Diegetic (aka Kevin) releases his latest work, The Lonely, tomorrow (March 26). It is a thought-provoking, concept album inspired by The Twilight Zone. Whoa.
Diegetic music is the music or sound you might hear as background in a movie. Not the soundtrack but rather the sound that the main character also hears. It’s an apt name given the new album; I can do not better to describe it than an abridged version of what he has himself…
A war has left the Earth in ruins. After decades of conflict, cities lie smoldering, countries are torn apart, and a generation is lost. The man responsible for this war faces trial before a council of nations. He is banished to a far-off star system, destined to spend his days searching for a new planet to call home, destined to be lonely. For years he lives in solitude. Eventually he receives a broken signal from Earth. His sentence has been commuted and he need only send signal of his location for rescue to come. He frantically sends his coordinates, but it is no hope. The magnetic field of his planet blocks his signal. He sits, waiting, hoping that one day someone will hear his call for rescue. Until then, he is The Lonely.
It’s like a modern-retro-space age Major Tom. The sound is very 1979 Saturday morning TV star travel, yet somehow also evokes a series of emotions are you listen in to the (diegetic) music that the protagonist would hear on his voyage. To my ear, the album started with an authoritarian admonishment and ends with static drifting endlessly. The song titles help but in the music there is a voyage and remorse and loneliness and a point you start to question justice. It’s a lot to unpack yet an album that’s easy and pleasant to hear.
We also talked about Kevin’s earlier work Two Neighborhoods, a project that ties air quality to sound. Kevin used his coding and music skills to create an interactive map (and album) where you can select two points on a map and compare their air quality through sonification. If the areas are comparable, the music is happy; if they is a big discrepancy, the music is angry. In a similar project, he tracked 100 years of temperature in a hour with the sound being linear until recently when the pitch gets higher.
Also last year, he Tweeted a Minnesota band every day.
Never mind me while I fan girl at the mashup of music, math, science and social justice – and be sure to catch the release of The Lonely tomorrow!