All tracks copyright 2006 David Wayne Higgins
Abaddon’s Key Ring
Abaddon, as the keeper of the gate to Hell, the Angel of the bottomless pit who binds Satan for a thousand years. Also identified as the angel of death and destruction, demon of the abyss, and chief of demons of the underworld hierarchy. So the idea for this theme was based on the personification of Abaddon. Everyone has a job to do, and his is to guard the entrance to Hell. Quite a job, unrewarding, don’t ever answer the phone, no boss, everyone complains but to who. So does Abaddon get a 10 minute break, a lunch hour, a day off? If so, where would he go? My original title was “Abaddon, Sysyphus And Pericleese Take The Afternoon Off”, but I opted for the present title to comprise the overall theme.
Stairway to Hell
I had come up with the second movement by accident one day and proceeded to spend the following four months trying to recreate it. The long standing problem with electronic music is that when you come up with a desirable patch, it’s not easy, or sometimes impossible to replicate. Personally, this is what makes it so much fun. Writing down a series of notes in standard western notation is easy. Even though the computer will save the recordings, mixings and settings, there are still some things you just have to “tune in.” The second movement was the focal point. After many months of failed attempts, I decided to turn everything off, and it worked! I was trying to figure out a complicated patch which wasn’t complicated at all, just a combination of a 8 beat playing on a 13 beat loop. The first and third movements where written around the second. The sound of the second movement was that of descending down a long dark stairway. The first movement, which is previewed, became the passage to the stairway, an aviary containing evil birds. Thoughts of Salmon Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” section “Mahound” where Lat Uzza and
Manat torment Gibreel through eternity prevailed. The third movement became the inevitable gate into the darkness, the fall into a bottomless pit. Oddly enough, the overall inspiration wasn’t a Led Zeppelin song or a parody thereof, but more so inspired by the stairway to the roof of the Duomo in Florence, Italy. I feel like eternal damnation would be close to complete insanity, therefore, the overall emotion of the piece is total madness.
“Paradise Lost” John Milton. Book II, Lines 229 through 283. My favorite section of the poem, so far (I will not stop reading and studying this masterpiece of literature, nor will I cease to be amazed). The section is Mammon’s opinion of the thought of returning to battle with the angels of heaven, a fight to be accepted back into the fold. Mammon is against returning to heaven to forever worship a God that they hate. The thought is that eternity in hell without oppression of the soul would be better than eternity in heaven in disgust. Hell and Heaven are states of being, and depend on what you make out of it. At the time of the writing, Brittan was going through intense political turmoil. Mammon’s speech was a political statement of what was going on at the time. I’m sure there are plenty of studies and dissertations which describe this section far better than I could, and I have read quite a few other references on the subject of Mammon. Musically, the piece represents his speech, the arguments that ensued, and the emotions that followed.
The Knees Of Ananke
In Greek mythology, Ananke was the personification of destiny, unalterable necessity and fate. In Roman mythology, she was called Necessitas (“necessity”). I was looking for a theme which would involve large swelling chords, as well as a glimpse into eternity. I read this bit out of an encyclopedia of mythology describing the return of Er from his death in battle, a story from Plato’s “Republic”, book 10. Er’s vision of the afterlife consisted of souls travelling towards a pillar of light, which were connected to an enormous spindle that rested on the knees of Ananke, causing the eight spheres of heaven to revolve. Upon each sphere stood a siren singing a single note, and the eight notes together made a complete scale.