Words by Twofold Vision.
Parallax is a conceptual EP that deals with a variety of societal issues such as war, economic collapse, and environmental devastation, as well as personal issues such as anxiety and paranoia.
We wanted this project to be more than just a string of files that people stream, so we created a home for it on a website. The website contains the artwork and lyrics as well as the songs themselves, essentially everything that you’d find on a physical CD, but entirely in the digital realm.
We wanted to expand the world of the EP beyond just the music, so we decided to create a series of additional art surrounding the narrative to help contextualise it. In keeping with the ominous atmosphere of the music, we created a mysterious marketing campaign surrounding the EP.
Usually in our writing we approach songs individually, but with Parallax we wanted a concept uniting all of the tracks.
When we wrote the introduction, we wanted to create a sense of anticipation and suspense, as well as set the tone for the rest of the EP. We treated the writing process as a way of creating a sound palette that we could then draw upon for the following songs.
The Fear Never Sleeps
Whereas the Introduction sets the tone for the EP, The Fear Never Sleeps sets up the narrative, introducing and opening up a dialogue between the main characters. When we started writing, we knew that we wanted a conceptual EP that conveyed a strong narrative and social commentary. Historically EDM has usually been quite uplifting, but we wanted to subvert this in order to deliver a more serious message.
Although themes of war, economic collapse and environmental devastation dominate the EP, we also wanted to discuss the effects of these on a more personal level.
Themes in particular that we wanted to address included anxiety and paranoia, and constant self-doubt. The protagonist experiences an extremely traumatic event, and is faced with overwhelming anxiety that permeates her dreams and everyday life. Because it’s so relentless, she begins questioning her sanity and whether everything she’s seeing is real. The idea of the lines of reality and dreams being blurred in this character’s anxious state spawned the concept of The Fear Never Sleeps.
Throughout the EP we used sound design to bridge the gaps between the songs and maintain the narrative when there isn’t any lyrical content. With Cataclysm, we tried to blur the lines between sound design and ‘music’, in an attempt to represent the internal struggle of the protagonist and to make the music more cohesive.
Cataclysm is the turning point of the narrative, where the personal and societal themes converge, resulting in a catastrophic climax.
Throughout the EP we use a variety of production and arranging techniques to help portray the different characters. Unlike in a film or theatre context, we are unable to use visual cues to tell the audience which perspective the narrative is coming from, so we tried to create a sonic identity for our characters. Because we are primarily working with our two voices, utilising contrasting effects and techniques such as vocoders, vocal layering, reverbs, etc. to help the listeners distinguish between them is imperative.
This track is a departure from the intensity of the rest of the EP, as the protagonist is in shock after experiencing the traumatic events that took place in Cataclysm. Unable to process the things that she is seeing and feeling, the main character is lulled into a hypnotic state, which is represented by a single peaceful and floating melody.
This motif is repeated and becomes a cannon, increasing in complexity and energy. Shortly after the dream state is broken by reality, and the protagonist must come to terms with what has happened in the following track.
The End of an Era
The End of an Era opens with lyrics detailing the horrors that the main character is seeing all around her, whilst being completely isolated with no one left to turn to. The song follows her struggle as she comes to terms with reality and accepts the events that have transpired.
The EP resolves with a chorus that leaves the protagonist with a hopeful message to cling onto, despite being left abandoned in a post-apocalyptic world, surrounded by constant reminders of the downfall of humanity.
We treated this project as an experiment, which gave us more freedom to push ourselves creatively and try different techniques. We decided to use more progressive song forms rather than traditional, to allow the music to follow the flow of the narrative naturally.
Parallax is out now.