way into the robot’s underground. As the farmer plants seeds, the robot takes the fish and tries to replicate a machine after it, but it can’t distinguish between its head and body. So the robot makes a rabbit with a fish head. This fish-rabbit hates what its creator has done, so it leads the farmer to a power line. The farmer digs it up, breaks the line, and finds himself in the industrial underground. The robot flees as his factory crumbles. A vine starts to grow underground and overtake the pipes and boilers, while the machined rabbits continue to live above ground. The farmer explores the underground and makes friends with the robot.
Interpretation: Technology and nature do mix – beautifully. Progress and nature will follow.
An open desert with white sand and overcast skies opens the video. More barren desert-scapes. Then symmetrical frameworks. Then circles. Then curves and spirals. These look like faces and eyes in time. The majority of this video shows a bunch of intertwining tubes surrounded with spirals. Colors used could almost resemble the inside of a body. Another long spiral tunnel leads to an aperture-like opening, which reveals more solid spirals, and eventually a sunflower face. The video replicates and rotates to form golden rectangles from the video frames.
Interpretation: Everything comes from the golden spiral, golden rectangle, golden ratio. But the spirals themselves are made of even more intricate components…
See You On the Other Side
Analog static and flashes of light set to ambient music. A large jellyfish moving through space blips in and out of the screen. Waves form a tornado-esque entity of light in space, and the camera moves quickly through this nebula. Debris and gas form another golden object which breaks apart and distorts. Columns of ribboned fire. The analog scan lines continue to march up the screen.
Interpretation: Falling apart and being distorted is what makes us beautiful.
The Antikythera Mechanism
Another barren landscape, laden with snow and black rock, is traversed by a woman. The woman approaches a small cave, discovers a clear cube and, as she holds it, it falls apart slowly into smaller cubes and rectangles. The woman keeps wandering, but her vision is slowly distorted into bends and polygons. Cut to fast moving streaming metal in intricate shapes. As the music progresses into a tone apropos for a battle scene, the woman begins to try to find her way through snow covered forests, but the polygons continue to distort. Cut to intertwined moving shapes and curves more sinister than the others. Some resemble skyscrapers. The video ends with a still of the shapes frozen in time, then the cube morphing back into its original form.
Interpretation: Though confusing and possibly dangerous, the search for new is what makes life the experience that it is.
Good Morning Kaia
Video collage of BTs daughter, Kaia. Home videos, pictures, etc. A letter from BT to Kaia overlay the screen and reflect on frailty, humility, and love. “These are simple words from a simple man. I watched you arrive. I have watched you grow. I have watched you learn. I wept tears of joy. I will watch you understand. I will watch you empathize, and I will watch you create… For the stars conspire for you, and I will stand by your side. ALWAYS. … We are bonded by more than blood. I will love you today, tomorrow, and even after my last breath.”
The music, the visuals. They have made me cry the only cleansing tears I’ve shed. For this reason, This Binary Universe will be an album I will own and cherish for decades, if not the rest of my life. It’s also the reason why I think I’ll be all right after this dreadful fucking month.