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2014 “IOTA pt. I” – History

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2014 “IOTA pt. I” – History

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The story of the Concept

“IOTA” was the first deviation that Kardashev took with their writing as they began to crave a more mature writing approach and more atmosphere in their compositions. Having parted ways with their drummer James, Nico took on drumming duties from a midi programming perspective thanks to the help of Toontrack’s EZ Drummer and the band set out to write, “an epic 3 song experience focused on the human condition”.

Ideally, this project would be a single listening experience, musically broken down into three songs with three distinct movements in each song. At this point in time however, only the first of those three songs was written, recorded, and released in 2014 along with a music video depicting their then bass player, Chris, creating, destroying, and then recreating and refining the Greek symbol for, iota.

Inspiration

In 2013, the band began to share values of “less is more” and “focus on what is important rather than what is new” which lead them to a sort of minimalist mindset. It was around this time that Mark, Nico and Chris began exploring and living their lives more as minimalists. Even the artworks deviated from the maximalism of modern metal. They donated many of their possessions and began to focus on what mattered to them individually; health, relationships, activism, community and Eco-awareness.

In their search for translating these ideas into music, they found a word with the perfect meaning; iota. Iota is Greek for “an extremely small amount”, maybe even the smallest measurable unit before nothing. It was the perfect literary device to build the concept of needing less and being less (from a consumer focus).

Lyrically, this song is about an extremely granular level of introspection as a human. Identifying and exploring the devils advocate of “humans are awesome” as a trope in most media and contemporary works.

Visually, the use of black and white exemplified simplicity in another facet of minimalism and leads back to the human element by being produced in a physical form and documented to then be turned into a music video.

Song Breakdown

IOTA pt. I can be broken down into three distinct parts.

 

  1. The riffage and rapid-fire vocals serve as the melodic derivation for everything that follows and can be identified in the first few minutes of the song. This part lasts about 3 minutes and was written as a stand-alone song should it need to be cut into three separate songs when the full album is released.
  2. After a short ambient bridge, an impending, inexorable driving force repeats with simple melodies soaring above the bombardment of drums and guitar chugs. Void of lyrics, this section is intended to exemplify the comparison of humanity to the cosmic scale.
  3. The final section of this song is written as a reflection and acceptance of realization. The clean, precise, regenerating sound of the rhythm guitar symbolizes and characterizes order from chaos with a guitar solo illustrating freedom and free-spiritedness.

Lyrics

I have encountered myself.
I have seen complexity.

My existence is confirmed –
seeded by progress
and formed by intention.
My existence is confirmed –
I question the assumption that
nothing exists.

All things in Chaos.
All things defined.

Breath.
Thought.
Action.
Motion.

Until heaven and Earth both pass away
not an iota, not a dot, will be erased from the law.

I am human, conscious thought –
infinite landscape of chemical reaction.
I am human, conscious thought –
endless outcomes
and complex possibilities.

How could I think this?

Recording Process

This song was written and recorded in Nico’s home studio which changed locations three times across the song writing process. It took almost 2 years to finish writing the song as it had more nuance than any of the previous releases. The scope was also the largest they’d yet encountered as it meant creating something that would be followed up with over years. Developing that framework was important for reproducibility.

Gear

The recording gear and software was the same on Progression as it was for this album.

 

  • Hardware
    • Custom Gaming PC
    • Rokit KRK 5 Audio Monitors
    • M-Audio Fast track PRO
  • Vocals
    • Shure SM7b
  • Guitars
    • Ibanez RG7321 7 String Guitar
    • Fractal Axe FX Ultra
    • Elixir Strings
  • Bass
    • Warwick Thumb 5 string bass
    • DI box
    • Elixir Strings
  • Software
    • Propellerhead Reason DAW
    • Reaper DAW
    • Toontrack Superior Drummer

Production


Miah was again the engineer behind the mixing and mastering of this album.

Artwork Process

The artwork was a project in itself as Kardashev wanted to document the creation process as an allegory for way that we create and destroy parts of ourselves to fully realize our potential. In the video, you can see the blank canvas which then is made dark with charcoal and then destroyed only to be recreated again. Eventually the process takes on a new step which is to remove what is unnecessary and leave only that which we desire behind.

Digital Release

This song was distributed by CD Baby to all streaming platforms as a single.

Physical Release

Although there was no reason to print a single song as a physical, once all three songs are complete, the work will be made whole as a physical release.

Music Videos

Kardashev again decided to work with their long-time friend, Julio Copelly to film their epic 8 minute music video for IOTA. He and Chris and Mark got together on a Tuesday evening in Tempe, Arizona at a studio and began filming the creation, destruction and re-creation of IOTA.

Watch the album art creation here:

Credits

  • Music, Melody, Composition
    • Nico Mirolla
    • Mark Garrett
    • Chris Gerlings
  • Artwork
    • Chris Gerlings
  • Recording
    • Nico Mirolla
  • Editing
    • Nico Mirolla
  • Mixing
    • Miah Lajeunesse
  • Mastering
    • Miah Lajeunesse
  • Distribution
    • Subliminal Groove Records LLC

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