The Antikythera Mechanism

by Nathaniel Johnstone

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about

This all started in October 2013 when I read an article about the sophisticated science and technology of Ancient Greece. Reportedly, they had death rays, steam technology, and were making clockwork devices that rival the elegance of modern Swiss watch makers. Our whole world is thick with the influence of Greek art, music, knowledge and philosophy. For instance, the oldest known complete musical composition is from Greece (it's dated to somewhere between 200BC & 100AD).

The title of the album comes from an ancient artifact found in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900-1901. The corroded bronze object had obvious gear work and after years of care and investigation was found to be a device used to predict the movements of the heavenly bodies - eclipses, the phase of the moon, and the wanderings of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury through the heavens. Scholars and scientists today are still puzzling over the complexities that the mechanism has to offer. The sophistication required to make this was lost and didn't reappear again until nearly 1500 years later. Seriously, go google it and have your mind be blown.

So, anyway, as I was pondering this incredible legacy I began to hear music in my head. From there it was just a matter of time before I knew that I had an album's worth of material. I pitched the idea to Alyssa and she agreed that this would be a suitable followup to Narratives, our previous collaboration. Several weeks and chat conversations later we had enough lyrics for the whole album! It seems like not a day would go by but that there would be a new lyric in my email box. We hashed out songs about Ikarus, Medusa, Cassandra, Eos (the Goddess of the Dawn), Aphrodite, and a whole bunch of others.

Of course, seeing as we're both totally into Steampunk we knew that we had to add some science fiction to the project. So we've taken a few liberties with the stories. If you've heard our previous album, Narratives, you'll get what I mean.

credits

released 24 May 2014

Music by Nathaniel Johnstone (except for Stone Woman and Persephone Rises: Erik Brown and Nathaniel Johnstone)
Words by Alyssa Rosenbloom & Nathaniel Johnstone (except for Snugglefish: Nathaniel Johnstone, Kate McKnight, & Alyssa Rosenbloom)
Recorded and Mixed by Nathaniel Johnstone
Mastered by Doug Krebs
Album art by Phil Foglio & Cheyenne Wright

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Nathaniel Johnstone Seattle, Washington

The Nathaniel Johnstone Band hails from Seattle, WA, lead by multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone (violin, viola, banjo, mandolin, and guitar). Their vibrant sound crosses boundaries and borders, resulting in a blend of European, Middle Eastern, and South American music with Jazz, Rock, Surf, Folk, Gothic, and Steampunk influences. ... more

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Track Name: Epitaph
This is the translation i used from the original Greek. Any errors are ALL MINE. We recorded this with love, reverence, and gratitiude to our musical forebears:

While you life, shine
Seek no trouble or sorrow at all
For we are here just a short while
And time will always demand its toll