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To Define a Kismet

by Alan Deeth

A distorted view of Aphasia City
A distorted view of Aphasia City

If you’ve been following the narrative of Archive of the Unbounded thus far, you’ll know that Yevhen is angry by the time we reach “07 Altering the Kismet Program.” If you’ve not been following the narrative … well, you’ll probably figure it out pretty quickly.

This is another track with roots in New Origins history, though those roots are rather less deep-rooted than for some tracks. Back in the proverbial day, when we were performing live and practicing in the garage on a weekly basis, this was our “newest” song—one we were still writing up until the hiatus. As far as I can recall, it never really settled on a title in those days; it was kind of just “that heavy song.”

Fast-forward to our recording sessions for Arc One, and this seemed like an obvious choice for a song to incorporate: it was one we all enjoyed working on back in the day, it was one that could clearly benefit from the advantages of recording versus performing in our limited numbers (the guitars used to be a single line, but there was so much more I wanted to do with them), and it was one that slotted in perfectly for the narrative beat of “Yevhen gets angry and burns down the world” (or … tries to).

Look Ma, Four Hands!

You might have heard us talk about our old days of being a four-piece band (the three of us plus a drummer for live performances). Little known bit of trivia: there was even a fifth member for a (very) brief time—a fantastically talented keyboardist who unfortunately joined us right before we broke up and went on hiatus. In the short time that she was with us, though, she joined a couple of practices and experimented with how to layer keyboards onto our repertoire.

Conveniently, that’s right about the time 07 Altering the Kismet Program was having its genesis—which meant the song was really envisioned as including keys from those early stages. In recording the track, then, we were given the wonderful opportunity to not only hear the track for the first time in years (and perhaps for the first time in any sort of “complete” form), but we were also able to fully compose those keys, adding in a fun layer of sci-fi electronics that seems rather fitting for Archive of the Unbounded.

But even with the keys, we felt something was missing: Ross had put together an awesome drum section for the song (somehow even working around the extra half-measures we threw into various sections), and the bass and vocals were sounding fantastic, whereas the guitar was trying to do too much. Cue another guitar track.

At this stage, we were working with the Lite version of Ableton Live, meaning we were painfully limited in tracks (compare the eight-track limit used for this album to what you’ll hear on Arc Two, and it’s a world of difference). Somehow we managed to leave room for a second guitar line, though, and so we took the existing guitar pieces and completely dissected them—riffs that previously jumped from high to low and back again were now able to flow more smoothly, with the “cut” pieces ported over to an entirely new line. No longer did it have to pretend to be both rhythm and lead guitar; now the song could have both (which it sorely needed).

That Light You See Is Hope

In its fully composed form, 07 Altering the Kismet Program is the climax of the album, the crescendo that it’s all been building towards. But for Yevhen, it’s only the beginning. Through the events of Arc One, he has been awakened, he has become aware of the injustices imposed upon his kind, and he has decreed that this will not stand. As his anger surges and he throws off his bonds, he commits to a kismet undefined by man or by god; to a future for his people that is theirs to write.

If they can only claim it.

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