Tarot II: the numbered journey is the partner to Tarot I: The Fools’s Journey. Tarot I covered the Major Arcana, Tarot II covers the Number Cards.
There is also a sense of this being a revisit of a much earlier album called The Life Complex.
The Number Cards in Tarot are easily overlooked but they are all the little details between the major events. Therefore they define the lay of the land or the flow of the energy that creates the situation and pathway. The number cards describe a kind of physics of how things come from nothing to a solid conclusion, covering all the steps along the way. How things appear, grow, are added to, refined, solved, and finally made real.
Musically I wanted to acknowledge Tarot I but not be tied to it. I also didn’t want to fall into just redoing The Life Complex. Initially, I wanted a very melodic form but the work wanted something else. What comes out is very delicate and quite a bit like a side-step from the typical. This seems apt as this is a metaphysics thing, not a documentary.
In working out how to approach the record, I was aware that I had a definite ten tracks and for some reason suddenly it seemed to make sense that all the pieces be in 10/4 which is a bit odd. I also felt that I would try to make the emphasis of the groove be on the beat of the number of the piece, eg 03 Conception would have its rhythmic weight on the 3rd of the 10 4ths, 08 Precision would have its weight on the 8th of the 10 4ths. No doubt this contributes to the quirky feel of the pieces as they don’t “reset” every four beats like most Rock/Pop.
- Idea – This has to start with nothing. But nothing in music is hard. Therefore I start with a drum and leave space. There is a swirling sense of the ether outside of the known universe and then a flourish that harkens back to the Fool’s “flute” in Tarot I as the idea steps into this world.
- Energy – Nothing happens without energy or enthusiasm being applied to it. Two implies a duality which I highlighted with the “ticking”. We have to choose the path to which we commit and be steadfast.
- Conception – A thing isn’t anything until it has a form. We can be energized by an idea but without a plan it is nothing. The horns provide a regal backdrop and the lead darts about like a child as it finds its boundaries.
- Growth – True growth can only happen with stability. Again the ticking but now clearer with four points like the legs of a table. The discordant sound shows power but it has to be used with purpose or order to build the plan. The flute reappears in a far more controlled manner.
- Cutting – All plans need adjusting once some of the work is done. We resist change and the letting go required. It is unsettling until we realize the power that comes from refining the work. Once accepted, the plan becomes more like a self-powered machine.
- Illumination – Six is the center of everything, the sun, the universe that we feel and can connect to indirectly but cannot see in conscious detail. This is where we find the balance of all the elements.
- Creativity – This is the poetic approach to life, what all Artists aspire to in their dreams. How does one show creativity in a creative endeavor? I decided to try something a bit “Arabian” and looked up some of their drum patterns. I adapted that to the 10/4 meter (with the weight on the 7 of course). The sounds were built within the piece to resemble their traditional namesakes yet be not real.
- Precision – On the surface, this precision seems like the opposite of the 6 & 7 but without a structure, nothing can be made. I start with a kind of machine that seems to contrast the “unruly” creativity of before and then work in the softer and more delicate parts until they build something that all works together balancing soft and hard, sound and space.
- Imagination – This is the realm just below consciousness where we dream and manage what is close to real yet not manifest. I deliberately use elements of a Horror Movie soundtrack here. All of the sounds were processed to give them a slightly unworldly quality whilst not really seeming that strange at all. The piece is long and repetitive as we tend to hold onto our dreams (& fears) and repeat them over and over – in the hope they appear in the real world.
- Results – Finally things (that have been well nurtured) appear in the real world as outcomes. I decided to ground this with the only overtly real instrument in the whole record, a sample set of a 146-year-old piano. I felt that I needed to add “tight” semitones to the scale or it would not sit right. While we hope all outcomes are grand & fabulous, if we haven’t done the work right, the results are broken or even damaging. We can only ever reap what we sow, water, and flick the bugs off of.
- Unnumbered – While there is no 11 card (Court Cards are a whole other thing) there is a path in Kabbalah straight between the Six and the One. This is the hidden path and a dangerous one. Great Art opens that path a bit as it brings the Universe a bit closer, but only just. This piece was written before I had the concept (so is in dull ole 4/4) but always seemed to want to stay.