music composer and keyboardist Paul Kirkpatrickrecording
as a solo artist under his stage name Paul Khas
released three critically acclaimed solo albums in England during
the past 5 years, starting with his first solo album, Soul Connection
in 2015, followed by Omertà in 2017. During this time
Paul also released the 2016 debut album by his rock band with singer
Rachel Harvey, in the band, Glitch_Code. Now in the Fall of 2018,
Paul K has released his third solo album, a powerful concept album
called The Fermi Paradox. The anticipated follow-up
album to Paul's critically-acclaimed 2017 album Omertà,
The Fermi Paradox is a progressive music
opus that merges 21st century instrumental rock with an avant-garde
neoclassical edge. A tribute album with a twist, Paul K's album, The
Fermi Paradox pays an instrumental prog-rock homage to Italian
scientist / physicist Enrico Fermi and his famous 1950 quote So,
where is everybody? also known as "Where Are They?"
a question that sparked a pop culture revolution in the middle
of the 20th century. The Fermi Paradox literally renewed a quest to
search for life beyond Earth. As written about in greater detail in
The Fermi Paradox CD booklet liner notes, Enrico Fermis
question was, quite subliminally, first introduced to the pop culture
masses in 1968, by way of Stanley Kurbricks acclaimed masterpiece
2001: A Space Odyssey. For more background, Kubrick is interviewed
at the grand opening of the movie in New York in 1968half a
As more astute listeners and critics will note, Paul Ks 2018
concept album, The Fermi Paradox is among the most unique sounding
and unparalleled instrumental albums released thus far in the 21st
century. Paul K explains, This album is about the vastness
of the universe and if we are alone or not and about the evolution
of life. Paul K also implements spoken word tracks on several
songs here that serves, from a historical viewpoint, to underscore
a cosmic connection to the expansive scientific concepts of The
Fermi Paradox. The track The Great Silence, features
cellist / vocalist Rachel Dawson reading a poem by the late holocaust
poet Abraham Sutzkever. The Fermi Paradox also features spoken
word tracks of rare recordings, from the Oxford University Fine Tuning
Workshop videos, featuring esteemed Oxford professors Joe Silk and
Mario Livio as they deliberate upon the Fermi Paradox and Enrico Fermis
famous 1950 quote So, where is everybody? Musicians performing
on The Fermi Paradox include: Paul K: Piano, Synths,
Theremin, Percussion, Mellotron, Programming - Julian Todd:
4, 5, 6 String and Fretless Bass - Gordon Foley: Guitar, Ebow
- David Williamson-Smith: Drums - Rachel Dawson:
Cello, Narration and Backing Vocals - Corinna Jane: Backing
Vocals. In addition to his core band with keys, drums, guitars, cello,
bass and spoken word vocals, The Fermi Paradox also features
diverse instrumentation such as electric violin, theremin, pipes and
more, giving the album an ancient yet futuristic feel. The most ambitious
album so far by music maestro Paul Kirkpatrick, The Fermi Paradox
propels progressive music forward into a deep and dark sonic future.
mwe3.com presents a new interview with
The Fermi Paradox Interview
You were discussing the Fermi Paradox and you mentioned that you saw
a documentary about it several years ago. What documentary was that
and how did you assemble all the pieces and parts to come up with
the whole idea as it manifested on The Fermi Paradox album
release? What aspect of Enrico Fermi interested you most? He died
64 years ago, in fact the year I was born in 1954. I think I mentioned
a couple things about his unique life in my CD liner notes which Im
hoping people will read.
Paul K: Ive seen lots of documentaries about this subject
over the years and read lots online and in books. My parents tell
me Ive been interested in space travel since I watched man walk
on the moon with them in 1969, although I have no memory of that as
I was only 3! There was a Horizon documentary on the BBC about 18
months ago called Strange Signals from Outer Space and,
I think it was that which sparked the idea to look further into the
subject matter as a theme for an album. As part of my research I looked
at all the most famous cosmologists and scientists and it was Fermis
simple phrase of Where is everybody, along with Frank
Drake trying to build an equation to calculate how many civilizations
there should be out there, that drove my research and sparked a passion
to produce a piece of work on the subject. I also thought about this
human obsession with being alone in the universe when actually there
are so many lonely people on our own planet. Mankind doesnt
have a good record of living together within our own world so whats
the big obsession with finding alien life? We drive species to the
brink of extinction for sport, we are intolerant to each others
religion and beliefs, we dont look after all the hungry, lonely
people on our own planet, yet we will think nothing on spending billions
on warfare and space exploration. Perhaps if we focused on saving
our own planet and building a more tolerant world, any passing aliens
might actually want to contact us! I think your liner notes on Fermi
are great and give a nice insight into the man and his work.
mwe3: I was thinking that as a society, were so numbed
down by such hi-tech technology, which we now take for granted, that
perhaps we dont have the same sense of wonderabout space exploration
and something completely different. Back in 1968, Stanley Kubrick
introduced the idea of the Fermi Paradox through movie making with
2001, which you had to go and see in a real theater, but
at the time, mid 1968 the U.S. was going through very hard times.
The assassinations, wars and fears of that year kind of overshadowed
the fact that there was actually the first mission to the moon coming
up in 1969. Whats missing from humanity these days to make people
regain that lost sense of wonder?
Thats an interesting question and actually sums up some of the
other subject matter on Fermi, which is around social media and the
damage it is doing to society. It should be a great tool for connecting
humans together, but it is used to bully, spread hate, troll, create
fake news and allow 24/7 access to peoples private lives. The
data is used to market and sell to you and feed corporations
greed for profit and people use it in place of actual connections
to other humans. Everyone feels they need a social media presence
but what if people felt that same passion to connect face to face
with other people around the world across different cultures. Dont
get me wrong, Im a great advocate for technology but it needs
to be balanced. I find it sad that people can see someone being abused
or assaulted and rather than help they choose to film it and post
it online. Artists spend millions on creating amazing live experiences,
but people dont live in the moment, they film it and try and
watch it back on a tiny screen with crap sound! Its happening
right in front of you! Kate Bush had the right idea in banning phones
from her Before The Dawn shows. People lived the experience
of the show and I think it will become more prevalent in the future.
So even though we have all this technology people are becoming more
socially isolated than ever before and even though its called
social media, it can actually just mask the loneliness and isolation
that people feel from the decline in actual human interaction. The
album tries to tie together this feeling of being alone in the universe
with the feeling of being alone on our own planet.
I think the sense of wonder is still there to some extent, but people
have become acclimatized to it as technology moves on. I think if
it were to be revealed that we have already been visited, as I think
we probably have over the last 4.5 billion years, or that we have
made contact that sense of wonder would return. I dont think
people would panic, its obvious life must be out there somewhere,
and maybe it would bring us all together. Moviemakers tend to portray
aliens as aggressors but given our history maybe aliens dont
make contact due to our aggression against our fellow man, animals
and our planet!
mwe3: On The Fermi Paradox did you explain
the ideas of each song to the musicians that recorded the album with
you or go over each track and describe the mood or styles you wanted
the players to express on their instruments?
K: Not at all. I talked about the concept of the piece as a whole
but never went into the specifics of each track as I dont want
them to play with any preconceptions of my thoughts about the subject
matter. In fact, some tracks completely morphed in feel when others
played on them from my original concept for the track. From the initial
demo we might have added a beat or bassline or a guitar hook that
took the track down a completely different path, hopefully for the
better! The only tracks I didnt allow that to happen on were
the first ("Anomaly") and last ("Arecibo") as
I had a preconceived idea in my head of how these should sound, and
I didnt really stray from that.
On the tracks where we add drums David and I often discuss the feel
I am looking for and, as we share an appreciation of the same drummers,
we can often just quote a name and David will know the style I am
looking at for that track.
I will tell Gordon some ideas around if I am looking to add power
or feel or just some atmosphere and he just gets it and 9 times out
of 10 produces the idea Im looking for. With the bass its
pretty much the same. I dont think Ive ever said to Julian
try something different as, like with Gordon, weve
been playing together for years and he has the same musical interests
mwe3: Anomaly starts off The Fermi Paradox.
The concept of an anomaly in a planet is very complex. Theres
at least a thousand web pages on space Anomalies. How does Anomaly
fit into the concept of interplanetary space exploration and what
made you want to start The Fermi Paradox off with that title?
Its actually kind of a normal term in the world of space travel.
I like the quote What makes a bad-ass space anomaly? Planet
X? Evidence of aliens? So according to your notes, Earth itself may
be the anomaly of the universe? That is the scariest idea Ive
Paul K: Yes, perhaps Earth is the anomaly out there and we
are alone at this particular time in this particular universe. Its
takes a very complex series of events to occur to create life on a
planet. The history of life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years
ago, initially with single-celled prokaryotic cells, such as bacteria.
Look at where we are now! What we need to understand is is this
a normal progression of life in the universe or are we indeed
an anomaly. Everything has to be aligned for life to begin such as
environment, heat, water, breathable gases, light etc. so the odds
are against life rather than for it. However, the universe is calculated
to be 13.8 billion years old, so you would expect life to be everywhere,
and perhaps it is but at a molecular level. Maybe there was life on
Mars and they fled to earth. Maybe we are the aliens on this planet
and we are looking in the wrong places. I think if you listen to Mario
Livio on track four The Fermi Paradox he explains it perfectly.
There is a bottleneck where civilization becomes so advanced it eventually
destroys itself and we have to start again.
Sagan is track 2 on The Fermi Paradox. What made
Carl Sagan such an influential character in the realm of the cosmos
and tell us about the quotes you use from Carl on the album and about
the closing spoken words on Sagan. Sounds like its
in another language. Is Carls spoken words quote your favorite
from him? The cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or ever
will be is brilliant. How about Carls other famous
quote: Somewhere, something , incredible is waiting to be
known. How does Sagan fit into the concept of The Fermi
K: Well "Sagan" begins with Hello from the children
of planet Earth which is the English greeting from the Golden
Record carried on the Voyager craft into deep space. The track also
has several of the other greetings in different languages across the
piece as well as the Sagan quote you mention. The contents of the
record were selected for NASA by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan
and the definitive work about the Voyager record, Murmurs Of
Earth, was directed by Sagan with Frank Drake as technical director.
It made sense to feature Sagan so early on the album as he was instrumental
in all of the early thinking around cosmology and contacting other
worlds. As well as the greetings there are some of the other sounds
from the golden record such as a human heartbeat, a human laughing,
foghorns on a ship and a few others I will leave the listener to identify.
At the very end there is an Irish whistle playing a traditional Irish
political song called "Róisín Dubh"
from the 16th Century which gets drowned out by the sounds of technology
from the golden record which is meant to symbolize technology drowning
out traditional values.
I heard a program which Professor Brian Cox made about Sagan on Radio
4 and it really resonated with me, so it made sense to include one
of his quotes on the album. He died fairly young (62) which I think
was a great loss to cosmology and had he lived with some of the new
technology we have now he may have pioneered some more groundbreaking
mwe3: How does Ecce Homo fit into The Fermi
Paradox concepts? How do you feel ancient religion fits into the
futuristic elements of Fermi? This track harks back to Jesus and the
bible days, the crucifixion and the crown of thorns. This track introduces
the rock elements thanks to some sizzling guitar work from Gordon
Foley. The guitar sound is the perfect touch to represent the crucifixion
imagery. Did you write the guitar solo too? Its downright haunting.
Is that why you added the backing vocals of Corinna Jane, to make
the track seem human and not futuristic or Fermi influenced?
You can almost hear the hostility of mankind in that track.
K: Ecce Home (Behold the Man) came about because even
religion seems to be based on spacemen! The idea that Jesus was the
son of God and ascended into heaven, in space, sparked the connection
between religion and Fermi and that again mankind is looking to the
stars for salvation. And what did we do when we encountered someone
we didnt understand? Crucified them! So, if Jesus was a visitor
from another world, our reaction was to kill him. Of course, religion
is completely developed as a control mechanism by man to suppress
and control the populous, but spirituality was not created by man
and it is that which drives our connection to the stars. Perhaps its
in our DNA because we came from beyond the stars and inhabited this
planet, the same way animals know how to migrate back to where they
The guitar solo was Gordons creation and it sounds great on
the album but is also a live highlight. I try and leave space for
him to add some melody and it worked well as an answer to the strings
on this track. This was the first track I wrote for the album and
we played it as a taster for the new album at the Omertà
concerts. The choral elements from Corinna are to give it that kind
of religious feel and again, when performed in a church, sounded really
mwe3: The title track The Fermi Paradox, includes
that famous spoken work section by the famous Oxford professors Joe
Silk and Mario Livio. So how did you find their rare archival transcription?
Interesting that Joe Silk is still alive and Mario Livio is still
alive. Both of these guys are truly fascinating figures in the world
of astrophysics. Livio does most of the spoken word on this track.
Have you informed these guys about The Fermi Paradox album?
I heard that Livios latest book came out last year and is called
Why? What Makes Us Curious. What aspect of their conversation,
as presented here, intrigued you the most? Livio actually presents
several possible scenarios including the fact that weve been
here before and that weve destroyed our civilization before,
possibly at the same point? To the extreme that theyre already
Paul K: I found the video of their chat about Fermi during
my research and I approached Oxford University Fine Tuning project
about using it and clearing the copyright. It took a while but eventually
I was able to discuss it over email with Joe and he approved it and
Oxford gained Marios approval to use it as well. I just thought
the passion for the subject really shone through in Marios words
and he explained it perfectly in a couple of minutes, especially about
man destroying himself and aliens not being interested in us as we
are so primitive. Both guys are very much alive and still active across
multiple universities and multiple projects and I hope they enjoy
the track. It would be cool to do a joint show with them with music
and lecture and we are actually exploring that possibility. People
can view the whole conversation here.
What about 12 Billion Eyes? It starts off with spoken
words that sounds like its coming from a space traveler. The cello
plays a prominent role making the track sound very neoclassical in
scope. Tell us about the spoken words on the track and the neoclassical
meets sci-fi sound of 12 Billion Eyes. Sounds like R2D2
meets Philip Glass.
Paul K: "12 Billion Eyes" is about the shuttle program
and it refers to the 6 billion or so people on earth at the end of
the program. Nasa spent about $209 billion on the program but most
people will probably remember it more for the Challenger and Columbia
tragedies. Did it really push forward space travel? I have been lucky
enough to witness a couple of launches in Florida and it is a spectacular
sight, but I have also always remembered the phrase Challenger,
go at throttle up moments before it exploded, and it has stuck
with me since I witnessed the events on live TV in the 1980s.
Ive included samples from the conversation from ground control
to Columbia where the controller is trying to complete a comms check,
even though the world has seen the vehicle disintegrate on reentry
live on TV, and you can hear his voice getting more and more despondent
as he tries to establish contact.
The track is a tribute to all those brave astronauts who gave their
lives for the program and the R2D2 sound is a 50s synth computer
patch, blended with Guy Fletchers electric violin, all processed
through and Eventide Time Factor delay and Roland Space Echo. The
spoken word is actually me talking with a load of processing in Sound
Toys to make it sound like distant radio chatter, recorded on a voice
memo on my iPhone. A simple piano motif and the cello and bass carry
the track and then we all play the same motif as the main phrasing
of the track.
mwe3: Exegesis has more biblical references in
it? To be honest, that is the coolest track Ive heard you make
so far. Is Exegesis the most progressive rock style track
on the album? You spoke about the track referring to the first aliens
that visited Earth at the time of the building of the pyramids in
Egypt. What other references inspired you about Exegesis?
Its almost prophetic sounding. The references to Exegesis are
enormous as there are thousands of them from a wide range of religions.
Paul K: Yes Exegesis is probably the most epic
track on the album with its soaring strings, rotary and heavy electric
guitar, big drums and the throbbing live bass and synth bass combined
to give it the drive. We are looking forward to playing this one live!
Concept wise its about cave paintings, scrolls and other texts
that depict people coming from the stars. They are all over the world
and are definitely messages we need to understand and interpret. Things
were built thousands of years ago that we would struggle to build
today with all our tech so what happened? Why didnt technology
progress thousands of years ago and why has it progressed so much
in the last couple of hundred years? Or are we just getting back on
track to where we should have been following the natural progression
from thousands of years ago or have we been given a helping hand along
the way? There are obviously thousands of conspiracy theories on this
whole subject but they themselves may be a smokescreen for what is
really going on. Quantum computing, hypersonic weaponry, laser weaponry,
teleportation of light etc. are all actually happening now but why
now and why has tech advanced so much so quickly given our history.
Its a fascinating area to look at and read about and Exegesis
just touches on all the clues out there across the planet.
mwe3: Embryonic goes back to the creation of life
on Earth, again making it seem on par with the other tracks dealing
with life in the universe. Is Embryonic kind of a link
track, sort of a connector track if you will? A breather between the
K: Embryonic represents new life both on Earth and
perhaps elsewhere. Who will be the first person born on another planet
that we have reached? It may even happen in our lifetimes and this
track is about the creation of all life across the whole known universe.
Its a reflective track and features lots of old tech such as
Juno 6 and 60 synths, as well as Mellotron and some interesting FX
which represent a baby being born and the sound traveling through
space. Its a simple piano arpeggio with a lead piano line over
the top playing the melody with an accompanying fretless bass and
cello and some guitar arps cutting in half way through. The celli
are layered and octaved for that mournful sound and it drops back
out to the single piano at the end which represents the loneliness
of human existence at the time of birth and death. Its a very
reflective track and, as you have observed, breaks up both halves
of the album nicely.
mwe3: The Wikipedia page on Boyajians Star
which has a very interesting prefix number to it. What number is KIC?
Is there any hope to find life in that galaxy? Its a very short
track. Is hearing JFK give a speech about space in 1962 ironic, in
that back then everything seemed new back then before the war. This
track sounds very influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey. This
would make a great theme song and the guitars just kill at the end.
Whats the date of JFKs speech and is there live footage
of that speech? Pitting his legacy against the space program is pure
irony and his brutal end brought us down to a very low level in civilization.
So why this track? This track must have been one of the later in the
Paul K: KIC 8462852 was spotted by the Kepler space
telescope in September 2015. KIC means Kepler Input Catalogue and
this planet was observed with unusual light fluctuations. It has also
been hypothesized that the changes in brightness could be signs of
activity associated with intelligent extraterrestrial life constructing
a Dyson swarm (satellites constructed around a planet) although this
has largely been debunked by scientists who think it could be a dust
ring or other natural occurrence. The significance of this on the
track was JFK giving his speech that triggered the space race in September
1962 and then the excitement around discovering a planet that may
have alien satellites orbiting it. The guitars and Mellotron at the
end represent the successful landing of man on the moon and then you
hear Sputnik and a then everything drops out and that represents the
death of JFK and the fact he never got to see man on the moon. I would
assume there must be some film of the speech in a national achieve
but the audio is widely available on the internet.
mwe3: Parallax is one of your epic prog productions.
Gordons guitar just nails the track down and Corinnas
vocals make it even better. Where did that track come from and what
are the spoken words in the intro? I could see this track being a
concert highlight. Was the track inspired by Stellar Parallax, another
star related movement?
Paul K: Parallax starts with some audio of the
Russian space program and is Soviet ground control sending Uri Gagarin
off to space. His call sign was Kedr (Cedar) and the track starts
off with the exchange:
Korolev: "Preliminary stage..... intermediate..... main.....
lift off! We wish you a good flight. Everything is all right."
Gagarin: "_______!" (Poyekhali!Let's go!)
Later in the track are the intercepted words of another cosmonaut,
Vladimir Komarov, who was the first person to die in space flight,
although there are rumors of others covered up by the Soviets at the
time and intercepted by the US listening posts in Turkey and Malta.
Komarov melted on reentry and his charred remains were put on show
as a hero of Soviet Russia. As Komarov hurtled towards earth and certain
death in the stricken Soyuz 1 craft, he could be heard screaming and
cursing the 'people who had put him inside a botched spaceship.'
The track started as a simple bass arpeggio that I was playing around
with and then it came together very quickly after that. Parallax
is a term used to determine distances between the stars and at the
time of the space race those distances seemed huge, so it was a good
name for a track about getting into space across great distance. This
is another track, which we are looking forward to playing live.
Dark Matter has a kind of White Album era Beatles type
of beat to it. Its dark, somber and sobering at the same time.
What a great guitar solo. Who composed the solo? Its almost
very eerie and the title is very much based on scientific meaning
of the creation of the universe. Its mind blowing to think of
how deep these titles are. Someone might think that its just
a dark sounding song but it relates to the voluminous pages on this
subject. More like mind-blowing matter. At least theres hot
and cold Dark Matter, cosmologically speaking.
Paul K: I chose the titles of the tracks very carefully so
its great you picked up on that. David and I did spend a while
thinking about the beat on this one. We jammed a few ideas in the
studio and then David took it away and worked on the ideas and I think
its my favorite piece of drumming on the album. Gordon wrote
the solo and again we left him a lot of space to play with from a
melody perspective. The track started as the simple piano motif along
the lines of Broken from Omertà and originally
had no drums or guitar.
Dark Matter is a fascinating subject in and of itself
and Professor Stephen Hawking gave a great speech on the subject at
Caltech in 2013. Dark matters discovery, which along with dark
energy combine to amount to 95% of all matter making the normal matter
that can be seen and observed only 5%, is seen by Hawking as the next
barrier physics needs to breach. After understanding the nature of
dark matter and dark energy, many of todays missing links could
be put together and physicists may finally be able to paint an accurate
picture of cosmos. Dark energy, physicists believe, would explain
why the universe is expanding at an ever-growing rate instead of collapsing
under its own gravity.
The track itself is about life and the universe, but also relates
to the dark energy of technology and how we try to weaponize
all the great discoveries we make from splitting the atom to chemical
nerve agents. It also relates to all the negative output from social
media that fills the airwaves all around us and all of the content
of the dark web, another innovation from the military
(ARPANET), and how this tech is also used to isolate people and destroy
mwe3: FRB signals Fast Radio Burst as in radio
astronomy? Its another one of the more pastoral songs. Theres
a Moody Blues style interlude of mellotron magic near the end. Kind
of has a Glitch Code type of lyrical line with Corinnas wordless
vocal. The mellotron supported lines are notable at the end, like
a coda. Is FRB a very hopeful song right? Like the hopes
of the astronomers that they can find something?
Paul K: FRB does indeed relate to the Fast Radio
Bursts and the WOW signal picked up by space telescopes and its
a song of hope that someone is trying to reach us and we just need
to learn how to listen to them and understand the message. The mellotron
and Hammond both feature on this track as well as some interesting
space noise from the Cassini-Huygens probe sent to Saturn. There is
a nice juxtaposition at the end when the arpeggio changes and the
feel is more elation that we have received the message and are responding.
The very end is also a stylistic tribute to the Starman himself, David
Bowie, who inspired both my interest in music and space!
Great Silence is a definite highlight. What made you want
to include this poem by Abraham Sutzkever on The Fermi Paradox?
He has such a sad tale. I saw he died in 2010 at age 96, in Israel
no less. Is that the irony of mankind eclipsed in one poem? He called
his poems weapons against death. Rachel Dawson did a great
job on this spoken word poem and it has a near Procol Harum esque
sound to it. Thank you for finding the transcript of the poem. Where
did you find it? It is both haunting and cosmic to say the least.
K: I was researching the term The Great Silence which
is sometimes used in conjunction with the Fermi paradox to signify
that we hear nothing coming back to us from space when I came across
the poem by Sutzkever. I read the poem and researched him and thought
that the words of the poem could quite easily be transposed in meaning
to the search for life in the universe. The verse that really struck
The Great Silence sifts the secrets of the night.
Unmoving, its thin flour falls on my brows.
I ask the Great Silence,
If I could I would ask more silently:
How many stars did you count
Since your beginning, since your hovering steady
Over the Genesis-night facing the Red Sea?
The fact that the New York Times wrote that he was the greatest
poet of the holocaust seemed to tie in to the destruction theme of
mankind as spoken about by Mario Livio. The Great Silence
in his poem is obviously God and he is asking Him how
many stars have you created in the universe since its beginning. The
juxtaposition of the track is that as Rachel talks about silence the
track actually bursts into life which represents the big bang theory
vs. God creating the universe which ties again back to Stephen Hawkings
theories on the creation of life and the singular big bang.
mwe3: Frank Drake is another one of these heroes in the study
of the universe. What instrumentation is on that? What speech is this
spoken word taken from? And Drake is still alive and with us. What
else can you add about Drake?
Paul K: The Drake Equation features Frank Drake
reciting his equation from the Horizon documentary I mentioned earlier.
I worked with Getty Images, the BBC and the producers of the documentary
to license both the audio and video from the program and we will feature
it during the live show as well. Frank is an amazing man and I would
love to spend some time with him discussing all the great projects
he has been, and still is, involved with.
The track itself is built around simple guitar arpeggio that I created
on a synth and then I added an answering piano motif, the fretless
and strings, and finally the ebow guitars as the main parts. I then
added layers of analogue synths and some lovely chimes from the Roland
D5 module. It has a really analogue bottom end, which is all moog
and sounds great through the studio speakers, you can really feel
it! I changed a couple of the phrases from the Drake narrative around,
so we ended up with the line And we decided that might be the
place to meet your friends, when you cant decide in advance
where to meet.
mwe3: Arecibo is a great way to end the album.
It sounds like weve reentered back into our home galaxy with
a welcome home Earthling kind of vibe. Gordons great
ebow sound gives it a haunting effect and what about the spoken word
at the end? Can you elaborate on the spoken words in Arabic on the
last seconds of the album and who is speaking that?
Paul K: I think Arecibo is my personal favorite
track on the album. It features the actual Arecibo message first transmitted
into space in 1974 aimed at globular star cluster M13. It would take
25 thousand years to reach its intended target which actually wont
be in the same place by the time the message arrives so its
really more of a beacon into space from mankind. It is named after
the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico used by Sagan and Drake
to send the message. Its a very haunting track and sounds great
in the dark through headphones as there are so many elements to it.
It has a choir, electric violins, cello, fretless bass, loads of layers
of synths, Mellotron, ebow and again is based around a simple piano
motif that alternates between grand piano and Rhodes. The message
at the end is the Arabic greeting on the Golden record on Voyager.
Roughly translated it means "Greetings to our friends in
the stars. We wish that we will meet you someday" and is the
follow up to the message on Sagan Hello from the children of
planet Earth. The haunting sound is Guy Fletchers electric
violin with a lot of processing through the FX rack! We did about
10 takes where Guy just ad-libbed to the music and from that I chose
the phrasing which best fitted the track.
Throughout your piano sound is truly brilliant. How do you stay in
shape as a musician? Do you find yourself practicing scales or do
you spend most of the time composing? Is the art of composing even
more educational than practicing repertoire or techniques?
K: Over the last two albums I have developed a piano sound, which
is basically a combination of a live grand piano and a soft synth
piano from Omnisphere. Ive tried to keep the piano as the consistent
sound on the album and the only practice I get is when we are rehearsing
for shows as I tend to be composing most of the time, so you play
something, perfect it then record it and perhaps dont visit
it again until you need to perform it. It is an interesting process
sometimes working out what you played as it may have been from a jam
session that I recorded or a one-off improvisation. Normally I can
work out what I would play from the feel of the track. I think composing
is more useful than practicing scales etc., as it spurs you on to
stretch yourself and learn new techniques. I listen to a lot of great
players both classical and modern and try and incorporate bits of
their techniques into my own style. I try and keep it as simple as
possible as I think the melody is more important than trying to play
20 notes in a bar! You will hear lots of repeating motifs on Fermi,
which allow the rest of the track to move around them sonically
and its a technique I like to work with.
mwe3: Are you happy with the way things have gone product wise
with people mostly listening to albums through their laptop speakers
and iTunes. Is the CD becoming a lost art form? How many options are
you giving listeners with The Fermi Paradox as far as how youre
releasing it? You say theres a gold CD version and a vinyl as
Paul K: As a producer who strives for sonic perfection it is
a bit disheartening when people listen through laptops etc. but I
think some of the Bluetooth speakers and headphones out there have
great sonic qualities. I try and listen through lots of different
devices and systems to try and get the best final sound. Obviously
in the studio and in mastering you are listening through great equipment
but you do have to remember most people will listen through their
smartphone or tablet headphones and try and make the music resonate
there as well.
CD sales seem to be holding on at the moment and Fermi will
be out on a limited edition Golden CD, which is a homage
to the Golden Record on Voyager. It has also been cut to vinyl and
that will be a very limited run of initially 100 units. Of course,
it will also be on all digital formats and streaming services.
mwe3: What is the wildest concept about the cosmos and the
human condition that gives you the most hope in the short time we
have left on the Earth plane? I was discussing this with a German
musician and he told me he believed in parallel universes. Do you
have any other aspect of paranormal that fascinates you? Was any topic
not covered in The Fermi Paradox album that should have been
and will you consider a second Fermi album in the future? It
seems like an unlimited concept matter.
K: Im sure there is enough subject matter out there for
a few albums on this topic! I think the concept of black holes is
interesting and what we would find if we were able to get a probe
through one. I also think the amount of Earth-like planets we are
finding out there is exciting, but we need massive advances in propulsion
to be able to have any hope of reaching them. I read only yesterday
in the Sunday Times newspaper about the US Government storing alien
spaceship materials at a secret Bigelow Aerospace facility in Nevada
funded as part of the AATIP (The Pentagons top-secret Advanced
Aerospace Threat Identification Program) corroborated by Luis Elizondo
who headed up the program. Apparently, these unidentified materials
have a physical effect on those that come into contact with them.
I hope one day Governments come clean about what they know,
and we can harness new tech to help us reach new worlds.
As for the paranormal, if you consider we can see only 5% of matter
that exists perhaps the paranormal is a glimpse into some of the other
95% yet to be unraveled. Maybe we are the only ones in this universe
at this moment in time, but I would like to believe otherwise and
hope we get more answers in my lifetime.
mwe3: Tell us about your next planned project, which youre
calling so far Reconstructed Memories and what kind of music
youre planning to feature on it? You mentioned it contrasts
false memories with real memories? Can you give an example? Because
youre based in London how can your fans from around the world
experience your music in a live setting and tell us about upcoming
concert appearance that will feature music from The Fermi Paradox.
And also how about your first album Soul Connection. Is
that available still? Your music is great on that album too. Your
music just seems to improve from album to album, concept to concept.
One can hardly wait to hear your next move.
Paul K: Thanks for the positive comments about my music Robert
and for your support for the last couple of albums. I try and give
it my all and make it interesting from both an aural and conceptual
viewpoint. The next album will be called Reconstructed Memories
and is already written in demo form. It will be a piano based electronica
album that will feature just Rachel Dawson on cello as the only additional
musician. I wanted to bookend Omertà and The Fermi
Paradox with something personal and I think Reconstructed Memories
really achieves that for me. It is a sonic experiment and I cant
wait to record it over the coming months. Its based around the
premise of real memories interacting with planted memories, which
combine to convince you they are real. For example, your parents may
have told you something you did as a 2-year-old that you convince
yourself you can remember, or a story may change over the years to
become more interesting the more times you tell it and eventually
you believe it as an actual memory. Implanted memories have been proven
to exist by psychiatrists treating people with false memories of traumas,
which may have happened at a different stage in their lives which
have become blurred and obviously there is dementia and Alzheimers
that also make the brain build false memories. It finishes with a
reading of the poem Love After Love, by Derek Walcott,
which I think will sum up at the end what the album is about
believe Soul Connection is still on iTunes but I must admit
Ive not listened to it in a while and perhaps will revisit it
one day using some of my new tools. We are planning a series of live
shows around the UK for the end of this year and throughout next year
and if they are well received we will look to tour the show to a wider
international audience. I try and do something different with the
live shows so it can get expensive to put them on, but I think its
worth the effort to bring the music to life visually. I was lucky
enough to see some new visual tech recently that I am looking to use
at the shows which is exciting, and we hope to film a couple of them
for the website/YouTube channel etc. Im also hoping to release
a new Glitch Code album next year and we are currently playing around
with tracks for that one which is provisionally entitled Minimal
and will, again, be a bit different from Gifted_Damaged in
both concept and sound.