“...the supposedly real world has begun to feel more and more like a Philip K. Dick novel. [...] You might note that, alongside Dickensian and Kafkaesque, we now have an adjective to describe this state of affairs. Phildickian. And the world seems more phildickian every day.”
(Jesse Hicks, The Verge, 2012)
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was an American writer, whose works, exploring philosophical, political and theological themes, have moved from a rather unique corner of “science fiction” into mainstream (including cult film adaptations like Blade Runner and Minority Report) and into courses on literature.
In Dick’s exquisitely complex, often disturbing (and disturbingly prophetic) universe there are numerous veiled or direct references to John Dowland, the English Renaissance composer.
While navigating through Dick’s unique and turbulent world, these references for me were akin to encountering safe shores of humanity, of familiar and cosy reality, where one could stop for a moment among the many turbulent flows and currents.
This album is about those shores - the human, sometimes background or secondary, stories and undercurrents in Dick’s ever-changing labyrinthine universe.
Among the compositions, which were inspired by these, there are also a few tributes to John Dowland - hopefully adapted to fit into the Dick-inspired musical world as Dick’s references to the music of a distant past fit into his universe...
Release date : 15 July 2016 (Amazon CD & Bandcamp), in all formats: 1 Aug 2016
His CDs released by the former PeopleSound and Vitaminic indie internet labels were noted for the compositional versatility, which created well-received blends of medieval, ethnic and space/ambient elements.
One composition from his debut album was also featured on the compilation CD entitled “Noua Romanie – Rebirth of a Nation”, which was a special project released by Earthtone / Sonic Images Records founded by the legendary Christopher Franke (ex-Tangerine Dream).
Levente (Levente Toth) is a United Kingdom-based synth artist and published photographer.
Born in Transylvania’s Hungarian ethnic minority, his main escapism during the communist dictatorship was listening to electronic music.
He built his first analogue synth when he was a teenager living under the Ceausescu regime. Music creation has really begun later on in his home studio, which he established after his relocation to the UK in 1995.
Tales From Time (2002)
Ex Libris (2003)
The Dowland Shores (2016)
Compositions were also featured on the compilations:
Noua Romanie – Rebirth of a Nation (one track featured, 2001, Sonic Images / Earthtone Records, USA)
Ambient Online Vol. 5 (two featured tracks, 2015, Synphaera / Ambient Online, USA)
Ambient Online Vol. 6 (two featured tracks, 2016)
TRACK LISTING incl. preview links
1. Flow I.
2. REKAL Inc.
(inspired by We Can Remember It For You Wholesale)
3. Human Is
(inspired by Human Is)
4. Flow II.
(inspired by The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch)
6. Twelve Realities
(inspired by Faith of Our Fathers)
7. Imperial Truths
(inspired by The Man in the High Castle)
8. Fading to Chaos
(inspired by Ubik)
9. Flow III.
10. Identity Regained
(inspired by The Divine Invasion)
11. Replicant’s Dream
(inspired by Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
12. Flow IV.
All tracks composed by Levente, except the following based on songs
by John Dowland (The Second Book Of Songs, 1600):
(1) & (12): Flow My Tears,
(4): Come Ye Heavy States of Night,
(9): Woeful Heart of Grief Oppressed.
All tracks arranged, performed and engineered by Levente. Music, cover design & photo: Copyright 2016 by Levente. All Rights Reserved.
THE INSPIRATION: PHILIP K. DICK'S WORKS
The novel Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said bases its title on John Dowland’s perhaps most famous composition. Its dehumanised totalitarian world is in stark contrast with the Dowlandian emotive universe it refers to. The opening and closing pieces of the album are based on Flow My Tears (1600).
We Can Remember It for You Wholesale poses a fundamental question: how can we define our identity if our memories are artificial? The music explores this duality of machine-constructed vs. genuine human realities.
Human Is explores the nature of what we define, and perceive, as humanity - it can be a trait of anything that is capable of deep empathy. Hence the music transitions from something otherworldly to a rather terrestrial elegy.
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, with its many layers of different realities, religious and philosophical ideas, has fundamental human aspirations at its centre - and these even shape how humans imagine what a god is. The music was inspired by the dynamism and the metaphysical explorations of the novel.
Faith of Our Fathers, with its disturbing totalitarian world and its ‘true reality’ that appears in different forms, is a powerful allegory, too. The music was mainly inspired by these shifting realities and the Oriental elements of the story.
The Man in the High Castle, with its parallel post-World-War-Two reality of a totalitarian East and West, has at its core a superlative quest for an absolute, inner, truth. The music is inspired by the Oriental and Western elements, and the contrast between the heroic and the introspective.
Ubik, while its world regresses into chaos, is again a fascinating exploration of what reality is... and what may be under the veil of reality. The music fades from order to chaos, as the universe in Ubik unstoppably and swiftly degrades.
The Divine Invasion, while it is a mesmerising metaphysical and religious journey, speaks also about the search and rediscovery of one‘s identity. Hence elements of Eastern and Western music surface in the track inspired by this melancholic and, at the same time, uplifting novel.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has a subtle undercurrent: can something, seen as inhuman, be more human than we, who are actually dehumanised by the world we created? The music is inspired by the shift from something apparently quasi-alien to the very human longing for postponing life’s end.