Remote Skies' George Miler Reviews The Infinte Divide

posted Apr 22, 2017, 5:42 AM by Ron Charron   [ updated Apr 22, 2017, 5:59 AM ]

A thought provoking essay by Remote Skies' George Miler on the theme and music of The Infinite Divide album by Sequential Dreams

(CD soon also available on Ricochet Dreams catalog!)
1 A Geometry of Shadows 9:35

2 Angels at Hades Gates 6:35

3 Breath of Life 6:19

4 Dark Energy 8:47

5 Eternity in a Moment 4:15

6 In Search of Forever 5:55

7 Glittering C-Beams 5:17

8 The Deconstruction of Falling Stars 5:48

9 The Einstein-Rosen Bridge 6:23

10 Distant Sunrise 4:17

Sequential Dreams (CD/DDL 63:03) ****¼

(Electronic Rock & Berlin School)

The Infinite Divide album by Sequential Dreams (teaser 1)


    If their lives hadn’t overlapped, I would have been emboldened to claim that Ron Charron is the reincarnation of Edgar Froese. In any case, he is as worthy an heir as Ulrich Schnauss.

     Except for “A Geometry of Shadows” and “Breath of Life”, what you will get in The Infinite Divide is pure Ron.
     For his part, Ron has said that this CD is a continued exploration of the theme of dualism. The product of the brilliant intellectual revolution of the sixth century B.C. (which was also one of the darkest ages in history), dualism is a dodgy way of thinking. The law of the excluded middle can lead to such infelicitous outcomes as puritanism and racism. We still do it when we ask “Is he tall or short?” Most people are in the middle range – which is obvious to everyone – but this polarization of existence is so common that we accept it as real.     

That being said, Ron is being true to Hegel, whose dialectic of historical growth resembles a helix. This is the visual image of the process called aufheben. We turn back to the past, reconstitute it, and then turn away in a new direction.
     Born on D-Day in the now lost and almost-forgotten region of East Prussia, Edgar Froese developed his unique style in the splendid Cold War isolation of West Berlin. This school is one focus of The Infinite Divide. The other is actually how EM captured my heart in the first place: cinema soundtracks. To be honest, I can’t distinguish the two. I was swept away by The Keep and Legend and I have never looked back. Bad aufheben maybe, but personally very satisfying. I see by the track title “Glittering C-Beams” that Vangelis is acknowledged, too. (Like a typical nerd, I wanted to correct a decorated ex-Marine lieutenant who quoted Roy Batty’s lines wrong. That’s shoulder of Orion, not shoals! But I didn’t. And I won’t.)
     No doubt it was Ron who made up the title “Geometry of Shadows,” but Chris Pearre weaves a penumbra of fractals around what amounts to – dare I say it? – a “classical” TD vibe. Adding to my pleasure is the unapologetic Pink Floyd riffs. In a discussion with a presenter we both agreed that the soul-feeling of EM and Prog are similar – both evoke vast scales, like a Faustian vector of infinite length which generates, as it rotates, the sort of Poincare disk that Escher relied on in his art. While on the subject of shadows, the only way we poor beings can see a tesseract is via the projection of its shadow on our 3D space. Again I have no trouble with this fusion. Pink Floyd was the first band to put me into the delightful sort of fugue state that EM does today. (Judging by comments made in group pages dedicated to Pink Floyd, this devotion may well endure into the 31st century.)

Angels at Hades Gates (excerpt) from The Infinite Divide album by Sequential Dreams

"Angels at Hades Gates"

     After visualizing a fleet of starships swarming out of a portal, hemstitching the black silk of heaven with blaster bolts, we venture into theological territory. There’s no reason not to take scripture literally and imagine the City of Dis manifesting in Death Valley. One musical phrase reminds me of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, but no one is trying to run away in this instance. It’s more like moths attracted to a flame, daring incineration of their wings in order to KNOW. The mood is somber to the point of grimness, yet the closing organ tones sound defiantly hopeful.

     The gay sprightly mood of “Breath of Life” (with Arend Westra) makes me wonder if some boon was pulled out of the fire. A good change of pace. A real angel begins to sing four and a half minutes into this. I’m a sucker for feminine vocals like this. All the more so since it is all electronically generated!

     “Dark Energy.” Hair-raising is this glide into intergalactic space, the sort of realm Pascal was too afraid to contemplate. Maybe this is why the Church ruled the Jansenism of Port Royal a heresy. If that isn’t Jason Voorhies whispering, it must be the Shadow Man who plagues us in our nightmares. The fast way out is through, and Ron takes us there on a jaunty transvector ride. Just the thing for traffic, it’s a brisk swing onto a high arch of a railless bridge spanning a universe unfolding like an origami lily in reverse, under the power of “Dark Energy.”
     After pervading the entire spatio-temporal cosmos, Ron takes us to a point outside time and space, a point of zero amplitude in the oscillations of the creation-destruction cycle of Arab metaphysics. Like Froese, Ron is not the least bit averse to taking chances when it comes to blending instruments. Having demonstrated that the synthesizer is a real musical instrument, he resorts to electric guitar in a Floydian meditation for the sheer preverbal pleasure of it.

In Search of Forever (excerpt) from The Infinite Divide album by Sequential Dreams

     “In Search of Forever” is another successful blend of musical methodology. Here we come to the root of the matter, the goal of the exercise. It is what Hegel called “synthesis.” Every component in this track is subordinated to the musical process in a fashion that seems effortless. Ron has mastered his self-appointed craft.

     The earliest reference to a “C-Beam,” as far as I know, appears in an old SF novel by Philip E. High titled The Mad Metropolis. One man threatens to attract the attention of a malfunctioning computer by destroying one of her anti-gravity monitor drones with a C-beam. The computer, named Mother, would not appreciate this act of insubordination, and retaliation would be swift. Since c is the symbol for the speed of light (celerity) I assume that it’s some kind of laser. The internet is now full of geeky discussions about what C-beams really are.

In “Glittering C-Beams” you can “hear” the bursts of shimmering light from these remote descendants of the laser.

     “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” is a fine, dramatic bit of dystopian grunge. I find it interesting that the literature of the Soaring Sixties was bogged down by a lingering burden of Freudian preoccupations, in contrast to the optimistic SF which predominated – until the movement to make the genre conform to contemporary literary standards. After a period of confusion and malaise, SF turned unrelievedly dark and gothic with the advent of the Second Gilded Age, which was supposed to herald a new golden age of consumerism and excess. I’m just gonna note this in passing…

     “The Einstein-Rosen Bridge” is nothing other than our beloved wormhole. Einstein and his buddy Nathan Rosen finagled the initial conditions to make the calculations simpler. They invoked temporal symmetry, a condition in which the future moves into the past as easily as the past moves into the future. When time flows both ways the other end of the wormhole appears as the mirror-image of the entrance. The math has grown more sophisticated over the decades, including ways for a starship to avoid running into any singularities lurking within. At this point it remains a complicated game, causing one reporter from Science News to suffer a dizzy spell at a scientific conference and write a facetious article that might have gotten him fired. It was printed anyway, featuring one boffin’s name for his particular spacetime manifold, which was Heaven.

     There is nothing heavenly about this track. It would make a good accompaniment to a depiction of one of Roy Batty’s hard-eyed, ready-up missions, or Kurt Russell’s Soldier (who had a Tannhauser Gate tattoo).

     “Distant Sunrise” is a surprising change of pace. Temperamentally Ron is an incurable optimist. Maybe he simply wanted his cd to end on an upbeat note. As I have asserted above about the Hegelian dialectic, every vanishing cultural form has its most colorful expression at its sunset. In the binary world, the human mind knows by twos: joy and suffering, freedom and tyranny, life and death, good and evil. Put a managerial technocrat in a corporate boardroom, you will get a person thinking in terms of 1-0, profit-loss, kiss-kill, love-hate. To manage people, you have to process them the way you do tomatoes: grow plastic varieties that can endure mechanical harvesting. You aren’t talking about humanizing technology. You’re talking about technologizing humans. After all, it was The Managerial Revolution that inspired 1984.
     In the meantime, the disenfranchised are absorbing the exotic techniques of transformation from the East and native tribes everywhere, because only these are strong enough to humanize technology.
     This is how Christianity created Western civilization, along with contributions from the barbarians and the Greco-Roman civilization they had invaded. Hopefully the West will reconstitute itself without prolonging the agony much more, as it did during the Renaissance.