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Track By Tracks: The Machinist - I Am Void (2020)


1. Extinction Event:

An ‘extinction level event’ is of course a singular event that results in some kind of mass extinction over a relatively short timescale, such the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs, or the Holocene extinction event, caused by you and me. 

This song is somewhat more personal though. It’s about what everyone will have to face eventually and ultimately terminally: our own death. We’re all, individually the centre of our own universes, and isn’t this the most personally profound extinction event of all? 

2. Skin Is Not Enough:

We are the products of evolution and are somewhat held prisoner by biology. Yet we’ve managed to transcend being just elaborate configurations of amino acids into beings that are able to express a facet of the universe that only we can express. 

In this sense, we are, or at least could be, so much more than our component parts. We can do better. We can be greater. But we have placed limitations on ourselves, we follow religions and pay into societal constructs that ensure, by design or otherwise, that this doesn’t happen. The skin that we’re in sometimes feel too tight. 

There’s also an anti-racism element to the title too. You should never be defined by the colour of your skin. No one has the right to do that to anyone. 

3. The Sky Has Opened:

Things seemed so much simpler before we started looking up at the stars didn’t they? We had a god to worship, we had mythologies that explained everything and we had set ways to live. We were at the centre of everything! Everything was put here for us, to be used by us. 

Only that’s not true is it? The more we looked up at the sky, the more we realised how we are only a part of something so much larger, and the more we discovered, the more we realised that we aren’t that important. 
So much so that we are now obsessed with looking for anything out there that might resemble us. Good luck with that. 

4. Approach:

Just a little synthy ditty to break up the churn. Drawing on scifi movie soundtracks and a sense that something unknowable is on its way...

5. Bleak Affirmations:

Time moves in one direction and one direction only. Everything is happening right now. This is a perversion of mindfulness, a meditation technique designed to bring yourself into moment. 

So go along with me here. Close your eyes. Breath in through your nose for 7 seconds, then breathe out. Relax. Feel every muscle in your body unwind. Place your hands on your belly and feel your body move. That’s it. Relax. Forget about the past and what could happen, none of that can hurt you. Live in the moment. 

Right now there are genocides being committed. Right now there are wars being fought and acts of terror being planned and carried out. 
Enjoy the present. Have a nice day. 

6. Depopulate:

We had a lot of fun with this one (yes it is possible!). All the fossil fuels we burn today were once living organic things right? Mostly plant matter, but dinosaurs capture the imagination don’t they? The idea that we’re powering our SUV’s with the fat arse of a T-Rex is a funny one. 

So basically, one day, a future race may be powering their own machines with OUR fat arses. I mean good lord, how much grease do WE exude? 

And we’ll kill them by poisoning their atmosphere with carbon just like that T-Rex is killing us all with it’s fat arse right now. 

7. The Death Cults of Abraham:

Oh dear, how do I explain this one without validating a deplorable world view or wandering into cliche. 

Okay. It’s just a screed against the abrahamic organised religions. A lot of religion focuses on the attention of what happens after death, and seems to me to ignore life. Popular implementations of these religions involve heavy elements of control, on the promise that things will get better after death. The focus of a practitioners life seems to be to be to prepare for death, to look forward to it, and to neglect the living and the living environment in favour of it. 

This is probably our angriest song. No one practitioner of any of the major abrahamic religions should feel singled out there. You’re all in the crosshair. 

8. Magnificent Desolation:

Buzz Aldrin described the surface of the moon as “Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation”. 

This was a part of the universe that came into being without us. We tend to think we are the centre of everything, that everything is here for us and that everything will somehow stop existing when we inevitably die. 

Only it won’t will it? It’ll just keep on existing, that facet of the universe that became aware of itself will just cease to be. 

Boo hoo hoo. So what? Accept the fact that this is inevitable. This world and generations that come after you will be around a lot longer than you will, and they have a right to exist as much as you did. 

With religions constantly preparing us for death and the end of the world, we have a weird short term view. We don’t think outside our life span, and it seems to me that we don’t value our earth as much as we should because we believe there will be another one after we die. Why would you care about how much crap you pour into the sea or air if you believe a) the end is nigh and b) there is a better place promised to us? 

9. Departure:

Synths are great aren’t they? So are robotizers! The spoken word is pretty much the intro to the last track with similar themes 

10. Schwarzschild Radius:

My interface to reality is flawed. I am trapped inside my head, and I interact with reality via a crude series of filters. My sight. My hearing. My sense of smell and taste. My sense of touch. My brain is again, a crude but highly effective mechanism to filter out all of the information sent to me by these senses, and enables me to react accordingly. This makes me who I am. 

But it’s a totally closed system. Of course, we can interact with others, we can feel empathy and sympathy towards others , we can feel closeness or inexorably bound to another, but ultimately, we are alone. We will never be able to truly experience another person’s closed system, because they are equally alone. 

Trapped inside an inescapable system. A prisoner of your own physical form. Your own personal event horizon. 

Of course it’s all a load of old bollocks isn’t it? I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You’ll be fine…

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