Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath: How Music and the Curse

This manuscript was found attached with scotch tape to a bloated body that washed up from the river wearing a pair of headphones connected to an mp3 player in a waterproof bag that played Tim Hecker’s “Ravedeath 1972” on continuous repeat. Upon removal of the manuscript, the body disintegrated into small crystalline shards that blew away on the wind of regret. It was written on foolscap with a ballpoint pen.

In music, we see again and again the old story, of the primal innocence of humanity slowly petrified by an industrial world of metal and smoke. We have always suspected that our curse as humans is somehow entangled with our technology. As technology grows, it protects us from the natural world’s inherent dangers, while simultaneously encasing us and separating us into innumerable compartments. As we are separated from the dangerous world that gave us birth, so too are we separated from the heights of elation and depths of terror that come with the risks of the pre-civilized world.

Again, the old theme: How the human soul is corrupted and emptied by the technology we created to help us. How green hills are covered with the grey and brown blight we carry with us. The infrastructure of our civilizations consumes and destroys all it touches, leaving the petrified death of our oil-soaked streets to gradually encase the planet’s verdant skin. The forseeable end is a completely controlled world, not a single natural element left, all possessed and contained by our technology. And in this world we would be always safe, and never free.

My original vision was one of many birds, or aircraft, or spacecraft. Winged shapes shooting upward. Then the camera pans down and to the left and we see the tops of trees, a small forest. Pan further left and we see green hills and plains, and one hill in the center that we approach gradually. The sky gets darker.

A green hill turns grey, then blackens. It splits open vertically, revealing the fire and smoke within. All is now black and grey around you, and the people who live in this world are indistinguishable from the machines they operate.

And there is still joy in the sorrow, but it’s trapped.

At the center of a large factory floor, a boy hopes.

He creates his own fantasy world within himself. A world which he can only see when he clasps his hands together and peers with one eye into the cavity of his palms through the gap between his thumbs.

In this world, small people buzz around and help each other, living on the grassy knolls of an idyllic neverland, little people wearing homespun woolen robes and little masks on their faces and little orange hoods on their heads, faces with three black eyes in a triangle and hoods shaped like melting cones. Some carry sickles out to the fields that cover the mountains, tending to the long purple grass that grows on their world, for they stroke the grass’ scaly skin with the sharp edge of the sickle turned on its side, and the grasses purr with enjoyment. From between the scales and dripping down comes a glowing yellow-green fluid, phosphorescent and viscous. The farmers collect the fluid in their hats, and come traipsing down the mountains back to their villages, carrying the hats as bags. No more than a hatful would be needed for each family, and indeed a hatful was much more than enough. With the hatful of grass-fluid, the technologies of their organiform houses could be appeased to run for weeks.

In the Auditorium, a children’s choir sang to the stars, which gazed down on them through the open roof above. Their God was the stars, a community of elders who gazed down from the heavens, each star an ancestor’s spirit, bestowing its wisdom and courage upon the mortal inhabitants below. As the happy graveyard in the sky quickly and easily outnumbered its living counterpart below, the lives of those below became easier, less plagued by the doubts and fears of the past and thus more able to engage the present without malice. In this world, the people had individual personalities during the daytime, but they dreamed together at night, their minds engaging in subconscious telepathy, creating a haunting shadowworld of figures and shapes who danced in glowing patterns against the precipitous backdrop of the void.

[A piece of the manuscript is missing.]

And thus the boy cannot dream away the curse around him. For even his dreams are tainted by that old theme, of a human spirit, once malleable and free, now calcified and crystallized into a stable mass, safe yet losing something of the spirit, losing something of the heart. The small people in the valley were happier, but in essence still no different from his own. Their happiness was a stagnant idiotic bliss with neither challenge nor victory from the benign world around them.


Published by


I am a writer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s