Concept Mixtape: Apocalypse

  • The world is nearing its end. Reality is disintegrating, evil rises and people's lives are torn asunder. Some special individuals rise and are instrumental in the great calamity of the last days before the end.


    That's the backdrop for this imaginary album. I'm going to post several tracks with short snippets to weave them together. Genre is mellow electronic, with notable exceptions. Maybe some of you will like bits of it.


    --


    陳悅 - 綠野仙蹤 (Chen Yue - The Wizard of Oz)


    For hundreds of thousands of years, humanity strode upon the earth and conquered what they could find. Becoming masters of great courage and prowess, they acted out the dance of life in a wholly new fashion. And their backs were oft laden heavy with the sorrows of awareness, as even with the vast power in their hands, they could never truly attain their desires. Hardship, death and longing were ever their partners, as it is with all living beings. Try as they might, time and time again they found themselves the tragic captive of their own humanity. And so it shall be forever more.


    We start this story with a lone individual who, like so many others, carries the weight of the world. Yet there is great strength in this one, and great fervor hidden behind a mask of stoicism, a face painted with the bittersweet wisdoms of many years of humanity. We would rely on this noble warrior to save us in the coming storm. And yet, could the warrior be naught but a grand imagination?

  • Kammarheit - All Quiet In The Land Of The Frozen Scenes


    Symphonies may move man, but they may not move mountains. Against the lifeless might of nature, effort is sometimes irrelevant. Facing us is a long cold and dark, a desolation like no other, after a rift appeared and unleashed a harsh winter on our world. The powers that linger surmise that something else is coming through the blizzard, something not altogether benevolent.

  • Røyksopp & Susanne Sundfør - Running to the Sea


    An epitaph from the other side by a mind and being undone. When tragedy hits you so deep, you are but a walking shell, numb to the fact of your own death. In the aftermath, the vaster forces gradually engulfe you and the cold fire of your heart slowly ebbs out.


    The world we once knew is quickly slipping from us, even in memory, as malice embraces even the remotest corners. There is valiant resistance by unlikely alliances, and great power surfaces within the remaining population. Yet one by one, our hopes are wrested from us, as the darkness exploits our every weakness. In the great struggle at the end of days, this and many more tragedies litter the long and calamitous days. Humanity is on its knees, in puzzled daze.

  • Asura - Atlantis Child


    It never did take much to crack the bones of human society. Ashes turn to ashes, dust turns to dust, and we find ourselves once again amidst the ruins of our forefathers.


    Of course, even the greatest fire makes fertile ground for new shoots.


    After the downfall of civilization, and as extinction threatens humanity, latent evolutionary forces kick in. The survivors live as hunted animals rather than the kin of the men and women who once owned this planet. Like sleepwalkers, they break out of the coccoons of human construct to find a new form of life. Unencumbered by panic, hubris and indignation, these children thrive and learn to resist.


    We face the dawn of humanity's true potential.

  • Neurotech - Retrieve


    What humanity once was, it is no more. It is as if an ethereal presence guides the actions of the children of humanity. Maybe something artificial that survived the fall of civilization. Maybe God has come to our aid in this critical moment, or perhaps the Earth itself has awoken into consciousness.


    Humanity's consciousness, however, has evaporated. Whatever is driving these beings, it is not awareness and reason. It is something else.


    While we once had technology, our children understand the workings of the universe like a second nature. With their very bodies, they can manipulate their surroundings more effectively than our machines ever could. Their actions are concerted in a way we were never able to achieve.


    The Soldiers of the Earth get ready for a grand struggle.


    As one, our children hunt. They fashion incredible weapons to track down and eliminate the enemy. This is becoming a fight not simply for survival, but for the very existence of life as we know it.

  • For a fuller account of the Wars of Existence, check out Neurotech's album Evasive: [Youtube]. It fits so well with the theme, but I didn't want to fill the thread with videos of just one artist. It's good stuff though.


    Enter the Endless


    Posthumanity is still rapidly unfolding. Sentience has reached a point more vast, more profound, than ever before recorded. While the war rages between life and the invaders, there is also a hidden war inside of all of our children, a war of what to be and a struggle to understand what they are becoming. There within their minds, worlds within worlds cradle a remnant of what used to be.


    Day and night, all is the Hunt. To hunt and to be hunted, to consume and to be consumed. Nobody requires sleep anymore, but energy is growing scarce. As the fighting goes on, the planet is eaten at an unprecedented rate.


    Maelstrom


    Such rampant evolution may be life's last resort. Against this foe, there is no holding back. For some time, it has been growing vast ugly structures across the lands, and within these impenetrable cities, it amasses control and power. Replying in kind, our children build vast city-entities to pool their efforts. Meanwhile, fighting happens within, in the unending labyrinths of these complex structures.


    Through the Divine


    As posthumanity soars into reaches we once thought reserved for the gods, a collective sigh of tiredness reverberates through the shared minds. Even here, even now, is there no solace and no redemption? Behind the vast walls of underground complexes that now riddle the crust, our descendants search the skies within as they drink the heat of the mother soil.


    Then, a glimmer of light shines through the despair, beckoning with irresistible hope.


    The strain and yearning pushes in like a wedge. Even as our progeny raise their hands to the darkened skies in a spiritual searching, their feet are held tight by an unyielding darkness.


    They were duped.

  • Machinae Supremacy - Hubnester Rising


    The adversaries were underestimated. What power they bore, what ancient wombs of the universe created them, we shall perhaps never comprehend. They are not alive, they are not even physically embodied. They seem to be, in fact, immortal.


    Eventually the enemy gets under our skin, and they become undistinguishable from us. All remaining control breaks up, and the global war is a fact. The infighting goes on between numerous groups that are unable to stop or to relent, forever seeking the enemy.


    The greatest battle yet is waged over an entirely new weapon, a perfection of posthuman endeavours in biotechnology, aviation and sub-nuclear weaponry. The vast exoskeleton embraces a human host, extending their body and sense of self.


    As the dust settles on the battleground, a lone survivor finds herself shocked into the consciousness of her forefathers. The only waking human in the world, surrounded by carnage and devastation.


    In order not to bleed to death, she fuses with the machine and pours her rage and grief into it. A new malice is born, a new star appears on the sky. And then there is fire.

  • Neurotech - Evasive (title track)


    An epitaph. Across the globe, the ice has settled in deep. Below it, the scorched ground holds little life. Even the precious gases of the atmosphere are slowly trickling away. And at this point, half-way through the life of the solar system, it is too late for life to again take hold as it once did.


    Of the enemy, there is no sign. Did it not wish to own the planet, or has it now lost interest? Of course, there is a chance it has achieved exactly what it came for. To end the infestation of life that plagued this rock. And who knows, maybe it came as a test, to lead the unworthy to a hastened self-destruction.


    Like a tide, destruction had washed over the planet. If not for humanity, would things have ended differently? Were we the cause of this, because we would not lay down our lives? Who is to say that it wasn't we who were the darkness, and the invaders merely mirrored our darker nature, acting as we would in its stead. As we vanished, so did the enemy. Doubtless, its motives were beyond us.


    These conflicted thoughts course through a heartbroken crowd. For indeed, there are survivors, hidden away safely. By foresight or by folly, the human story is not over. Much depends on what happens next.

  • Solar Fields - Cocoon Moon


    Let's go back in time a bit. Why did all of this happen in the first place?


    Humanity had entered a new golden age of discovery. Besides preliminary space travel, we had gone to impressive lengths to discover the fundamental truths of the universe. A grand research project was underway, to probe the origin of time and glimpse what was before creation.


    Two genius young scientists, and also childhood friends, were leading the program. Then, at the promise of glory, one betrays the other cruelly. The shock leads the victim to reconsider the project, and looking over it without the crazed frenzy of discovery, it starts to frighten her.


    She decides to take the lead of a very different mission; a new moon base. By force of personality, she influences a whole lot of the plans. The investors come to regret this dearly, though, because the mission goes terribly wrong. A great explosion and a terrible loss of life puts an end to lunar activity for a long while.


    It was a lie. The whole mission was a cover. With a core team of volunteers, she repurposed the equipment and started drilling down into the lunar soil. Going off the radar entirely, they set off a very long-term plan: a last-resort backup plan for life on Earth. Just in case something very, very terrible was going to happen. So, deep inside the cold rock of the moon, their small machines are starting to build larger machines, transforming the rock into life-support systems, launching mechanisms, and many other complex artefacts. A great machine is slowly growing outwards, embracing these committed exiles.


    Meanwhile, their remote sensors are picking up the events unfolding on Earth.

  • For billions of years, the forces of nature conspired on this Earth to create a vast community of beings. Slowly, that community enveloped its host and changed it. Looking from the outside, you could almost say the planet itself was alive. Perpetually evolving, this grand ethereal being ensured its own survival past disasters and disturbances.


    Perhaps it was its providence that nudged humanity to make these preparations. A hope had been set in motion before the calamities even began. And now, after the dust of devastation has settled, as the future of life itself is in limbo, their efforts come to fruition. Deep inside the moon, the fruit of the Earth has been growing.


    M83 - Un noveau soleil


    The builders spare a moment of reflection as they ascend for the last time. Upwards lies the grand Ark, the ship containing not only all the legacy of humanity, but the samples and means to start anew on a different planet. A likely location had been found, a promising world far far away. This will be the one and only Ark, leaving behind a system no longer able to produce such marvels. It may be our only bridge to the future.


    The engines ignite, and as the ship speeds upwards, hope is at last kindled. At once, the sky explodes into a sea of stars, and in that dark night, a pearl hangs precariously. The crew feel a blend of emotions never before experienced by man. A changed Earth lies below, first by us and then by the calamity. Leaving it behind is heartbreaking like nothing else. At the same time, it instills a larger perspective in the human mind. Were we, in the end, the agents of the Earth itself? Only we could have made this happen, only our evolved awareness could be used to preserve life in such extreme cases.


    Those set to crew the ship, however, will never see its destination. What awaits is a long, long journey through the dark. For as long as they live, these men and women will keep making sure that the Ark is functioning and safe. For the chief part of its journey, it will guide itself. Upon its arrival on the new world, the recreation of life as we once knew it will be in the artificial hands of the vessel itself.


    What those faraway children will think, and dream, and laugh about, we can never guess and never know.

    • Official Post

    I reminded for a moment of Origin (the anime movie). It's not the storyline that catches me but the poetic expression. I feel as though the older I get, the more incapable I become of expressing anything that isn't clinical. It reminds me of a time gone by when I was a little less dead and boring. My hat off to you, sir.

  • Thank you! I haven't seen Origin yet, but I really want to watch it after reading about it.

    I feel as though the older I get, the more incapable I become of expressing anything that isn't clinical. It reminds me of a time gone by when I was a little less dead and boring. My hat off to you, sir.


    I'm like that sometimes too. Growing older isn't always a linear progression. Moving through such phases is of great philosophical and psychological interest to me, and it's also one of the themes of this mixtape. Inner worlds can burn, and they can fade, and when the emptiness becomes familiar, building a new world is really hard.


    I've let this album linger long on the theme of utter destruction, because maybe it is only in the new pieces, gleaned through the cracks of the old shell, that a better world can be made. Watching the pieces as they fall, not just grieving their fall, could perhaps hold a clue to new life.


    The progression is that of an artistic process. Life can be such a process. We pass into death, we try to rise, we are mistaken and fall deeper, and then after a long time, we slowly build up momentum and are reborn stronger. Not the way we expected – but we had to shed all those imaginations during the journey, and only that allowed us to reach a future that we could never have imagined.

  • THE END


    Here's a thought for the credits. Maybe it was all just a dream?


    M83 - Wait (Kygo Remix)


    You wake up sweating from your terribly intense dream. You're alone and the sun is a sliver coming through your window. For a moment, you are very disoriented and you feel a pang of loneliness at waking up just before sunset, as if seeing the back of a dear friend far away.


    Then you sit up and remember that yesterday was the most incredible day of your life. For years, you had been striving and yearning for the unattainable. Every day left you unsatisfied, and you gradually forgot who you once were and the things you once loved. I guess, you had whispered to yourself, this is what growing up means: the death of meaning and good things. From this point on, I will spend all my power merely staying afloat in the great chaos. But then, all of a sudden, wonderful things happened one after another and you found yourself in a position you had long stopped envisioning. Your life had become what you had dreamt it could be, and it gave you back your hope.


    That must be why your dreams were so profound.


    You rise and see that it is actually early morning, that silent time before anyone and anything wakes up. In your heart, you find a small room of sadness for your life that was, and insecurity for what lies ahead. You wrap these feelings gently in warmth and embrace them, for they do no longer threaten you and you can see the beauty in them now. As you step out into the cold and fresh air, you let your bare feet touch the newly grown grass. With a cup in hand, you watch the progressing sunrise with a growing elation.


    --


    Alternative description: "...and on the sixth day, it created mankind."