Black Orchid Empire just released their new concept album "Semaphore" and to celebrate we asked Paul Visser to tell us about the record's first single "Singularity". Here is the story:
Our new album Semaphore is a Sci-Fi concept record. Each song has a different narrative which is reflected in the lyrics, but I also decided to write a short story for each track. My hope is to help people see the narrative from a different perspective - the song lyrics are the poetic version, the story allows me to provide more detail and imagery.
Singularity, the lead single and first song on Semaphore after the intro, deals with the ideas of loss, commitment, and what it means to be a pioneer and explorer. I've always been fascinated with the work of writers like Iain M Banks, Issac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke. The feel of the story is gritty, dirty, real - more hard near-future SF than a huge, remotes flight of fancy. When I imagine the ship I picture Alien's Nostromo - full of poorly lit corridors of snaking cabling and steaming vents. To me, that version of space travel - where it's a necessary, unpleasant reality rather than a glamorous pastime - always felt more believable. A spaceship would be more like a WWII submarine than a futuristic cruise liner.
The crew find themselves in the grip of an unfathomably large black hole into whose gravity well they have inadvertently stumbled. The force of the singularity is constantly dragging them in, and they're very low on fuel and resources. Their only choice is to attempt a desperate manoeuvre that sling-shots them around the black hole, throwing them clear and back towards Earth. However, the resulting distortion in time from the proximity of such a large mass means the crew will experience time orders of magnitude faster than their counterparts on Earth. If they survive, everyone they ever knew will have died by the time they get home.
Here's a short excerpt from the story:
They called it The Maw.
Hunched in vast nothingness like the jet-black eye of some savage titan, the singularity consumed everything around it with ravenous, insatiable greed. Not even light could escape the monster's grip - the event horizon glowed weakly on the ship's computer-enhanced scanner. Beyond that - only pitch black terror. A fiendish maelstrom in the deadest night.
During training back on Earth, years ago, they'd called this type of phenomenon a black hole. Parker couldn't bring herself to use that term any longer. Properly describing the beast that was slowly, undeniably dragging them down its incomprehensibly powerful gravity well was almost impossible. No words seemed - big enough.
Next to her, Simmons stretched back in his flight chair, arms linked behind his head as he tried to ease the tension in his lower back. He looked up at the ceiling, grizzled features washed red in the emergency lighting.
"We're f***ed Jila"...
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here