Merry Christmas to all my readers around the world.
The passing away of Canadian poet-singer Leonard Cohen — another great voice of the 20th century has left us. I came to know his songs in 1970s thanks to an English teacher who every now and then added contemporary music to the curriculum, and they have been my travelling companions since then.
Today I honour Mr Cohen’s memory with The Partisan because winter is coming and dark clouds once again cast their shadows over Europe.
Take a pinch of dieselpunk, a pinch of steampunk, a pinch of Carolus Rex (link >>>), and a pinch of tarpunk — and voilà.
I have mentioned a few times here on the blog what great importance the science fiction role-playing game Traveller has had for my career as a game designer (for example in this post >>> ).
Marc Miller, Traveller’s creator, recently published Agent of the Imperium, a good SF novel based on the politics of Traveller’s space empires. And now a fan has composed a soundtrack to one particular event in the novel, viz. the experience of hyperspace travel. That’s a novelty; I wish someone would do something like this to one of my stories.
Anyhow, the music is currently available at Soundcloud — link >>>
When I watch this beautiful video, my mind tunes in on the “ethereal reality frequency” of the Mars-that-ought-to-be that I dream of. (In fact, it was created as a tribute to the planet Vulcan in the Star Trek cosmos.)
When I strive to envision the lost fantastic Mars, I want more than red deserts, languid canals and decaying terracotta cities. I want sounds, smells, and tastes that transport my mind to that Red Planet. It is not so easy, unfortunately, because even though being a prolific wordsmith, I have little talent for drawing, music and cooking. However, once in a while serendipity comes my way.
Musicologist Stef Connor, instrument maker Andy Lowing and sound technician Mark Harmer have recreated the music and instruments of the Akkadian, Hurrite and Sumerian cities in Mesopotamia more than four millennia ago. Their sources are clay tablets, with cuneiform song texts and musical notations, and instruments unearthed by archaeologists.
I have no idea how accurate their recreations are — that is a matter for scholars to debate — but I found the music unexpectedly haunting. Yes, this is something I think Leigh Brackett‘s fictional archaeologist Matt Carse heard in the torchlit nights in the ancient city of Jekkara by the Low Canals.
Carse walked beside the still black waters in their ancient channel, cut in the dead sea-bottom. He watched the dry wind shake the torches that never went out and listened to the broken music of the harps that were never stilled. Lean lithe men and women passed him in the shadowy streets, silent as cats except for the chime and whisper of the tiny bells the women wear, a sound as delicate as rain, distillate of all the sweet wickedness of the world.
The Flood, a song by the trio, located on Soundcloud — link >>>
The trio presents their work on a Vimeo video — link >>>
An article about the trio’s work — link >>>
Stef Conner’s web site — link >>>
Andy Lowing’s project to reconstruct an Akkadian lyre — link >>>