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Welcome To Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera

It is wisest to promote the new release of the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera another day, so i am doing so, but after the link we’ll talk a hair.

If you haven’t heard, the 1st Act of An Atompunk Opera, The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness is here! Listen to it! Buy it! Keep me and the singers alive! Every Tuesday another act will be released.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, i hope you are enjoying the first act.  There are a few things i was very specifically attempting to do with it.

First of all, since this is the final piece of a trilogy, the 1st act is designed as a play on numerous parallels and inversions of parallels to A Steampunk Opera. Should you be noticing any of them (and there’s a list of parallels and inversions) i assure you, they’re all quite intentional. I do not do this with the other acts, only this one, but i really wanted to begin the Trilogy closing by riffing and inverting the Trilogy opener.

This opera differs from the first two in that the entire opera carries a much, much greater emphasis on an unfolding plot. I’m not saying there’s no plot unfolding in the other two, i’m just saying that was really a major, prime even, consideration in the AO from the get go. Thus the 1st Act only goes so far and likes to dangle a lot of threads. Oh, it’ll pay off, don’t you worry.

So welcome to the ride. We’ve got a LONG way to go and the next installment is lots of high energy, so thanks for trying out my ride, i promise, i spent a year making my entire life’s mission that by the time this opera is all over, you will have said “Holy fuck” a number of times. Well, the holy fucking is coming, so stay tuned and thank you all for caring and supporting this trilogy. I love you all. We will discuss the future a little later, but rest assured, it’s on its way.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Act 1 Of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

Okay kids, here it is. Act 1 of An Atompunk Opera!

The remaining Acts (4 in total) will be released each Tues from here on in.

A few things:

1. Please bear with it. Think of this as a weekely series and this first episode is of course where we set up the pieces. A single act is only 20 something minutes and you may hate me when it suddenly ends. But i’m very curious to try out this format and curious what you think of it in the long run.

2. Don’t forget, your purchase will go straight to paying the singers, those delicious voices you hear who make the opera sound awesome and not like crap. They are literally what brings this thing to life. The poor dears need fed, BY ALL THAT’S HOLY PLEASE FEED THEM.

3. Posting links and tweets and talking about this online is how we have gotten here. It is THE reason there is now 3 of these instead of just 1. Thank you all for that. Please keep it up.

4. I love you all. I hope you enjoy.

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Atompunk Opera Is Recorded. Initial Release Date May Be…

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera

It is done.

All the vocals for The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera have been completed. I shall be heading to Heathrow in a few hours where i shall try to sleep for a few hours on a comfy chair, or barring that, a moderately untorturous chair, or barring that, the floor until 5 AM. I shall board a flight and a whole bunch of dumb steps later be back home (around dinner) and commence mixing.

While i do have another work commitment to honor which will take a couple of days, because of the episodic release of the opera, one act a week for four weeks, i don’t ACTually have to mix the entire thing before i release the 1st Act. I just have to mix… the 1st Act. I’ve done a lot of preliminary work here in between the sessions, so i doubt mixing the entire opera would take longer than 10 days in any case. But the first act alone will be pretty simple, most of it is already premixed.

So i think i could release the 1st Act beginning on Tuesday, July 8th is this too soon? Are you all on vacation? Lord knows, i need to pay the poor singers so i need y’all to be around to buy the dam thing.

So, to recap: Atompunk recorded. Maybe Act 1 out July 8th. Badda bing, badda…

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Atompunk Opera Overture

So uh… well, here’s the Overture to the Atompunk Opera, at least as it stands now. I’ve only just stopped work on it after 2 furious days and have no doubt i may make corrections. The voice in particular is absolutely going to get an overhaul, but for one thing, it won’t even be my voice on the final album, it’ll be Kayleigh McKnight, and until then i will be exploring better fx tricks.

However, i quite like this, so while it’s a bit premature ( hell, in a couple hours when i go back to listen to it after the day is done i might end up making mad corrections, reuploading and yelling at myself for being such a brainless idiot to put it up without properly vetting it), never the less i’m going to go ahead and give a sneak peak.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Snapshots from New Albion (Atompunk Era) Part 2

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The writer for the most popular soap opera on videovision is a brain in a glass jar. As part of his contract every evening a young woman comes in and for an hour sits with him and describes in minute detail the day’s weather.

They say the New Albion monorail F Train is haunted at night by the ghost of a pop star who not only hasn’t died yet, but hasn’t even become famous yet. Amongst a very special circle of the entertainment industry there is an active hunt, an obsession with very high stake bets, to find this person while living and “discover” them.

One of the most popular musical instruments of the day does not in itself make a sound. It allows you to conduct the different sounds in your environment, mixing and looping them as you walk about and they occur. Kid Z’s weekly Saturn Park remixes which he makes while strolling in the afternoon through Saturn Park on Saturdays are a consistent bestseller.

The power for the Syer’s Building is supplied by the dreams of 150 sleeping volunteers. They sign on for a period of time ranging from a week to 3 years (although plans are underway to offer up to 10 years). They are placed in a state of deep sleep and offered a variety of incredible themed dreams. The energy their dreaming minds create is used to power the building and it’s well regarded top of the building lighting. The dreams are “induced” by a computer simply reciting 10 key words related to the chosen dream theme over and over again every few minutes for the legnth of the sleep.

New Albion has its own superhero, Captain Apollo. Some nights he can be spied high above, leaping about buildings in his never ending quest to fight crime. He is basically adored. Interestingly, he does not actually exist. He was initially a performance art project that proved so popular the team behind him decided to just keep going. He is simply a 3D video projection. It takes a team of 3 to produce him and whenever, after a year or so one of them decides to move on, they are easily replaced, as many young videographers would love to be involved with Captain Apollo for awhile. What the team behind Captain Apollo cannot explain is the number of crooks who end up hog tied outside police buildings or at crime scenes with a note from Captain Apollo taped to their shoulder.

A series of transparent plastic tubes connect buildings for block and blocks allowing pedestrians to walk about in any weather well above street level without ever having to go outside. The biggest nuisance of these tubes however are gangs of cosplayers who play a day long elaborate chase game in these tube. The game is a unique combination of Laser Paint Tag, Spy and Capture the Flag  where they hunt each others’ team in costumes from popular comic and videovision series (although some will dress normally until a key moment when they will throw off their disguise to reveal their colorful “real” clothing), shooting each other with stained light and trying to capture each team’s Princess (who is not necessarily female or even at times human. Dogs, cats and goats have on occasion been used).

A popular form of fashion involves clothes made out of electricity.

Amongst the New Albion middle class there is a popular oracle they go to in order to divine the future. The oracle resides in the Psychedelic Basement deep in the industrial park. This oracle is actually a puddle of radioactive ooze. Due to a rather improbable accident the ooze somehow possesses the ability to cause hallucinations when stared at for over a minute. What’s more these hallucinations are sometimes of a possible future. When they are, the probability of that future being accurate is about 67%, which makes the ooze far and away the most accurate fortune teller in the city.

One of the most popular taxi drivers in the city is an automation who cracks jokes and dispenses with hilarious and homey advice. No one is quite sure how he operates. Some think he really is an automation and others assume  he’s controlled by someone at the central depot. Actually he is controlled by a talking mouse named Kevin, who comes from a long line of very intelligent mice and sits in the automation’s head where he has controls to drive the cab. Kevin also helps the police solve all sorts of crimes. Several constables are in the habit of taking a leisurely cab ride when they are particularly perplexed by a case. Kevin’s ability to think like and predict criminal behavior is unsurpassed. Even most of the cops do not know that the automation is actually Kevin the mouse. There are only a small handful of people who know that Kevin even exists much less is the wisecracking taxi driving automation.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Snapshots From New Albion (Atompunk Era) Part 1

new albion atompunk era

Hideee ho all! It is that time once again to sit and write a whole bunch of little snapshot of New Albion in order to have something to use for fodder for New Albion 9.

As usual i could sit and write this stuff all day. In fact, i will have to continue tomorrow because although i just sat here and kept writing and writing, i didn’t actually write any of the kind of stuff i can use for little vignettes in the song. I’ll have to do this again tomorrow and focus a bit more diligently on usable mini vignettes.

In any case, here is the first installment of Snapshot of New Albion for the Atompunk Era:

-Some of the tunnels beneath new Albion have become quite fortified and developed. They exist in the area where the Albino Tribe live. Access to them is gained by only a few locked iron doorways and trespassers are killed instantly.  Inside the tunnels cover several kilometers and are quite lavish. The tribe does good trade with the aboveground world and the vast majority of their money is made by providing a very popular drug called Tansan, a rust colored powder that produces euphoria and is a mild hallucinegenic.

– In years past there was quite an effort by several criminal parties to obtain control of the drug. The albinos tribe, which had been living under New Albion for centuries, were threatened by such intense interest and things occasionally got rather bloody, but eventually peace was made when a red haired man finally brokered a deal with the tribe.

– His granddaughter, the red haired albino girl, effectively runs the criminal organization which controls the drug and is one of the most powerful criminal bosses in the city.

– After the civil war the 8 districts remained independent although over time ceded a small amount of power to the central Parliament, mostly for defense and basic infrastructure. The Parliament and Major’s office has long tried numerous attempts to gain more power but the districts have stubbornly resisted.

– The Voodoopunks gained popularity very quickly, as they were backed by the Major’s office as an attempt to establish a city wide religion that would bring the districts together and run in close, albeit secret, cooperation with the Central Office.

– This strategy allowed the Voodoopunks to expand rapidly but didn’t quite produce the results the Major’s office was looking for. The Voodoopunks had their own agendas and didn’t return the backscratching to any appreciable extent.

– When Avalon Corp came along promising exciting new technologies and sleek visions of the future, the Major’s office chose to back them, hoping to use technology to create a homogenized culture. This worked also to some extent, especially after a generation and certain events had passed. The tax shelters and favoritism Avalon Corp received allowed them to develop and market a slew of new technologies, transforming New Albion fairly quickly into a City Of The Future.

– However, Avalon Corp has deep secrets of their own. Their work on what we would call a personal computer was revolutionary and utterly undreamed of in the world New Albion exists in. The stages they had planned would culminate in the Mascot 3000 series of personal tablet interfaces. Very much like Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy type of devices, but interactive personalities.

– The Mascot 3000 had purposes beyond this of course, but that is a secret for another day.

– The vast amount of Avalon Corp’s resources eventually went into the Infraspace Exploration Project and an enormous amount of the city’s economy became inadvertently tied to it.

– With the sudden collapse of Avalon Corp (also a story for another time) the personal computer industry fell overnight. A few businesses managed to reverse engineer some basic computers and thus the great automation of every aspect of personal life in New Albion continued, although in much simpler form.

– Only one working Mascot 3000 actually exists. You will meet it soon enough.

– A species of mutant crickets lives in the ventilation system of the High Rise Park. Their song has been slowed down to a speed comprehendable to human ears. There is a subculture of residents who crawl into the ventilation system in the evening and even assemble in groups in makeshit room deep in the high rises infrastructure to sit and listen to the cricket song  for hours as if attending a concert. The drug Tansan is quite popular with them.

– Jet packs were invented, put on the market and immediately taken off. However, since the Mayor’s offce possesses only a fraction of actual power, the central ban on them has been very ineffective. Accidents while operating jet packs are currently the number one cause of death in New Albion.

– There are alas, no robots. Avalon Corp would have done it had they had another generation or two to keep working. The Mascot 3000 is the closest they got.

– A series of floating agricultural cloud stations were proposed and one was built in order to conserve space and grow plants in the sky. After the sudden collapse of Avalon Corp threw the city into economic disarray, the project was abandoned and the station forgotten about. There is however still a man living there who chose not to leave. He is up there in the clouds alone, growing his food, living out a quiet life and watching from high above the world go about around him.

– The designs he uses to decide where to grow each plant and the path formations have grown more and more complex over the years. This has a bit to do with his ever increasing knowledge and mastery of agriculture, but it also has to do with the rather occult like relgion he has slowly developed over his long, lonely years up there. The plants form an elaborate sigil meant, among other things to attract the 6 disciples he believes will one day appear to join him, 3 men and 3 women. He believes they will over time give birth to a new race of cloud dwellers who will live in accordance with a great Scripture he believes will be revealed to the Group once it assembles.

– During the immense housing boom following the end of the civil war and culminating in the height of the Voodoopunk Era, a number of incredibly visionary and creative housing areas were built. After the sudden population decline however, many sit abandoned. Or at least, officially abandoned.

– The homogenization of culture and the dominance of the new era of “responsibility,  productivity and serenity” brought about as a direct reaction to the passing of the incredibly dynamic Voodoopunk Era has created a much more calm and stable society. However with such stability there is a certain percentage who cannot live in such  structure and monotony. Thus there are groups of younger citizens who are abandoning the comforts of the sleek high rises, houses and apartments that “do it all for you” and forming tribes who live in the many abandoned housing areas. It is from these that the new music and art trends which will come after the Atompunk Era is slowly beginning to simmer and surface.

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Character Background: Rachael (Atompunk Opera)

We shall attempt to write as much about our female lead, Rachael as we possibly can at this early juncture.

We can either begin with where she is at the beginning of the opera, 18 and just being released from the asylum, or at her birth.

There’s not much i can say about her birth in the interests of not revealing too much. Her birth was not without noteworthy incident, but since she herself does not know the actual details, we can be forgiven for skipping over them.

Rachael is an orphan and was raised in a private home by Mrs Hanson, along with 6 other girls. Rachael is unaware that she has a trust fund established for her by the now defunct Avalon Corporation. All the children in Mrs. Hanson’s small boarding house do, and there are a several other homes besides this one.

Mrs. Hanson’s house has a rather tight, almost religious air, although it is impossible to say what religion. Mrs. Hanson is careful to keep her Voodoopunk faith quiet. There is not a stigma regarding the Voodoopunks like there was a few generations previously, but given that some years before, about a generation after the civil war ended, the Voodoopunks reached their peak in New Albion, were a major cultural player and then almost overnight just died out or faded into obscurity (though why no one can quite say), the remaining Voodopunks are strangely quiet and reserved about their faith.

Mrs Hanson is indeed devout and very loyal to both her faith and the responsibilities trusted upon her by the now defunct Avalon Corporation.

Thus Rachael grew up in a house with a warm enough atmosphere, although one would not quite use the word loving. She missed the basic love of a father or mother, and the other girls sometimes came and went, depriving her of the ability to truly have life long sibling bonds. Although this effected her and how she grew up deeply, she didn’t care as much as some of the other children. She knew she was loved. The radio told her so.

Rachael believes the radio has sung her songs throughout her young life, specifically to her in an attempt to tell her it loved her. The other girls in the home have reacted in various ways to this, from shrugging their shoulders over the eccentricity which was in comparison no more weird than a number of quirks girls in the system possessed, to some teasing and mocking. Rachael learned to keep a little bit of a lid on it, although the teasing never really bothered her too much. This was however before the… the Trouble.

Rachael is immensely curious. She devours mystery books with a passion. She began exploring the entirety of Mrs. Hanson’s house at a very early age, and quickly found the underground tunnels beneath it which go beneath not only the entire block, but the neighborhood and beyond. She has seen some quite strange things in these tunnels during her explorations.

There are other girls who enjoyed coming with her on her mystery excursions, but often the others would have a desire to ultimately perform some sort of mischief or crime, such as thievery. Rachael has no such motive, she enjoys the pursuit and intrigue for it’s own sake. She loves puzzles, learning secrets or piecing together peoples’ hidden motives.

Is it not simply the aquirement of some unknown, hidden piece of information that most delights her, it is the pursuit,the act of doing the puzzle itself. Make the aquirement of a hidden secret enormously complicated, with as many hoops to jump through as possible and she will be enthralled and in heaven.

She knows of course one day she will tackle and find the answer to the mysterious signal that sings to her at night from the radio.

Growing up in the system with a revolving group of girls as housemates affects everyone. No parents, no deep, intimate connection with a mother and father, only a warm authroity figure and sibling type peers who can stay anywhere from a few years to a few weeks leaves its mark on different girls and boys in different ways.

Rachael has a great deal of social anxiety, especially in group situations, which is ironic considering her talent for reading people and social cues. She is enormously perceptive at putting together peoples’ internal mental states, and on some level assumes others can read her just as easily, which is far from the case. She assumes they can easily read her, will judge her and find her laughably lacking which makes her uncomfortable and awkwardly self conscious. Add to this the fact that she picks up an incredbile amount of information even in the minutae of peoples’ behavior to being with and this information overload along with her deep, deep insecurity makes her very anxious and uncomfortable in group situations, resulting in anxiety attacks on occasion.

Rachael can be shy and stressed out, keeping a tight lid on her anger and expression. Thus sometimes her anger and frustration can just come pouring out. When it does she can lose a bit of self control and often can be a bit destructive, even self destructive in these moments.

Rachael is a cutter. When upset she will sometimes hole herself up and trace the letters RFE into her thigh with a razor. The other girls know about this (they have their idiosyncricies too) and assume it to be Rachael’s initials.

They’re not.

Despite all this, Rachael is not that suseptable to teasing. It doesn’t work on her very well, making it often times useless as her adolescent housemates obsessively practice it, as teenagers do, to establish pecking order and dominance. She is obsessed with puzzles, secrets and motives. Thus, she often knows her housemates’ dirty little secrets, the ones they think no one else does. It is to Rachael’s credit that she rarely ever uses them against anyone, or even ever lets the person onto the fact that she knows.  What it does do is give her inner emotional leverage. When you know someone’s deep dark secret which could potentially devastate them and all they can do is tease you over the most petty, insignificant thing, it puts a certain perspective on things that allows Rachael to rarely care about the idiotic things her housemates focus on to tease her about. The girls rarely tease her about the things she is actually anxious about and for those few times some power hungry girl is bent on breaking Rachael, a few well dropped allusions to her deepest and darkest of secrets will usually shut them up quite handily.

It is important to point out that we are thus far talking about a 15 to 16 year old girl. It is about this time that the events occur which will take us to Rachael’s 18th birthday when the Atompunk Opera begins.

The Home has its benefactors, including a politician or two. We are not at liberty to name names, but there is a New Albion politician, a member of City Parliament who donates money and time to the cause of lost, wayward youth. He tours some of the homes. Sometimes he finds a special girl with whom he makes a… special bond.

He made just such a bond with Rachael.

He showed her a great deal of carefully practiced attention and gifts, taking her out to see parts of the city of New Albion she never had a chance to see or experience before. She had never had a father or even a father figure and her experience with boys was limited at best. She was 15, shy and at her most romantically vulnerable.

He and his strange world did make her uncomfortable, and to her he was kind of old, old not is a 60 something way, but in the way late 30s is old to a 15 year old. Still, he was fit, charming and the doorway to a great, grand, larger world. It was impossible to resist when he finally got to the straight out seduction part of his carefully rehearsed routine.

Didn’t she see his motive coming a mile away? Of course. But attention, romance, excitement and sex too? What was there not to like? She was too inexperienced to see what a carefully rehearsed, by the numbers routine his attention was, or that the thrill he clearly exhibited was only the pure pursuit of the forbidden fruit, and at its heart utterly selfish.

They had several sexual liasons. The unnanmed politician was not as cautious as he should have been and Rachael became pregnant at 16.

Such matters made public would be obviously disasterous for his career, but fortunately the solution was quite simple. He arranged for a car to pick her up and drive her to the special doctor who would “take care” of the situation.

Rachael refused. She decided, sensible or not, that she wanted to have the baby. She would not ask him for anything regarding it, but she wanted to keep it and would.

A baby the politician had sired, born out of wedlock to an underage orphan girl at one of the very homes he helped raise funds for… one need have only the most passing familiarity with politics to see the glaring problem with this situation. It was out of the question.

Rachael’s refusal to abort was interpretted as an act of war and met accordingly.

Everything about her was a matter of record, from her cutting to her claims about the radio singing love songs to her. One day men from the New Albion Psychiatric Asylum showed up with official documents for her to be committed. She was put in the asylum involuntarily at age 16 where, early in her stay, she was given strong drugs, knocked out for a few days and the matter of the baby done away with once and for all. Claims she made that she ever was pregnant to begin with were put on her papers as part of her delusions, just like the radio.

She spent two years there. On her 18th birthday she is released, since as a legal adult, she cannot be held involuntarily anymore.

Rachael is still not aware that a trust has been set aside for her by the long defunct and forgotten Avalon Corp or that although the corporation closed its doors and disappeared almost overnight 2 decades ago, certain aspects of it do in fact remain functioning and continue to pay close attention to her as well as other children. All she knows is she is now 18, and for the first time in 2 years able to finally leave the asylum where she has been sadly locked away. It is here our opera begins.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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