26 October 2013

Ballade, my third rock opera

This week, I finished writing a short rock opera that I started back in 2006, not long after I finished The Silent Spectrum. There were many years of interruption where I was either doing Android programming or working or just simply avoiding music. Creativity can fill you with such self-loathing that I thought I'd never finish it. Then, in a manic mood at the beginning of this year, I recommitted. The melodies have been in my head constantly since 2006, so it's nice to have them out.

Here's the main page with lyrics, downloads, and streaming from SoundCloud. The recording is converted from the score with viola used for the voice part. Apologies for the notable lack of dynamics. I hope to have the time to work up a live recording soon. Here's the story:

From the late 1990s and early 2000s, Robby Todino tried to use the Internet to connect with people in an attempt to deal with disruptive memories from his childhood. To accomplish this--in the period before online social networks--he obtained spam email lists and mailed out thousands of requests. His hope: that those who had the missing parts to his time machine would sympathize and respond. This is what I think happened to Robby and his time machine.

And the songs:

  1. The Ineffable
  2. ... was it a truth that I should have believed?
  3. ... a clear discrepancy between intent and practice ...
  4. ... I hope that there's a dark hole in the sky for me someday ...
  5. ... a mountain up close is no longer a mountain ...
  6. The Calculus

I had originally heard of Robby Todino from a 2003 Wired article titled "Turn Back the Spam of Time". To me, Todino was the perfect metaphor for how people want to use the Internet in particular, and technology in general, to fix their lives. Online connections become a palliative for past shame. Yet within the pathos of Todino's schizophrenic-ish crusade, there's a basic commonality with the actions of most everyone else in the world. And, with all sincerity, you have to envy the madcap passion of his requests. Here's one from a 2001 newsgroup posting:

If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!

My life has been severely tampered with and cursed!! I have suffered tremendously and am now dying!

I need to be able to:

Travel back in time.

Rewind my life including my age.

Be able to remember what I know now so that I can prevent my life from being tampered with again after I go back.

I am in very great danger and need this immediately!

I am aware that there are many types of time travel and that humans do not do well through certain types.

I need as close to temporal reversion as possible, as safely as possible. To be able to rewind the hands of time in such a way that the universe of now will cease to exist. I know that there are some very powerful people out there with alien or government equipment capable of doing just that.

If you can help me I will pay for your teleport or trip down here, Along with hotel stay, food and all expenses. I will pay top dollar for the equipment. Proof must be provided.

To me, he'll always be one of those patron saints of the Internet. Sort of an iconic representative of something eternal and eternally true. The Wikipedia page Time travel urban legends has some further information. And--filed under there's-never-an-original-thought--several other musicians have used him as inspiration for their compositions.


[ posted by sstrader on 26 October 2013 at 1:24:58 PM in Music , Personal ]