Last year I decided, as the result of a mixing mistake, to drop all of the mid-range out of a song from the autobiographical MC Debris album, The Scientist and His Science.
The decision to fundamentally alter the frequency spectrum of the song led directly to gutting and filleting many other elements out of its musical texture…huge frenetic drumbeats. A wall of lush, unimaginative techno-drivel. These decisions radically changed the assumptions, themes and goals of the entire album. So. Paths fragment in unavoidable and exponentially complex ways. Like songs, relationships, ales ordered - a shake or stir to any one of them will alter the future. Consider this:
Each and every step in your process redefines all previous steps.
In The Scientist and His Science, there is a pair of synthesized reoccurring male voices, conjured by some uppity British codger algorithm. Likely inspired by Statler and Waldorf, the two unpleasant critics from the Muppets, they represent the person or place I might be in the year 2045, had I not accidentally removed the mid-range from one song and/or had I not quit my music theory-composition professorship at Seton Hall University, as I did earlier this year: A gloomy, dark ecru, routine academic maxi-pad of an institution, replete with tweed, some future version of sansabelt, office hours and space chalk, lecturing on a combination of chemistry and music composition — an ology of the future made possible by some other, unexpected series of poorly conceived academic conclusions.
In the Prologue to the album, my alternate future-self is giving a lecture on the properties of ethanol. The automatic quickly becomes disfigured and cross-pollinated by a series of painful recollections. Broken promises, anxiety, enmeshment, mistrust, depression, combatant families, therapy, alcohol, academia, two distinct brinks of divorce and 1804 miles of distance between my son and me.
Here’s a partial transcript of that lecture:
“I am a scientist and this is my science. Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs, best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.
It is also used in thermometers, as a solvent and as a salve to deep pains to the spirit. In common usage, it is often referred to simply as alcohol or spirits.
Ethanol is a two-carbon alcohol with the molecular formula, CH3CH2OH. Its empirical formula is . An alternative notation is CH3–CH2–OH, which indicates that heartbreak of a me group (ME1–) is attached to the carbon of a Man-Peep group
(–MP2–), which is attached to the oxygen of a family group
(FG1–). It is a constitutional testament to one thousand years of human suffering and revelry.
Ethanol is often found in such gold reservoirs as polymorphic u79 highballs, using the common organic in home equivalent to a red, plastic Ikea beaker…………”
South Orange, NJ
Monday, January 30th, 2045