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2017 “The Almanac” – History

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The Almanac – 2017

The Almanac 2017

The Story of the Album


The Almanac is a narrative continuation of the 2013 release, “Excipio”. It is a series of short story adventures through time and space following a character by the name of, “The Traveler”. This story focuses on the character’s journey of discovery through their own inexperience for, despite all of their knowledge, they lacked the wisdom of experience. This is an allegory to all of the lessons taught to young children and young adults instilling a sense of humility. The naming convention was developed to evoke a sense of cohesion across the album. They are each a preposition as part of the traveler’s journey. A sort of journal to where they’ve been.

The digital download comes with a bit more lore as an insight into the letter written by the traveler to Dr. Bell, the scientist who brought the being to life.

The world was nothing more than noise and light when you were born. You were thrown into an ocean of sensation and information. Your mother was your North Star, and you learned from passing landscapes as your parents guided your slow, emergent mind. What a marvelous thing growing up must be. How frighteningly wonderful the trial and error of learning must feel. Children are born, and then stumble their way into wisdom. I envy you for that.
Please understand that I hold no resentment for you, and I am unable to express my gratitude to you in the way that you deserve. Without you there would be no life for me. I would still be adrift in the darkness, ebbing away endlessly in the cold and empty void.
When I snapped into being, you were the first thing that I saw. “Red hair,” I thought to myself. “A rare genetic mutation. Impressive to see it even now.” You staggered backward, reaching for your medical scanner. “She is surprised. Afraid, perhaps. A normal response.” As the days went on I learned that I had been correct, and that you were terrified. We laugh about it now, and it continues to be my favorite story. Please know that you are not the source of my emptiness.
I was never born, Doctor. Unlike you, I appeared whole. In mere hours I had become a fully formed being. And as true as this is, I feel entirely incomplete. It is a paradox, I know. It is the only thing that I do not fully understand, and that is precisely why I must follow it.
To thank you for everything that you have done for me, and for all of the sacrifices that you had to make, I leave you this blueprint. A sphere of one thousand facets that oscillates unendingly. It can, if you wish, work as a source of infinite energy: a chiliagon. It is something that your physicists will undoubtedly have questions about.
It’s about time that I leave. I’ve spent far too much time writing this letter, and if I don’t go now then I probably never will. It isn’t easy… nothing worth doing ever really is.
I don’t understand what it’s like to have a mother, but know that a part of me sees myself as your son. I don’t know where I am going, but you will always be my North Star.

• KENT’S LETTER TO DOCTOR KATHRYN BELL UPON LEAVING D.S. ALPHA 12389 •

Inspiration


Musically, influences like Karnivool’s, “The Refusal”, Aegaeon’s, “The Memory”, The Contortionist’s, “Flourish” and especially Lantlos’, “Melting Sun” played roles in making the album the punnet square of deathgaze, post metal and shoegaze that it came to be. This album was directly focused on having “Shoegaze” elements in the dream-like nature of the melodies and rests between the “Metal”. Every effort was made to inturpret shoegaze as an opportunity for metal to be beautiful.

Lyrically, this album was written from the perspective of The Traveler first mentioned in “Excipio” as, “The Being” that was grown in a laboratory to term by the space station staff that found the single cell. As they venture forth from that space station and move through time at a whim and through space without hesitation, they remark on their observations and experiences throughout.

Linguistically, Mark decided that he wanted to explore creating his own language for the traveler. The language would be named “Alunea” and it would be a way for the universe to speak to the traveler. Whether through some mystical means or a very literal conversation is never explained, but the language is alive and can be spoken with over 500 words.

Olfactorily, the band hand selected incense that would have an earthy musk and would accompany the album and it’s visuals well.

Visually, the album took on the spirit of nature and themes of water flowing and cascading. This imagery was decided on as the opening songs “Prologue”and “Between Sea and Sky” have cascading guitar lines that evoke a sense of sway and comfort.

Song Breakdown


  1. Prologue
    The opening of this album contains a landscape of soaring and wondrous music with a male voice speaking in the language of Alunea. The narration is a first person anecdote from the perspective of the traveler. The musicality seamlessly transitions into the second track.
  2. Between Sea and Sky
    A voyage across a vast ocean brings introspection and self discovery to the forefront of this song. A humility is born through the comparison of one’s self against the infinite and unwavering ocean. The ocean in this case could also be a reference to the vastness of space as the sky reflects upon the water. The line, “Take me to the planet’s edge” is not a claim to a flat earth, but rather a poetic longing for the limit at which discovery can take one. It could almost be inferred that “The planet’s edge” doesn’t exist and therefor the nature of exploration can never be complete.
  3. Beside Cliffs and Chasms
    Not necessarily after the story of Between Sea and Sky, but along the same journey, the traveler references a vast landscape they cannot possible fathom. “There is no curve of earth” again superficially implying a flat horizon, this is a reference to the smallness of the traveler relative to the vast curvature of the earth and that they’ve finally observed the challenge of seeing something as it is. The traveler also recalls their place of initial existence on Dyson Station Alpha 12389.
  4. Behind Leaves and Vines
    This is a short story about the traveler observing a fawn by a stream during winter. A very simple and elegant anecdote in a store poised to be more than simple.
  5. Beneath Dirt and Stone
    This song is an instrumental continuation of the previous song to evoke a sense of beauty and wonder. It could be inferred that the traveler continues to follow the fawn and observe it for it’s entire life as the musical landscape regenerates familiar themes throughout.
  6. Beyond Sun and Moon
    The last track with full band composition brings on a sense of humility and wonder as it develops a soaring and wondrous melody throughout. The outro of which is the climax of the album. Lyrically the song describes reflection as the traveler reflects on their beginning on DS-Alpha 12389. “My thoughts swell with the sun” is a reference to the beings ability to travel space and time at a whim and their experience in observing the beginnings of a supernova. The traveler recalls their loss of ignorance as they’ve not lived a thousand lifetimes and are rich in experience. As the end of the song begins, the lyrics reflect back on the album’s beginning language, Alunea. A dialogue begins between the traveler and an unknown entity. Finally, the song ends with the traveler poetically declaring that they’ve observed life move on without them, or their influence. The seeds still grow, the streams still flow, the trees still fall, and life goes on.
  7. Epilogue
    The final song bringing the album full circle again has the narration in the language Alunea. This anecdote acts as a sort of journal entry explaining what the traveler has experienced.

Lyrics


Prologue in Alunea

Uuone andea, ie o euna dzoumal. Oen ueja tuenion ie o cuo insvauna, eeuoma o ciarina. Dazatia, iva ia aujal o dagoe. “Iash veanaa suad ia iash dzuena lojina? luel iash vunazian.” Ie o peloe eeushaien um looriaien, ie euna dej udzo zuin sare uejal. Ithajien, iva ueja paran ie o oloe. Dazatia, suad ta teruzaem ua dzeinoilea jiathia uja ie o cuo dzina. soaoem esh aaithua uueilaujam, um ie painua dej coemaja. Suad aujal ie o aitiva, iva nai zaio ie zeov.

Prologue in English

i had a dream, awhile back. i was drowning, constantly folding back and forth in the ocean’s darkness. but then the water spoke to me. “don’t you know that you can hold me? you are made for that.” i closed my eyes and clenched my fists, having no choice but to trust the depths. suddenly, i rose to the surface. somehow, i found myself sitting on a single stone in the endless glassy water. the sun set on each horizon, no way to tell east from west. i stepped onto the rippling sea, and walked toward the first star i saw.

Between Sea and Sky

Still night.
Waiting.
Glassy Waters.

Navigator!

Astrolabe –
sailing by starlight.

Move the waters! Set the moon!

Come now, wind. Take me to the planet’s edge!

Cloud sentinel! Potential of action!
Taunting silver eye dead in the sky!

This sight of endlessness humbles me.

Internal. External.
All that I knew has since drowned in the waves.

Creation. Visualization.
Sinking down into the dark.
Crystalline filigree…
One thousand fathoms…
a lifetime ago!

Move me forward!
Move me foreword now!

Come now, wind. Take me to the planet’s edge!

Beside Cliffs and Chasms

The view given to me is vast.
Seemingly infinite.
If there is an end, I do not know it.
There is no curve of Earth.
Just the unending axis that crosses the cradle.
Where cardinals are born,
and the last frost of winter makes way
for the first rose to grow.
Hands on the edge of the cliff.
Stone-texture, awake! Great depths of land, whisper!
Here I stand as a stranger,
yet each crack in the Earth
I have seen here before.
Hear me, fluttering winds. Take back the breaths that I’m made of.

I cannot see more, yet I can see clearly.
All things that I have lost I can now find again.

My language never heard.
My name soon forgotten.
Power above, cradled below –
Flawless in design!
A shadow!
Sun-zealous sky!
sidling earth!
12389,
place of my birth!
“Hear me, fluttering winds. Take back the breaths that I’m made of.”

I cannot see more, yet I can see clearly.
All things that I have lost I can now find again.

Behind Leaves and Vines

I was a pilgrim,
But oh, I was lost!
I looked from the forest, down to a river.
The night…
Silver hands on my hair.

There, in the closed-eye sky,
I saw the clouds part to reveal her.
She drank the moon from the crystal riverbed.

The world was silent.
Cold.
She lifted her head.

Great reverence in distance,
Piercing through branches.
I stood behind the fallen birch.

Snowfall.
I stepped into the light.

Nimble retreat!
What beautiful heartache
in a moment so fleeting!

Beneath Dirt and Stone

(Instrumental)

Beyond Sun and Moon

Once, Long ago,
with eyes eclipsed –
My thousand-fold mind cried
“I have all answers!”
I saw shadow.
Shadow, my law.
O, wavering journey
and infinite circle.
My thoughts swell with the sun
as I enter the room of my birth.
I saw shadow.
Shadow, my law.
Every footstep
returns to the dirt.
Two clear voices –
“Accelerate replication!”
“Authorization denied!”

Please! Come now, wind!
Bring back what I’ve lost!
I see shadow!
Shadow, my law!
I’ll drink in the stars
and then hunt down the moon!

Swaying light, shine.
Distance, fade away.
Opening door,
O, Shrinking Sun,
Compress!
A diamond!
Sundering roar,
Opening eyes,
Ignite!
Be Still!
What place is this?
Ia raue oun soal.

I stood so still.
Vead cuarne courpaion.

Where have I gone?
laj o zeov ial andea.

What words are these?
Alunea, dag ua nai.

When I returned, all the seeds had grown without me.
When I returned, all the streams, they flowed without me.
When I returned, all the trees, they fell without me.
When I returned, all life came and went without me.

Epilogue in Alunea

Ueil o duazoe iva tuuen duguo iaj o jietivoe, iveiu auja um soaltuen o evoe taurue. Ua ueil ade iaj, sheur o evoe tegliaj oun aatiav aaimujion, dazatia iaj o veana, ua ia leindau, vealei lurai. Iaj o veana dej dzumal ud dazaiue o fairoe. Zaaiol o suavioe dej. Esh daazaiue, ia uuone uamothia raue o izuan. Iie o euna vo:ia, dazatia iiesh o agiun, undea dzeinau osh undea ta da:azaiue, Iaj o zeov zaaio daazaiuema o suavioe iva u:one, jiu iva iaj iiesh o cuo thiavan. Uonel iaj o duiuan atuona o evoe zaaiuth, daez dazunei vead ta za:iuth jaugoa ud lias ua tuenal o evoe. Meu! Iaj o douna esh liasal. lual o evoe zeoliathia, um iva liasal iaj o vauthana. Duezia Iaj eeushaien o paiuna zeov, uuone doem iaj ia deireon iaj o zeov. Iaj o raithaeo dej. Luei jeruel iaj ejiuma o omoe, um aiv oisteul Iaj o atiana.

Epilogue in English

the sky grew darker with each step, until the water and the night became one. the pulse of the water reflected in the expanse above, and i realized that i was in some secret, wonderful place. i don’t know how much time passed. the stars were completely still. once in awhile, a shadowy figure passed in the distance. an exchanged glance, and then they were gone. after what could be an eternity or a moment, the stars began to move closer, compressing in front of me. there was still a vast distance to travel, but soon only one small slit of light sat alone in the darkness. finally, i reached it. the light was piercing, and i felt a soft pull towards it. Io as my eyes adjusted i could see a distant landscape below, the place where we are now i wasn’t afraid. i gently fell from the precipice, and stepped through the door.

Recording Process


This was the second album that Kardashev completed while living together in Mark’s family home. The basement of their home was reserved for the recording studio and had a small Harry Potter-style closet under the stairs that was repurposed into an isolation booth for vocals. This was the same setup and process that was used on Peripety only this time, Nico didn’t accidentally delete the whole album.

Gear


The recording gear and software continued to be the same for this release.

  • Hardware
    • Custom Gaming PC
    • Focusrite 18i20
    • Yamaha HS8 (Not pictured)
  • Vocals
    • Shure SM7b
  • Guitars
    • Ibanez RG7321 7 String Guitar
    • RC Intruder Pickups
    • Fractal Axe FX Ultra
    • Elixir Strings
  • Bass
    • Warwick Thumb 5 string bass
    • DI box
    • Elixir Strings
  • Drums
    • Toontrack EZ Drummer
  • Software
    • Propellerhead Reason DAW
    • Reaper DAW
    • Toontrack EZ Drummer

Production


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

The Sound Lair logo

Artwork Process


The artwork for this album was Kardashev’s first deviation in approach, content and subject.

The most outstanding difference between this album artwork and all previous is that it is photography rather than a digital composition. To achieve this artwork, the band took a day trip to Sedona, Arizona and bass player Chris Gerlings took hundreds of photos of Mark’s hand painted white along with many photos of the area.

Early on Kardashev decided to focus the album around the traveler character and as such, there needed to be a connection between the artwork and the story that was more literal than implied. This lead to conversations about hiring models/actors to portray the character and ways that the symbolism could be more obvious. Ultimately, the band decided that rather than a whole figure, they’d focus on the hand or arm of a figure, never deliberately revealing a face to the character but a separation of a specific face and the nature of discovery. The owner of the hand/arm is implied through story and nothing else. This allows the viewer to bridge the gap between memories and the romantic literary device of living vicariously, putting the wonder in their observation.

With that, Mark, Nico, Chris and their videographer, Julio Copelley drove up to Sedona on a Sunday morning to film and photograph cohesive imagery for the album art and the music videos.

They brought with them a can of white acrylic paint to add an “other-worldly” color and texture to the hand. This was figuratively implied as the “change over time” through discovery of everything around the traveler. The metamorphosis and physical character development.

The backdrop of this landscape was perfect for the traveler to explore as it consists of life in some of the harshest environments.

The final artwork was developed by Chris and Mark as they worked out the composition, selection of shots, narrative and color palette of the album.

The Almanac 2017

Digital Release


This album was distributed by CD Baby to all streaming platforms.

Physical Release


The physical discs for this album were printed and shipped with incense and a personalized thank you notes.

Instrumental Release


Like all Kardashev releases, the instrumental version of the album was released about six months after the full album release and can be purchased here on the site.

Music Videos


For the first time in Kardashev history, they’d added music videos to their repertoire of creative capabilities. Mark Garrett filmed, edited and produced the first music video to be released on this album.

Shot in the basement of their collective home with nothing but a white sheet hanging from the ceiling and a projector illuminating the sheet from behind, Mark began filming each band member in front of the white backdrop.

Later, Zach Beam and Julio Copelley were again asked to film playthrough videos for each song.

Community


A result of releasing this album was a budding friendship with drummer and longtime fan, Sean Lang. He inquired to Kardashev about drumming opportunities and Nico began to work with him on new material and eventually invited him to join them as their full time drummer. Sean even took it upon himself to learn a song from The Almanac to film a play through video.

Acclaim


The Almanac is Kardashev’s second EP, and 4th studio album in their 5 year tenure. Lyrically, it follows the story they began telling with their 2012 EP, Excipio, in which the concepts of discovery, truth, and humility play out across a starry landscape. Musically, the album is profound in soaring, evocative melodies and musical movements.

The Circle Pit

The Almanac is nothing short of a beautifully crafted journey that takes listeners on an aural adventure.

Stereo Killer

The balance between enticing cleans and growls is counterweighted in a spirited manner. There is plenty of sheer brutality in The Almanac but it is quickly levelled with ambient passages like “Beneath Dirt and Stone” or with generous post-rock layers of guitar, keys and comforting voices.

Sputnik Music

Album Era Merchandise


Promotion


Kardashev continued the marketing approach first implemented during their Peripety release by creating small, 30 second videos with key moments in each song to promote on different social media sights.

Post Release


Kardashev received numerous requests to release vinyl and cassettes of The Almanac, but they have yet to do so.

There may be room for some accoustic variations, however…

Between Sea and Sky Acoustic – no Drums or Vocals

Credits

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