Morosoph’s Odyssey, Part Three

The following was written in situ, during the event or shortly after. In some cases (specifically, parts of the final chapter), there was enough time between the event and my recollection of it that I stray into rambling territory. (My apologies.) All changes are grammatical or completions where I used shorthand. All conversations and observations are made from memory and perception. These are the events of two days in winter, as I lived them.

Part Three

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To an audience chomping for more, the sliding, deep grooves of “The Literal Black Cloud” draw the evening to a close, the end severely punctuated by Danny (Walker)’s final, resonating hit of the ride. Intronaut opt against an encore, leaving everyone’s—mine included—desire to see more to go unsatiated2. As always, the severing of instrument and listener has left me physically and emotionally drained, and all I can do is take the remaining silence, or what would pass for it, to compose a torrent of thoughts, all of which comprise a variation of elation over what I’d just witnessed and slow cascade of depression that it has to be over so soon. Were I in a slightly difference place and time, I would most assuredly be stretching myself yet thinner to do this tomorrow all over again.

Coming out of my daze reveals the band members to be dismantling and unplugging their instruments, in between the odd chat with a fan. Touring brings with it a long series of structural creation and destruction; frames being painstakingly built to preference and near-perfection (unless perfection is, indeed, achieved), only to have their bolts loosened and shapes disintegrated hours later, just to restart the process all over again the next day. Sweaty, tired hands remove the cymbals and drums, coil metre upon metre of cable. Thus begins the second half of mundanity that one can only hope has just been justified in a miniscule timeframe measured in minutes.

As fans disappear, the vacated space is replaced by large, empty cases, waiting to engorge the mass of carbon and wire. Standing idly to observe, guilt over this idleness creeps in and I attempt to engage in some conversation with Sacha, asking him about his pedals. He mentions that he doesn’t use a distortion pedal, using instead the amp to produce distortion. I’ve always wondered about how Intronaut produces its distinct sludgy sound, and remark that he (or someone else) ought to list his gear on Wikipedia, so enquiring minds may be so informed instead of having to google in futile.3

Wound cables and then guitars find their way into the cases. Pat carefully lays each cymbal between fine cloth manufactured to protect them into a bag manufactured to house them. A conversation about influences erupts when Dave starts the task of putting away his own equipment, a constant figure amongst a motley of bands and musicians being Jimi Hendrix. For all the diverse influences within Intronaut, at least that is consistent, although I’m left to reflect on an exchange that takes up more of my mind than Jimi. Dave seemingly sarcastically mentions Bon Jovi, and I, in my infinite perceptiveness, make a firm declaration that, a) one can make an argument that early-Bon Jovi is listenable, and b) I am not one of those to make that argument. (Emphasis on Bon Jovi does not make my kind of music, and if you like their music, we may disagree about a few things.) Dave then turns it around and reveals that he genuinely likes Bon Jovi, abandoning me on the shores of foolishness. I lick my wounds while the conversation continues around me, before slinking to the merch table to bother Pat.


Throughout the entire day, Pat has been beset with muted coughs and a slight glaze in his eyes. He has a cold4, and I respect that he doesn’t let it get in the way of a sterling performance and the badgering that follows. He is the only member of Scale the Summit to not originate from Texas, having moved to Houston from California to work with the band. Internally, I reflect that this gives me a good opportunity to ask whether the cultural and political shift was difficult for him, if there was any, as well as what motivated him to make such a significant move. Externally, I ask what it’s like to live in Texas. I get the obvious response, “It’s great.”

To my credit, I resist the urge to comment that I feel bad that Gary Kubiak’s time in Houston won’t end well, along with the urge to display my shameful level of inane and oft-cynical knowledge about whatever his chosen habitat, the present one being Texas.

I make my first pair of “investments” of the night: Scale the Summit’s latest album, The Migration, and a black T-shirt on which a sienna recreation of the aforementioned album’s cover has been printed, the latter of which for some reason required an unfair amount of needless deliberation. Although I saw the cover before, I comment now that I like how reminiscent of it is of a progressive rock LP from the 1970s, and that, indeed, it’s on the LP version of the album that the art seems to shine. We agree that CDs will never be able to match the aesthetic quality of LPs, and how the latter’s recent revival is a boon for music—even if neither of us are particular aficionados. (I personally own only two LPs; one belonging to Iggy Pop and the other, Van Halen.) The loss of music’s allure intensifies with every technological advance, particularly in the digital age. Those of us with a deep connection with music all recall our great discoveries, and how we, singularly, traversed burgeoning aural frontiers. These may have been popular explorations, but each discovery was ours alone, done so meticulously through careful examinations of artwork, lyrics, rhythm, beat, cadence, length, and production decisions. Some would even attempt to get a glimpse of the industry’s inner machinery by observing their acknowledgements.

Certainly, I’d be lying if I said that nostalgia did not exist today, but I can’t help but feel that when you look at something like an LP, you still get a sense of it, but increasingly less so with CDs and FLAC. This topic comes up in a less meaningful way when I talk to Chris about his use of Fractal as opposed to traditional pedals. I am in love with what Fractal Audio is doing and am envious that I don’t own something like the Axe-Fx II, but with the idea of aesthetics on my mind, I ask him whether he feels the “old-school badassness” (forgive me, I couldn’t think of apt words on the spot) is missed in abandoning the mass of beaten-up pedals—specifically, the aesthetics of the travelling musician. Under the impression that I disapprove of his use of Fractal, he shoots back that now he doesn’t have to travel with a large collection of pedals but a single one, saving both space and peace of mind. Lost in my previous nostalgia was the consideration of efficiency. I don’t carry all my CDs (and pair of vinyls) around with me; I carry all my music around with me on a hard drive, with an extraordinary freedom to listen to music wherever and whenever I please. Is losing that worth a beautiful cover? Is losing the old ideas of what music is supposed to be worth the convenience?

Next investments: two Intronaut shirts. The first is a brilliant and clearly popular rendition of a black metal-listening dolphin smoking a bong. It dons corpsepaint and a Gorgoroth T-shirt. The second is what looks like a colourful, abstract lion. It’s actually made up of different shapes, one of which is that of the familiar Intronaut motif (as further evidenced by the central figure of the previous purchase), a dolphin. As pretty as the lion may be, it’s obvious that the Gorgoroth dolphin might be Intronaut’s best design—and it was designed by a roommate, go figure.

Both in the basement and artists’ quarters, antsy figures urge those inside to get going; only brief conversations are borne out: I talk with Danny about the size of the stage, and then Sacha about maudlin of the Well. Danny tells me that “Any Port”, a song that ends with a prolonged instrumental section led by the dual rhythmic beats of Danny and Dave, had to be scrapped tonight because there was not enough space to accommodate Dave’s set of toms. Sacha, by way of either fatigue or disinterest, appears to lack my own enthusiasm for maudlin, although he mentions having seen them live before they disbanded, to my certain envy.

Antsy figures. I begin to pack up to placate them.

End of Part Three.

Next time: the end.


  1. I intentionally left out comments on both bands’ performances because I wanted to avoid making this a review. Previous “reviews” are evident enough of my lack of objectivity when it comes to certain live performances, so I want to firmly detach this from the perception constraints of a review. Compare:

    Joaquim Baeta, “Unforgettable: Intronaut Live, One,” The Number Zero, 2011,
    Id., “Embarrassment Never Felt so Good: Cynic Live, One,” The Number Zero, 2011,
  2. Unsated?
  3. Really, this should be no more obvious than a hockey player saying what flex and length they prefer. Endorsement considerations aside, this would allow musicians to show the tools that go into their creation process and allow reproducibility if it is so desired. That said, I can empathise with the desire to keep part of one’s music a mystery, when so much of the form is endlessly copied by unoriginal trend-followers. Darkthrone’s Fenriz, for example, makes it no secret that he despises what became of the genre his band helped create, which is due in no small part to the fact that black metal in its infancy was easily reproducible, and in its present stage prone to revivalists. To highlight my own actions rather than opinion in this “debate”, I will point out that in Information Theory’s accompaniment*, I explained both my rationale for the noise I produced and how I produced it, while in THE WINDOW†, I did neither.

    * Joaquim Baeta, “Music: Information Theory,” The Number Zero, 2010,
    † Id., “Music: THE WINDOW,” The Number Zero, 2010,
  4. At the time of this manuscript's completion, I have recovered from my own, subsequent cold. I believe I got it from him and blame him for every discomfort I suffered as a result of it.

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