Synthesizers used on this release:
Access: Virus TI, Alesis: QSR, Behringer: Deepmind 12,
Clavia: Nord Modular G2, DSI: Prophet 12, Kawai: K5000,
Korg: KingKorg, Prologue, Radias, Wavestation, Moog: Slim Phatty,
Novation: Peak, Ultranova, Roland: D-550, JD-990, JV-1080, V-Synth,
Waldorf: Blofeld, MicroWave II, Streichfett, Yamaha: AN1x, EX5
Typically, when I create a themed album I have an overall story in my head for the release. Each track has its own narrative that supports the album theme. With Future City I decided to write down the narratives and combine them into a short story to be included with the release. This turned out to be a lot of fun, but also a lot of extra effort.
The CD version of Future City includes a 6 panel booklet that contains the full short story along with the CD artwork. The electronic download version includes a PDF document with the short story including some of the CD artwork. The short story is also included below. I hope you will fine it entertaining.
It is October 1st, of the year 2311. I am named Jas Noreturn and find myself on an aerial transport traveling from the city of Sky Haven to the city of Last Angels. These are very old cities that were long ago known by different names, during and prior to the technology age. Sky Haven was previously known as Denver and existed in a territory known as Colorado, this is where my home resides. Last Angels was quite a famous city once (well it still is for different reasons), but was originally called Los Angeles, in the territory called California. They were renamed by The Chosen when they took over stewardship and control, as Chosen cities typically are.
Even after many such aerial approaches over the years, as Last Angels comes into view, I can't help but marvel at the magnificence that meets the eye. Spires and buildings create the "drone-space" that drone-craft use to move people and commerce around the city. The bio-force shield that protects the city from the harsh and deadly elements beyond is undetectable. This city is very clean, all cities that are overseen and provided by The Chosen tend to be clean, orderly, and most importantly safe.
We have landed and it is late. Tomorrow will be an eventful day.
2) Dawn - City Awakens
Dawn has come and the city awakens. Things start out fairly quiet, our civil discourse favors an active day and quiet night. As the new day emerges, orderly and efficient conduct of an endless number of tasks are starting to be accomplished. Sights, sounds, and smells all speak of a thriving populace. I am out enjoying what this new day has to offer.
The Chosen cities are well taken care of, with stalwart infrastructure, including bio-force shields with storm killer technology. The population is provided with free provisions, medical care, and education (if they want it). There is no need to work, but people who give of themselves to help keep the city thriving receive compensation and perks which basically raise them to an upper class. I am one of those people in Sky Haven and that has allowed me to take this trip to be a part of this momentous occasion.
Over the past several hundred years, earth's climate has become our worst enemy. Giant storms called "City Killers" are now a common occurrence, and they are aptly named. Most of the cities without protection are gone now, but there was a time when a City Killer storm could leave a toll of tens of thousands of lives in only a few short moments. There are still settlements that are unprotected by The Chosen, they rely on natural barriers for protection or have taken it upon themselves to engineer their own destiny.
The conditions on our planet Earth have become very extreme. During the day, temperatures will often exceed 90°C which has caused most of the world's flora and fauna to reach extinction. It started slowly during the technology age. Had they taken action then, we could be living a much better life now, but they didn't. Greed persevered and little to nothing was done, even though the signs were impossible to ignore.
None of those thoughts will take away from this day, I have a decision to make and I don't know which way I will choose.
There are two ways to move around the city, walking and riding drone-craft. The concept of owning your own personal transport has long been lost and unnecessary. Drone-craft are free to use and can be beckoned on-demand or scheduled, depending on your needs. They come in two sizes, small for up to 4 people, and large for up to 16 riders. Drone-spots, which are where you are retrieved/deposited, exist all around the city, and are never more than a short walk away.
Drone-craft are autonomous, there is no one piloting them. Because of this, there are no set paths for them to follow as they careen from place to place at several hundred kilometers per hour. To keep them from interfering with the inter-city transports and spacecraft there is "drone space" that is designated exclusively for the drone-craft flights.
When someone rides a drone-craft for the first time it is not unusual to see them instinctively duck and dodge as other drones are intersected. It appears to be absolute chaos, but the drone-craft precisely and swiftly pass each other separated by mere meters. They are a very efficient mode of transportation allowing access to anywhere in the city in just a few moments. Its one of those things easily taken for granted until you stop and think about it.
4) Remembrance Park
One of my favorite places to visit in Last Angels is Remembrance Park. There is no other place like it on earth or on any of the tourism planets/stations scattered through our attainable space. The name can be a bit misleading, there are plenty of opportunities to pay respect to those that are no longer with us, but that is just a part of what Remembrance Park offers.
A favorite area of the park is officially called "Animal Behavior Volumetric Immersion", but it is commonly referred to as the Zoo. As the extinction rate of species increased, scientists, veterinarians, filmmakers, and others dedicated their resources to capturing video, sound, and even olfactory traits for both flora and fauna in their natural environments. The Zoo presents the results of their efforts in amazing immersive displays, often so life-like as to evoke emotion and a sense of wonderment in the viewers.
I so enjoy seeing the animals that once existed, such as the enormous mammal called Elephant. This behemoth had a large articulating trunk that was used in a manner similar to an arm and hand, large tusks and ears, wise and knowing eyes. Seeing and hearing them take a dust bath, or watching the babies playing together are priceless experiences and far beyond what is gained by viewing a documentary. I will admit that the olfactory feature can be a bit much for some of the more odoriferous animals, causing me to hold a handkerchief in front of my nose to keep my eyes from watering.
Remembrance Park also offers immersive environments including a wildflower meadow, ocean shoreline, woodland waterfall, and many others. Having the opportunity to step into a wildflower meadow to experience its sights, sounds, and smells is magnificent. Beautifully colored and fragrant flowers flourishing all around you, with pollinators buzzing among them, a symphony of songs from a variety of birds, and the site of the occasional mammal as it idles by. It is so beautiful and life-like, I can only imagine what it was like to experience the real thing, but that is no longer possible on our world.
There is so much more to share about Remembrance Park, but our time is short and there is much else to discuss.
5) The Chosen
I should explain more about The Chosen. As conditions worsened over time the world's governments began to collapse under the immense financial burden of trying to protect and provide for their citizens against the aggressive climate decline. Sheltering and feeding the populations became impossible. The larger cities became islands and had to rely on their own resources, the smaller cities failed and faded in financial ruin.
While this was taking place, much of the worlds wealth was, and still is, owned and controlled by a very small percentage of the population. Most of them were filled with avidity, protecting their wealth and wares against the burgeoning global crisis. As time went on it became apparent that their own existence relied on a supportive society and infrastructure, they could not exist on their own. Those that embraced that concept eventually became known as "The Chosen" as they banded together their resources to bolster and protect their cities. At first it was only a few cities, as people were afraid of what The Chosen would do with their potential power and control, but as conditions continued to decline the populace became increasingly desperate, and more cities followed. I can assure you that The Chosen's intentions are in fact good since they are protecting themselves as well as those around them.
6) Relic Technology
The technology age with its corporate greed and loss of the concept of humanity due to social decline via virtual existence, taught us that being free of spirit and having basic needs covered allows us to live the most fulfilled lives. We do have technology in our daily lives, but it is not forefront, but rather there to support our living, not to entertain or allow us to have contrived social experiences.
Some of the most prevalent relic devices were intended to be used as social networking tools, but far too late it was realized that they had the exact opposite results, leaving the owners with greatly reduced interpersonal interactions, and feeling isolated. There is no manufacture or support of those anti-social networking devices anymore, but many do have a fascination with those and other relic technologies. Often they no longer work and are something to collect and display. Some of the most coveted devices were from a company named after a fruit that has long been extinct in our world.
There is a vast variety of collectible gadgets that were once used by the populace, including some very strange things like the "fish finder" which allowed the operator to locate aquatic vertebrates so that they could catch and eat them. There were even devices to protect your dwelling from others who would forcibly take your possessions and sell them for their own gain. The need for such technology should have been warning enough that society was eroding in a most unfavorable way.
7) Last Generation
There is something I have not mentioned yet, and it is an important part of our story. There are few children. Births are almost non-existent due to extremely low conception rates and poor odds of carrying to full term. The decline has been accelerating over the last hundred years or so. The few children that do survive often face physical and/or mental challenges. We are in fact becoming extinct, we are considered the last generation. This decline seems almost apropos since available resources, both natural and those of The Chosen are dwindling and will not be adequate to support another generation.
There was a time when drugs, whether used for medicinal or recreation purposes, offered an array of harmful side-effects, one of the worst being addiction, but there were many others. The companies that produced them used exploitative marketing techniques in order to maximize their profits. There is no commercial manufacture of these products anymore. We have a very small but refined and effective selection of remedies to use, and they offer few if any side-effects.
There is one called Omnicogent that stands apart because it is used for both medicinal and recreation purposes. It is very sophisticated in how it interacts with the systems of the human body, covering a wide range of needs including pain relief, anti-anxiety, anti-depression, cardio vascular health, and more. It is not addictive and you cannot overdose, although large doses result in a trance-like state where you become less aware of your surroundings, your focus is inward. It can even be described as mildly hallucinogenic, but it never results in a bad experience.
For some, it can be difficult to find purpose in life when everything is provided for you. Often these people turn to Omnicogent to help them explore their own minds and being, to find inner purpose. Their use goes beyond recreation, spending much of their lives in this altered state. They are known to society as Seekers and their existence has very little interaction with the rest of the populace. People with illness that involves severe pain often become seekers as it offers relief from the pain and contentment not otherwise possible.
9) Last Cruiser
The time has finally arrived, it is a very significant moment in our history. The drone-craft I am riding is approaching the pinnacle of human engineering and technology. It is a space Cruiser of the CS class, it was the greatest and last model made, the CS-80, and it could accommodate nearly 80,000 people. What you may find interesting is that it is almost 100 years old. We no longer have the manpower or resources to create such a technical wonder, they can barely be maintained. My drone-craft has landed, time to brave the crowds of people.
Prior to space travel, humans would take oceanic voyages on cruise ships that offered a wealth of entertainment and luxury. It was a way to escape routine life for a while and visit other places, often fabricated for the tourists to enjoy. As the earth's climate declined the seas became too rough and unpredictable for cruise ships. Space tourism was in its infancy, and rudimentary space cruises replaced the ocean voyages. Over time the ships, known as Cruisers, grew larger and man-made off-world tourist destinations were developed.
The one limiting factor was attainable space. The Cruisers could only go so far from earth and still have the resources to return. Countless exploratory missions were conducted in hopes of discovering resources that could allow for further travel, but none were successful. Any that ventured beyond the attainable space limits were never heard from again, although no remnants were ever discovered. This left many pondering what became of them, what was out there beyond our reach.
As resources dwindled and the conditions on earth deteriorated, the resulting economic conditions proved to be the downfall of the space cruise industry. This was around the time that the first cities were being taken over by The Chosen. Many of the Cruisers sat unused, but some were modified to support tenants. Basically, if you were wealthy enough you could secure full-time accommodation and not have to face the harsh life found on the surface. Every few months they returned to earth for a couple of days, then were off again.
It was approximately 6 years ago that the first Cruiser purposefully journeyed beyond attainable space. It was one of the tenant Cruisers and was fully stocked and inhabited. Everyone onboard were aware there was little chance of success and that they would never return, but they knew there was no future on earth. Their resources would last for approximately 2 years, the hope was to discover a livable existence. If not, they would self destruct once supplies were gone.
It seemed like such a desperate tactic, one that most certainly would fail. We have never found any sign of the ship. About a year later another cruiser left, and then another, and another. Over 50 fully adorned cruisers have since departed, none have ever been heard from again. It is quite an interesting study of humanity, some risk the unknown to avert the known fate on earth, while others fear the unknown and stay accepting their destiny.
What makes today such a momentous occasion is that this beautiful CS-80 is the last functional Cruiser on earth, and shortly it will depart on its one-way journey. Those of us left behind will never be able to leave, this was our last chance, our fate is cast. Thousands of people are here to see it off, I have never seen so many drone-craft coming and going. There is an air of finality, people are being polite, but there is a feeling of tension and uncertainty. This is not a time of celebration but of a sense of loss, and even fear.
The pre-launch routines are already in motion, the ship is coming to life. People boarding are saying final farewells to friends and family staying behind. Some are trying to be brave, others cannot contain their emotions, I have never seen anything like it. The final boarding call is sounding, in a few minutes the hatches will close for the final time...
...and now I must make my decision, I have a boarding pass for this last Cruiser, it is now or never, but I still don't know what I will do.
10) Day Turns to Night
Activity in the city slows as another day turns to night.
For most of my life, electronic music has been an integral part of my journey. My musical wanderings have gone in many
directions over the years, but more recently tend to lean toward electronic sequence based sound-scapes.
My older music, mostly created back in the mp3.com days, tended to be more rhythmic and simple. You can explore the older stuff in the "Sayer - Archives" link below....more
honestly this album takes quite a bit of time and many listening rounds to actually "get into". No doubt it is technically excellent, with more advanced composition elements than earlier records, however it isn't that easily accessible either. Perhaps this is actually a strength as each time you will listen to there will be more details to discover. Martin Richter