This piece sets the scene and tone of the whole album, which is, loosely, conceptual. It begins here with a meditation on the paradox of beauty within systems of cruelty, and the inherent hopelessness of the conditioned mind. The promise and noble dream forged by our ancestors spanning the so-called “Age of Enlightenment” of the late 17th through 18th century, is sharply contrasted by the modern day reality of a global society sliding backwards into a frightening ‘Dark Age’ of fear and religious extremism.
NOTES : Some imagery - look at the atmospheric painting “The Inquisition Tribunal” by Goya from the early 19th century ; the murder of the film director Theo Van Gogh by a young Muslim, who said that he had nothing against the man he had brutally murdered; it was his ‘Faith’ that compelled him….The bombing of Abortion clinics and murder of doctors in the USA…The burning of Embassies, accompanied by hysterical self flagellation, because of cartoons…placards displaying “Behead those who insult God”…and, of course, drunken football fans fighting on the streets of Germany.
Interestingly, when Tim Martindale was putting the artwork together for the album, he suggested showing some imagery to reflect each piece. I suggested using one of Alastair Dicksons brilliant sculptures and the one that Tim chose, is a strange (to say the least!) Character wearing a conical hat…in the Goya painting the accused heretics are wearing pointy hats (historically, this is one origin for the “dunces cap”). Nice coincidence eh?