Cygnus X-1: The Voyage: Background

“The song was inspired by a Time magazine article on black holes. Producer Terry Brown reads the prologue through a voice synthesizer. The tale is of a space ship journeying into a time warp in the black hole of Cygnus (Greek for dog), which is referred to as the Swan constellation, where scientists believe there might be one (Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan have said that life might exist there). The music can be described as a dark, wrenching, heavy metal vortex. The “sound and fury” allusion is to a line in Shakespeare’s MacBeth, which William Faulkner used for the title of his most famous novel. The allusion to Rocinante is to Cervantes and Steinbeck.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

“Rocinante was Don Quixote’s horse [from the Miguel de Cervantes novel], and also the name of the truck in Travels With Charley. I just liked it, that’s all. (Backstage Club, 1990). I was never a sci-fi nerd and didn’t watch Star Trek or read science fiction, but then when I was in England, I was poor and couldn’t afford to buy books. So, I was ransacking the closet where I lived and I found a lot of sci-fi. It reintroduced me to the genre and made me realize it wasn’t all about numbers and integrated circuits. It refreshed my idea of what the style was, and that led me into fantasy. It was a whole lot of reading at that time, of being young an interested in fantasy and science fiction and alternative universes. That was all in my reading, so naturally it was reflected in the lyrics.” (Seconds, 1994). Neil in Merely Players

To get the unique sound they wanted for the futuristic epic, they “allocated a day for special effects [at Rockfield Studios in South wales, where they recorded A Farewell to Kings], which you can’t just pull out of a hat. So we messed around and had Alex hook up his guitar through various pedals and we hooked up a bunch of digital units in the control room. We just developed ideas with tape loops, a whole bunch of different sounds.” Terry Brown, producer, in Merely Players

“The menace of the black hole is conveyed through a staccato instrumental passage. The percussion work seems enough to frighten off all but the most hardy character. But the traveler [depicted in the piece] heads onward in his ship, the ‘Rocinante,’ towards the heart of the dead star. But what awaits him is not known, but it is clearly worth the risk. The ship enters the black hole, ‘spinning, whirling, descending like a spiral sea unending.’ A brief phrase, ‘To be continued . . . ‘ closes out the lyrics, and leaves listeners wondering if they’ll ever learn of the fate of the ‘Rocinante.'”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

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~ by rvkeeper on January 11, 2011.

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