I knew that I wanted it to be a concept album. I knew that I wanted it to represent the aesthetic of the Cogs, the army of gods and anomalies that are the only beings in a distant future capable of defying Universe’s oldest law: none of her memories may be erased. New moments always come to be, but the old were never thought to be capable of vanishing.
The Imp King, who escaped his binding to a distant past sequence, will not only develop a mastery of focus and space-time travel. The master of the Cogs will also come to us with complete control over that one of the last few mysteries, the ability to delete sequence, the ability to erase the past, erase the present, and prevent all possible futures. The shared aesthetic of dull colors, blacks, grays, browns, represents the Cogs’ disentanglement from the ordinary wonders and awes of living. What they perceive is bland, boring, cliched, and their garb and flesh reflect it as such. The only adventure left is to do what The Harpist and Fade before him failed to do, to destroy all that exists, every history of every world, every iteration of space under every god, every dream, every fantasy, one sequence at a time. The cog wheel is their central symbol, representing their collective nature, their belief in hard determinism, their belief that life is work, and the idea that any one thinking machine can be harmlessly removed, with enough redundant gears, but that, if some of the gears turn hard enough, they can reverse the entire purpose and process of the big machine.
The Cogs build such a machine, one hard-wired in to all of space time. It obviously is not the machine, Universe her self, but the Cogs’ Big Machine will be a physical representation of the clunky, disordered, unpolished nature of existence. With the Big Machine as a focus object, the Imp King’s army shall develop a personal relationship not with all who have ever lived, but harmonize with the mechanics of Universe her self, to undermine each of her natural laws to prevent any and all resistance to her destruction. The laws are old and unsophisticated, so the Big Machine is all gears and pulleys and pistons and shoddy monitors and pipes and steam vents.
Like the ancient aesthetic of the machines, so too are many of the Cogs’ instruments of sound taken from sequences at early stages of civilizations. Bells, bowed strings, blown horns, keys triggering the plucking of strings, keys triggering the rush of air through pipes- and the jagged pipes and plates of their machinery are used as well, their surfaces struck as drums while pistons thrust in time. This says that all time shall end, all memory, past and future alike. The electric impulses are heavy and distorted, signalling the Cogs’ aggression. What they shall do they shall do for all of us, but they are not afraid to take the lives of any before their sequence’s end time has come.
The Cogs may seem generally stoic, but are not beyond expression. They sing and play music as part of their focus, practicing ritual harmony through sound and movement. Their music also serves to inspire fear of The Darkness, that unconscious, amoral force that dictates our fates. It serves to inspire awe in them, so that their army may grow. That is what this album is- an attempt to capture the passion and the will of these ultimate destroyers, these Clockwork Cannibals, these Crestfallen Killers, these Cogs of the Big Machine.
So I knew that I wanted it to suit this concept, but I did not know how bizarre it would get, or how long it would take to reach its completion. It has been three years since I decided that this would be the next album to be released under the name of Shyft, and I am glad that it took so long; since then I’ve collected many new tools and developed new skills that really made a difference in the quality of this release. This is a big one for me, hopefully big enough to allow me to put down music to focus again on my writing projects for a long time. Music is an essential part of my being, but I have decided that, if I am to succeed as an artist and a philosopher, that the vehicle for my success shall be speculative fiction. Besides, how are we going to be able to get to know the Cing of Cogs and his army’s philosophy more personally, if I never get around to writing his story?