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1.
improver 04:30
Excerpt from 'Collected Letters' (1912): Pursuing the reality of the N-Ray "I was not alone in my skepticism of Blondlot's claims. The Academy neatly and rather precisely avoided mentioning his fantastic 'n-ray' in their award to him. Wood has been evangelical in his criticism. We maintained that our disbelief, desire for truth and ultimately our reasonable doubt is the rigorous backbone on which all scientific inquiry depends. It brings me no pleasure to follow that thought with this contradictory one: this outline of scientific rigor has not allowed for any understanding of the phenomena observed, documented and undeniably present in Port Igby. By constantly measuring against what we know has come before, have we allowed ourselves enough room for acceptance of the impossible? Regardless, on this matter it is impossible to know if the entities care. We reason and rationalise and explain and still they defy our understanding. They persist, defined only by their indefiniteness. It is a mistake for us to adopt scorn or condescension. We cannot afford to treat them as unrealities. If they avoid categorisation, we must expand our categories. If they resist scrutiny, we must look harder."
2.
"What you have to know about landing a plane in the middle of the ocean is," growled the drunk, "the ocean doesn't give a god damn if you do everything right. It doesn't care how lucky you are. How smart. How young or old. Sometimes something goes wrong and that's just how it happens. Rogue waves, a loose screw, a trick of the light forcing you to hit the water at a bad angle. You think you can just coast down, easy as you please, but everything out there, in the world, is trying to stop that from happening." He took a massive chug from his enormous beer and rested it on the bar, either unaware or apathetic that he had the whole room's attention. "Do you ever stop and think about it? We're flying now. Up in the sky. That's a miracle. There is nothing up there for us to live on. We can't float. It's not our world. How did we even do it? Looked at birds, said 'oh we can do that', then bent metal and used tiny explosions to make it happen. Pretty bloody clever." "But – listen to me - the ocean and the sky don't give a damn how clever you are or I am or any of them. Listen! We can all make pretend like we're defying gravity and soaring up there - but everything gets thrown back down again sooner or later and trying to land an amphibian on the ocean is like... its like..." He stammered and lost the room. The weary bartender used the gap to turn around and start wiping down glasses, too familiar with these sermons. The rummy was a regular barfly, one of about twenty unshaved men in the village who all had similar stories of uncharted waters: done a bit of trading with other islands, went out further than sensible, see something they can't explain, came back different. More intense. Not worse, but more excited, optimistic - and crushed with disappointment, huge bitter weeping fits and angry tirades when whatever it was inevitably didn't pan out. But the next day they’d bounce back, good as new, throwing themselves wholeheartedly into another unlikely scheme. The rotating cast of elderly men usually ended every second day back in the bar. The drunk had quietened down again so the bartender snuck another look at him. He was resting his forehead on the rim of his beer glass, murmuring quietly to himself and already thinking of sleep in one of the dark corner booths, where he’d awake and sneak out the next morning, revitalised as always with an unspeakable optimistic gleam in his eye about a life of possibilities ahead.
3.
afterhours 03:06
We need more staff, thought Mayor Millicent as she furiously rummaged through her oversized coat pockets for the tiny key she knew was stuck in there somewhere. Her hands fumbled stupidly in the cold, knuckles banging into each other - damn it! She swore out loud and looked around self-consciously. Nobody else was out this late. The main road through town was silent as she wrestled with the library gate. The padlock was rusty and grating, another thing to be replaced in an endless list of them. Millicent mentally filed it away: new padlock, library. Being the mayor wasn't fun, she thought for about the millionth time that day. It was chores, it was all the things people didn't know got done, half public works, half media pressure, half civic administration and if that made three halves well that felt about right for how tired she was. Goddamn it! Why was she here? She knew why. She was the mayor and the mayor looked after the town. And the mayor looked after the library, the furthest building down the road, and it was already snowing steadily and the dratted librarian Ms. Price had forgotten to do it when she left and called her as soon as she got home to ask her, oh, only if it wasn't too much trouble, if Millie wouldn't mind quickly popping out to lock up. And she had held the receiver to her ear and looked out the window and it was already snowing, only lit up by the streetlights outside, and she had just poured herself a sweet mug of coffee and damnit she hated being called Millie. But because she was honestly scared of Ms. Price ever since the childhood rumour that she was a witch, and because she was the mayor and the mayor looked after the town, Millicent said yes. So here she was, although she still didn't really know why she was here, why she'd ever run for mayor. The campaign was fun and she loved winning and meeting new people and feeling like she could do something that mattered but that was years, decades ago and now nobody else seemed to want the job. She had barely campaigned last time, but the opposition was a snide little moustached weasel named Kenneth Pern who everybody hated and so she had won again. She bet Ms. Price voted for her out of spite. Retirement maybe, she thought, but in the eyes of the older townspeople she knew that would be viewed as resignation. It was like this, thinking furiously of all the Ms. Prices of the world and shaking the rust from a broken padlock, that a golden light fell over mayor Millicent. Her skin slowly warmed and in the comforting, final seconds of consciousness she saw her own shadow cast before her, a deep abyssal blue in the night gloom contrasted against a bronze glow. Her shoulders relaxed; what was she so worked up about? Nothing that bad, nothing that couldn't wait. Just lock this gate, she thought, and the padlock clicked shut. The next morning the mayor would wake up in bed, having slept more soundly than she had in weeks, not remembering the trip home, the padlock, Ms. Price calling, or anything other than a warm blanket of residual goodwill. That was how winter in the town came to an end.
4.
Excerpt from 'Collected Letters' (1912): A universal panacea The older I get the less I can see my own perspective. I feel like I have never lived in the present. By the time light has travelled from an object to my retina, then to my brain, then to registration of conscious thought – basically, the process we take for granted as sight - the present moment has gone. My entire life experience is perpetually nanoseconds and milliseconds away from something resembling the true present. It forever remains always slightly ahead. My existence is therefore split between the future and – in memory - the past. My interpretations of either tense are subject to endless interference. Moreover my eyes tell my brain that I see a blue sky, the green grass, the sparkling oranges and reds of a sunset over the water. In the black of night, I see deeper shades of blue and red and other combinations of colours. As we do, we name and identify these colours. But they do not tangibly or demonstrably exist outside of our own individual experience. They are just the way our eyes read light reflected through a prism, once again interpreted by our brain. What you and I call ‘red’ is something very different for my cat in every aspect.
5.
Lucas stood up slowly from the shallow pool he was crouched over. Without turning his eyes from the reflection in front of him, he yelled as loud as he could: "there's a ghost in th' rockpool!" His mum ran over from the pile of picnic blankets and discarded shoes and gazed down. "Ooooh - don't splash him! Do you know who that is?" The ghost's reflection gazed silently back from the still water, holding the same smile that all the spirits did when they washed up on the beach. Lucas squinted and shielded his eyes from the morning sun. "I don't think so," he said. "It sort of looks like Mr. Trevor from the chemist." His mum said, "nearly! It's his older brother. He left two years ago. Oh, that's sad - I wonder how it happened." Behind them, the waves on the shore kept rolling in. A sudden dark shade passed over them - a cloud in front of the sun. It was gone in a second, but by the time it coasted over, the wavering reflected figure in the water had been taken with it.
6.
watched over 02:47
Everything is forever and so is Everything’s twin sister Nothing.
7.
It happened while ■■■■■ was walking home, as though the golden entities had known they'd be entirely alone. It wasn't the magical, out-of-body experience they thought accompanied all epiphanies. Instead, the shining ladder stretching into the atmosphere felt like a clarion-call of true reality. Each rung fitted comfortably into the palm of their hand and the crook of their sole, as tactile and corporeal as a warm mug of tea. Climbing it was the most satisfying work ■■■■■ had ever undertaken - a pleasing, ritual activity, like digging a large rock out of the earth, without fatigue or anything but a sense of slowly accomplishing something of tremendous importance. It had been hours and still they felt no urge to fall, no nightmarish compulsions to jump, no bone-tired laziness. At only halfway up the height was already beyond awe - an easy, endless view of the planet's curvature, the distant oceans, islands, continents. Far beneath them, the village shimmered in the late spring heat. Everywhere else was wild, raw stretches of untouched blue and green, dotted with large and small boats, planes, buildings, groups of people.

about

rd27:

The boats came and went - the first departures were large bittersweet events, the whole town waving them away from the port. New arrivals were heralded into the port with delighted ceremony.

In the following months, though, it became routine. A departure twice a week, two returns every other week. Regular commerce and trade was established between other villages and cultures in the archipelago. Some of the townspeople never returned, only seen again in silent smiling reflections trapped in quiet corners of the beach. While the townspeople poured out to the world, new knowledge, custom and engineering flowed back into the village.

An age of aviation arrived, rickety biplanes, hot air balloons, zeppelins and seaplanes crowding the skies.

Maybe it was the seaplanes that did it: the quiet academics and homebound philosophers of the museum who stayed behind were compelled now to turn heads skyward at the sound of roaring engines out over the water. First eyes, then newly-constructed telescopes and observatories swivelled upwards. The townspeople became fascinated by the scope of the infinite cosmos above them and as they gazed up, something eternal gazed back and the world around them changed.

During the days strange cloud drifts formed and broke apart. Rainstorms crashed and thunder boomed from clear blue skies. At night, stars wheeled around irregularly, removed from any calculable orbit or pattern. In the dark forests around the village glowing fireflies hinted at odd, golden-bronze entities further off in the gloom. Spotlights and huge cameras were mounted, traps cautiously set, but the creatures always remained just out of sight, impossible to recognise or define.

credits

released April 20, 2022

Villager 1 - Kawai FS680, live percussion.
Villager 2 - Volca Lead, noise generation.

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High Mage Productions Colorado Springs, Colorado

Staunchly independent, staunchly DIY. Dark Ambient, Dungeon Synth, Dungeon Drone, synth oddities, and blackened music production company based in the foothills of Colorado’s mighty Pikes Peak.

All sales are dumped into new projects and releases.

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