Dorje: ‘Primordial Audio Chronicle’ [Review]

Fiction

It came without warning. The first telltale signs were almost blissful – a stately, charming set of beautiful and beatific tones that rippled serenely through the air. A false sense of security was erected, and promptly torn away. The first cracks showed in a shady and eclectic side alley, part of an only slightly larger cultural microcosm where esoteric individuals gathered to drink, be merry, and share countercultural views.

Within a single, gut-wrenching moment tarmac, concrete, brick, soil, and rock were vaporised. Distant observers scrabbled for their smartphones, photographing, tweeting, and livestreaming the expansion of an eighty-five-mile-wide burst of pure, invisible energy – a vast and cylindrical force of supernature – parting clouds and ground alike. The damage was catastrophic. Billions wept, but remained utterly unable to tear themselves from their screens.

Within a week, the academic world was overflowing with papers offering potential explanations for this still unimaginable occurrence. Scientists convened on international symposiums while politicians traded condolences and passive-aggressive insults in senate houses and parliamentary halls. Social networks and forums swarmed with would-be prophets declaring the end of days and sniggering trolls converting humanity’s Ground Zero into a tasteless meme. The ranks of religious movements swelled. More than one televangelist bought a new mansion.

 After two weeks of constant media coverage, the news came. The death toll remained an estimate. But there was a survivor.

The man was first spotted by a remote drone, situated precisely in the centre of what had become popularly known as the ‘Pit of Despair’. Above him the sky had returned to normality; beneath his feet there was nothing. Space. Empty air. The abyss.

Again the academics, politicians, scientists, mystics, netizens, and religious leaders flew into uncontrollable bouts of heated debate and speculation. Newscasters frothed at the mouth, or simply gawked at their teleprompters. Nobody believed it, despite crystal-clear, high-definition footage taken from passing aircraft. Government officials took several days to decide on a course of action. Finally, it was agreed.

The helicopter made several uncertain passes before making its final, cautious approach. The cameraman and news reporter harnessed in the cabin tried but failed to hide their nerves. Below them lay nothing but an empty black hole. But the man was definitely there – a tiny speck that expanded into a bland and familiar human figure. The reporter hung over the edge as the pilot focussed every last iota of concentration upon his controls. The helicopter’s blades were spinning mere feet from the man’s head. The slightest slip, and there would be no story to tell.

The reporter’s legs quivered as he leant over the Pit, microphone in hand. Up close, the man’s outward appearance was unremarkable. Bald. Clean shaven. Early twenties. Slim. Clad in simple, tight fit black jeans. Barefoot. And impossibly still. Neither gravity nor air currents seemed capable of moving him. The reporter’s eyebrow rose quizzically. The interview began.

“How are you doing this?”

No response.

“Why are you doing this?”

No response.

“What are you?”

The man’s eyes were vibrant, certainly alive. But still he stayed silent. The interviewer, seasoned and tough-skinned, changed tack. His producers began to feed him live questions from the studio audience, to no avail. Students, teachers, doctors, lawyers – all attempted and failed to elicit even the slightest response. A tearful young woman whose parents had been consigned to the Pit was given her turn.

“Do you think you deserve to have survived this catastrophe? Don’t you know how many millions died here? What did you do that was so damn special?”

No response. The man’s abdomen rose and fell slowly – a clear sign of life.

More questions. More failures. The interviewer grew bitterly angry. His career was on the line. This was his defining moment – and nothing had worked. Broken, defeated, and publically humiliated, he took a deep and sorrowful breath, preparing to give up. The words tumbled from his lips in a barely audible mumble.

“Don’t you have anything to say? Anything at all?”

The man blinked. His breath remained controlled, calm, slow. His eyes began to burn a deep, flickering blue, staring past the interviewer’s jet-lagged, emotionally wrought face and straight into the camera lens. Eye contact established with seven billion others.

In-breath.

Outbreath.

Pause.

The shuddering bass of his voice would hit a pitch deeper than the Pit beneath his feet.

In-breath.

A faint tremor of emotion, timeless passion, and simple directness – and then, at last, he spoke to the world. 

“Why are you watching this?”

Opinion

Dorje are a band on the rise. This is, contrary to the centred text above, not opinion, but fact. The YouTube video for Aeromancy (track one on this EP) has, at the time of writing, been viewed some 215,000 times. Last year they stood as the centrepiece to one of crowdfunding platform Indiegogo’s top campaigns of the year, raising nearly three times their intended target and using the funds to take their stellar live act to a host of emotionally and financially invested fans. Later this year, they are slated to unleash their second ever set of officially released tracks, in the form of a full album.

Primordial Audio Chronicle (a title I absolutely cannot say 10 times really quickly) was Dorje’s first EP. And it is, many months later, still as pleasurable and gloriously bruising an experience as it was on the day it was first made publicly available. Aeromancy‘s well-crafted roughness is absolutely exquisite – an alt-rock treat complete with Alter Bridge-esque riffage, a little electronic glitching, and a beast of a solo containing one of the most masterfully placed Dimebag squeals ever. Track two – Too Weak – provides more of the same, finishing off with a truly delicious breakdown that will keep you repeating the whole EP just to journey back to that point again. And again…and again…

Go here and buy it already.

Links

Connect with Dorje here: https://www.facebook.com/dorjeband

And indulge in the YouTube delicacies generously provided by its members:

Rob Chapman

Rabea Massad

Ben Minal

Dave Hollingworth

Follow TMMP via Twitter and my brand new Facebook page for more from the world of world-class music!

Posted on 14 August 2013

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