Friday, September 24, 2010

And Vinyly...24 or so Minutes of the End...

Some people believe that there is an afterlife - a continuation of one's soul after the physical shell has passed on. This has been with humanity ever since we evolved the ability to think in abstract thought. As we grew and learned more about the material world, some of us realized that there was no need to believe in such nonsense. I'm one of the many who feel, nay, know that there is a definite end to one's life. The only way to live on is to leave behind a legacy. And what better way to do that than with pressing one's ashes into vinyl?

I was made aware of the website And Vinyly and decided to look into it. Honestly, I think the whole business surrounding death is just a sham and designed to take as much money as possible from the survivors. If I truly had my way I'd just want my body dumped in the remote reaches of a forest for the wolves and death eaters. But since I have to abide by society's will (for the most part) then I will opt for cremation.

So what to do with the ashes? Well I would like some shot up into space. I'm a huge fan of science fiction and have always dreamed of exploring the deep reaches of space. Since that is a complete pipe dream with today's technology, might as well go with the next best thing and have my ashes hitch a ride with a rocket into space. The rest of ashes I would like now to be pressed into vinyl.

According to the site's standard rates, starting at £3000, I could put anything I want on there...up to 24 minutes. Anything extra is more money for the survivors. I did a search of my playlist trying to come up with songs that would represent death and significance for me. I  have a mix of metal and video game songs. However I ended up with just over 26 minutes of music, so it looks like my significant other with have to fork over some more dough for my death.

1. A Celebration for the Death of Man... - Agalloch 
This is the first song I have ever heard from Agalloch. On a whim I went on to someone's FTP (which was chock full of metal) on the Gamingforce forums and decided to start in the As and work my way through. At the time I was still exploring all the dark alleyways of metal, just barely discovering folk metal when I came across this brilliant Oregon band. While a short instrumental track (it segues beautifully into In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion) it has what I feel are two meanings to the title.

The first is a misanthropic interpretation; celebrating the literal death of mankind. The second is celebrating not the death but rather the life the person has lived. The first interpretation is probably more correct than the second, but considering it's an instrumental track it's kind of hard to determine without actually consulting John Haughm.

2. Insignificant - Nevermore
As one of my favorite power/thrash metal bands, it made it kind of difficult to pick between their expansive and impressive discography. I originally narrowed it down to Dead Heart in a Dead World, as that is my current favorite album of theirs. Then I narrowed it down to two tracks: Believe in Nothing and this track. The significance (no real pun intended) of the title and the chorus line, "Just a speck in the spectrum" clenched it for me. This song is about how, despite everything we believe, we are in reality just completely inconsequential to the 'will' of the vast universe.

3. Thorns on My Grave - Emperor
Quite a few black metal purists will cry foul for choosing the brilliant Prometheus over In the Nightside Eclipse. Well they can go fuck themselves as I find Emperor's swansong album to be their best and most brilliant effort. Composed largely by Ihsahn, it is by far their most technical and beautiful written. So why Thorns? 

Whilst not my favorite track, that goes to Tongue of Fire, the meaning of the song holds deeper to the purpose of this blog post. It's about being buried and left well alone. This song was written as a way to dismiss the idea of any sort of reunion album. They wanted to end on a high note and leave it well alone, knowing that nothing they do after will satisfy and ultimately tarnish their high esteemed position.

4. Perpetual Black Second - Meshuggah
Meshuggah lyrics have always been hit or miss for me. Normally I don't listen to music for the lyrics, but for the musical backbone. Again for the purpose of this song I decided to take a slightly closer look at the lyrics. And that failed when trying to make sense of Perpetual Black Second. It just seems like an incoherent rant about being filled with hate. I really do like the song and the title grabbed me enough to include it because death is essentially a perpetual black second. If the song is really about death, then they either did a really clever job of hiding the meaning or just failing at writing lyrics. Sorry Tomas Haake or Jens Kidman.

5. The One Who is Torn Apart - Yasunori Mitsuda
I hold Xenogears in a very high esteem. A game about the death of a man-made mechanical god and the struggles of the protagonists to know what it means to be human, it is supported by the brilliant and powerful soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda. He stands as one of my favorite video game composers, also composing Chrono Trigger and Cross. The entire soundtrack of Xenogears has some excellent songs but this one in particular gets me like none other. I believe it is first featured after the destruction of Nortune, the capital of Kislev. I feel that is morose piece would fit well at a funeral.

6. Ending Credits - Opeth
It's pretty hard to single out a song to put on the vinyl intended to be pressed with my ashes and played, hopefully, at my funeral or something. First I had to eliminate all songs that were over 10 minutes, so that basically left Damnation as my only option. I could have gone with Closure, Death Whispered a Lullaby or any of the others, but Ending Credits stood out for me. Again, the title holds more meaning than what most lyrics can do. This is the end. Let us credit those who participated in the life of this person. Plus it's just a brilliant piece of music that almost sounds like it would've fit better to a 70's prog band.   

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