Right, so, if you don’t know, the full length album The Room Beneath New Albion is now online.
The 6 CD collection of all New Albion albums is beginning to be manufactured and will be available in about 2 weeks tops. You will know. I will be very, very loud about it being available.
So, as with most New Albion story album musical opera thingies, there is a pile of backstory that could not be fit into the actual album due to… in this case usually flow.
Oh… i should mention: SPOILERS. If you haven’t listened you probably shouldn’t read on.
Two things worth mentioning today: the “Stanger” who visits the Tribe and what happens to Alice Young after the end.
I’ll just tell you right now that i will not tell you what happens after the end. I KNEW, i was GOING to put it in, but two things occurred. Number 1, there was no place to put an explanation of what happened after the ending. The last song has a particular emotional flow: the clash of groups, a quiet intimate moment between A&A, the kiss and the talk with the “Angels”. Emotionally it flows very nicely. The only way to mention what occurs AFTER the AIngels are done talking is to have one last Alex voice over. If i do it somewhere before the AIngels speak i ruin the emotional flow. I definitely don’t want it AFTER they speak because i want the album to end with them having the last word. It works too well having them end it. So, there was no room.
Number 2: It then occurred to me it was much cooler if the options were left up in the air. There’s only a couple of options and i LIKE the ambiguity. If i tell you what my original plan was, it sort of becomes canon. If i like a movie, aren’t sure what happened in a certain part off screen and read the film maker telling me what THEY originally envisioned that wasn’t put in, it kind of becomes canon for me. Now i know what they intended. So… i’m going kind of go with not saying anything. But the options as i saw it were:
a. Alice stays with Alex and they hole up in that room together for as long as she has left. She needs to keep snorting the sand, but they spend it together in the room while she withers away. (and it should be mentioned that above them New Albion is days away from erupting in riots)
b. She stops taking the sand and finally goes back to her tribe. She’s not going to make a full recovery, she’s got a limited time left no matter what (although more without taking any more of the sand for certain) and she has changed fundamentally in ways in which it is unsure she’d ever be able to fully transition back to being a true part of her tribe. BUT she would go back and there’d be some solace there. She’d certainly have a lot of information about the future, that’s for sure.
c. The hit/fix/snort whatever of the sand she took to hear the AIngels speak (which requires a pretty hefty dose) was the last one she had in her. She hears the Aingels one last time but it kills her.
I’m open to more options, but those were the 3 i considered. One of those was the one i was set upon until i decided it was best left open.
So, the Stranger who appears to the Tribe.
Back in the conception phase, i had a whole thing thought out.. a whole spoken dialogue thing when the stranger first appeared that would go in that middle section (in the 1st song when Alex talks). It was unlikely that i would ever actually put it in since spoken dialogue REALLY is difficult to make work. It almost never does, sounds too forced and kills the flow. Take the 1st song… having a spoken bit, where the “Stranger” delivers a little monologue or it (which has some humrous elements) utterly changes the mood we spend the whole song cultivating. There was no way it was ever going to actually be put in.
But, i do that have the stranger all worked out.
The Stranger is from the future. Early Atompunk era likely. He has the genetic anomaly inherited from the Tribe long ago which allows the Sand to move you through time. It is not as strong in later generations as it was in the Tribe’s time. The Tribe’s time is when it was the most.. uh…. pure. (that’s a bad word for it, but you get the idea) However, even diluted, the Stranger has enough of the gene to make a one time trip.
The Stranger is basically a hippy. He thinks he’s on a really crazy trip. (and he is in a sense) He also comes from a time when the Sand is rather available. So the AIngels contact him (as they can people who are on the drug. They have figured out how to contact minds on the Sand. They cannot otherwise contact people like this, but something about the human brain on that particular drug allows the AIngels to have worked out how to make contact, regardless of Time).
They need the hippy to get a bunch of Sand, take a rather heroic dose, move through time (with their help) to the Tribe’s time, present their request and give the Tribe, particularly the Chosen One the Sand. They cannot contact the Tribe themselves until one of them actually takes the Sand. So the hippy is charged with being their representative. Understand that if he fails, they’ll find another and another and keep sending them back until they get some member of the Tribe from some generation around that era to help. It is possible the hippy is not the first they have sent back and in fact they sent “strangers” to the 2 generations before Alice. Because of this the Tribe takes the request more seriously. However, also assume there are a limited number of people the AIngels can find to send back.
The hippy is only good for one trip. His genetic predisposition is not great enough to allow him to do this more than once and he and others of his ilk are certainly not strong enough physically and mentally to be sent to build the room.
So the hippy is sent back and wanders up to the Tribe to make this case for the weird voices that had talked to him, believing the entire time that this is all a hallucination and pretty convinced he’s gone and “done it this time”, that is, taken too much of a drug and gone around the bend.
You could have a rather clever and at times funny dialogue around this event. I just can’t possibly have it in the album. It would KILL the mood and the flow.
So, there you go. That’s the deal with the Stranger.