3 March 2021
Last week the debut longplayer FULL SPECTRUM
by THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA
(finally) arrived. One of the best albums of 2021. Fact!
Turn Up The Volume wrote: Manimal and Samara are a poetallica sensation. A new laser
light at the end of a mythical tunnel where anything can happen. Imagine Sylvia Plath fronting
a theatrical and mind-challenging psychedelic noise band. Their debut album is a multi-faceted opus in sound and vision. Compelling poetry exploring life, death, birth, past, present, and future embedded in a titanic thunder and lighting symphony going from perplexing metal to chill-out ambient. The final result is at times jaw-dropping, at times weirdly confusing, at times dumbfounding but always flabbergasting and fascinating. When surreality becomes reality you know something is about to happen.
Today TUTV wants to add: “These two artists care intensely
about everything they do and create everything – lyrics, music,
artwork, video clips, promo – with heartfelt love and passion,
and an awe-inspiring level of quality. Amazing!”
We are pretty excited that the authors of this
remarkable record, Daphne & Andrea, will
guide us through the journey track by track.
Andrea: With Atoms I wanted to compress about 4.5 billion years into a 5 minute long track. This track represents to us the circle of life from the different eras. The music and the lyrics really scan the timeline from creation to evolution, till death, and on and on.
Daphne: I wanted to bring out Andrea’s vision for the music – which was to tell the
story of the creation of the universe. I wanted it to be a more balanced story of creation, so I decided to combine my own writing with extracts from the sacred texts of both the Eastern and Western religions. So I chose and adapted from texts the Vedas and Buddhust scriptures and contrasted this with Gnostic and Hermetic texts, and the story of Genesis as told by Dante.
2. PSYCHOPATS’ MONOLOGUE
Andrea: “I was at this techno rave party and I thought,
“a fucking metal riff would be great with this kick!”
Daphne: I had been bombarding Andrea with really dark, hard, and heavy industrial techno tracks for a while…And then he came up with this track which completely blew
me away as it combined two of my music loves – [hard and dark] metal and techno.
This was actually the first recording we did together. It was totally impromptu, at least
for me. I remember Andrea sat me in front of the mic and pressed the record button,
and I froze. The magic happened when Andrea suggested that I should use some of my
old poems, so I pulled out an old manuscript with some of my old poems. My first instinct was to recite it – like a theatrical monologue, not to sing it. When I read the verses out
loud over the music, it fit so snugly within the music at the first take.
The lyrics are based on 7 sonnet poems that I wrote over a ten-year period. I kept a collection of poems in a notebook which I called the “Psychopath’s Monologue” – hence
the title of the song.
3. DEUS EX MACHINA
Daphne: We wanted to do something related to Greek Tragedy for this song. We decided
to base the song on the greatest tragedy of them all – Oedipus Rex, which was written by Sophocles and performed in Ancient Athens over two thousand years ago. I wanted the lyrics to be written and performed as it would have been in Ancient Greece, but also to keep the language accessible to a contemporary listener. So I had to do a lot of research on the structure of Greek lyrical poetry for this song.
Andrea: I wanted to add an extra nightmare on this one playing the Tar guitar with a Persian flavour because at the “premiere” of Sophocles play Oediupus Rex, which was performed in a theatre in Athens around 429 BC, the Greeks were facing an imminent attack from the Persian Empire.
4. MATA HARI
Andrea: The first concept behind Mata Hari was: How I will see the world in 2080?
Fucking worse than it is now! So…what could we do to reverse this trend? I thought we should reverse our lifestyle first. So I’ve made some changes and reversed some sounds.
Daphne: Mata Hari’ was probably one of the two songs which was purely grounded in emotion and feelings. The song is actually based on one of my paintings titled, “Feelings” https://daphneang.com/part-iii ] – which we used as the cover artwork of the single.
In both the song and the artwork, I wanted to capture the intensity of the feelings and emotions that arise from love’s encounter – much like what ‘Mata Hari’ means in Malay – “the sun” or literally, ‘eye of the day” or “day star”.
5. THE DESCENT
Andrea: As a surfer, I’ve always had a silent but deep connection with mother nature, especially with the oceans and seas so this track has the tempo of nature. Sometimes nature takes 6 minutes to completely change the environment around you.
Daphne: The lyrics are actually based on a poem I wrote in 2004 right after the ‘Boxing
Day Tsunami’ and earthquake which claimed 225,000 lives across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand. When it happened, it struck very close to where I was, so the sense of danger was very real to me. The last line of the lyrics “climbing trees to have a glimpse of the world, crumbling nevertheless”, I wrote after watching the news which showed footage of stranded survivors perched on treetops over flooded areas in the aftermath of the Tsunami. It is uncanny that something I had written years ago fit perfectly with the music and message of a song that Andrea wrote years later – this is synchronicity perhaps.
6. MESSAGE FOR THE KING
Andrea: We were watching the Game of Thrones series for
the fourth or fifth time, so this came out really organically.
Daphne: This was pretty much me acting out something from The Blackadder!
It was probably the easiest to record as it came very naturally to me.
It worked perfectly as an interlude for the album [much like in the old days of theatre], providing some comic relief before the album descended into the valley of the shadow
of death with the next song, “Love in The Time of Pestilence”.
7. LOVE IN THE TIME OF PESTILENCE
Andrea: Definitely the most trickiest song for the album because I wanted the amplitude waveform view of this track to visualise the evolution and progression of the pandemic over the course of 2020. This song became our tribute and homage to all the healthcare professionals around the world, who have risked their lives to save the lives of others.
Daphne: This was definitely the most challenging song for me as well. We wanted “Love in the Time of Pestilence‘ to be a collective message, not just ours, so I decided to combine my own writings with some quotes that would document mankind’s experience of pandemics, plagues, and disease over the course of history. The lyrics include Latin proverbs and quotes from historical figures such as Aeschylus, Benjamin Franklin, and George Orwell.
This is to remind humanity that if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. I wanted the chorus of the song to be a warped version of Bob Marley’s anthem, “One Love”. But instead of “One Love, One Heart. Let’s get together and feel all right.”, ours would be, “One World. One People. One Disease. It’s in the air for you and me.” I guess the songs are similar in the sense that they are both a plea to mankind.
The cover artwork is based on one of my paintings titled, ‘Il Medico Della Peste’ or ‘The Plague Doctor’. [ https://daphneang.com/part-iii ] It was originally meant to be an abstract painting but Andrea saw the figure of the ‘Medico della Peste’ – a beaked Venetian carnival mask representing the physicians who treated victims of the bubonic plague. I continued the painting to emphasise the figure more. So it was definitely a befitting cover artwork for the song.
8. TCOMAS S01 E01
Andrea: Samara bought me a keyboard for my birthday. She played it on the same day and this song was born. Without Samara’s gift, this album would definitely have sounded very different.
Daphne: Tcomas S01 E01 is a storytelling song which is based on our manga comic series, “The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara“. We developed the script and characters together, and I painted the comic book cover and made illustrations of Manimal and Samara – which we then used for the cover of our debut single “Atoms”. The story is about a schoolgirl who runs away into the jungle to escape from society and the modern world. “All grown up, but alone in the wilderness, she discovers someone who would change the course of her life forever…”
One day, I was editing the script and listening to the recording we made with me playing the piano at the same time. I started reading the script out loud and realised that it fit perfectly within the music!
9. FULL SPECTRUM
Andrea: This is the only instrumental track in the album. A reminder that all technology is based on primitive needs. I wanted to evoke the experience of the unpredictability of life, our paths in life twisting and turning with every choice we make.
10. AT THE WORLDS ENDS
Daphne: We wanted this song to visualise the end of the world caused by human destruction, leaving mankind on a planet that is no longer able to sustain us. We wanted this so to bring attention to the damage human actions have brought onto to nature and our planet’s environment. But I didn’t want it to be your typical environmental activist song – so I wrote the lyrics to tell this message through a tragic love story of two lovers who bid farewell to each other on the last day on earth.
Andrea: This song has been inspired by a recent study by IPBES [Intergovernmental
Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services] which concluded that,
“Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before.”
[ https://ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment ] The message of the
song is that we all have to do our part as citizens of earth.
Also, did we mention that TCOMAS also paints together as ELKYMY?
[ https://elkymyart.com/ ] We made sculptural 3D paintings inspired by
forms and flows in nature. We used a series of our paintings – also entitled
‘At The Worlds End’, as the cover artwork and title of this song.
[ https://elkymyart.com/at-the-worlds-end ].
11. THE GREAT NEWS
Daphne: I had finally finished writing the lyrics for ‘Love in the Time of Pestilence’. I had been putting this off for a long time as it was the most challenging for me. It was the last song we had to record to make our album complete. So it was a huge achievement and relief when this was done. Waving a freshly printed copy of the lyrics, I announced the great news to Andrea. He was so amused, we recorded it immediately.
Thank you very much, Daphne and Andrea, for guiding
us through Full Spectrum track by track…
THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA: Facebook