I have an idea for a music project. But not just starting a band or anything— no, this would be a music project like we’ve never seen. For reasons that will become evident immediately, it’s very unlikely to ever be done, but I want to capture the idea anyway.
So the idea is this: a group of people decide to build, over the course of one or more decades, an absolute musical masterpiece. It’s a puzzle, a mystery, and a story. The band members stay almost completely hidden and/or silent throughout its execution.
The choose a band name that means something. The names of the band members are aliases, which turn out to be part of the story (something like characters). And with every album release, people are waiting not only for the unbelievable music, but also for more clues to the mystery and message.
I imagine this music as something like Mastodon/Tool/Opeth, but that’s because I’m partial to that kind of music and I think progressive metal lends well to this type of art form.
Here are some elements that I think would make it fascinating:
First of all, the essential point of the entire thing is that it’s 100% pre-planned from the very beginning. Even if it takes 10 years to execute over 10 albums. It’s not being created as it goes. It’s been designed, and it’s being executed.
The songs themselves are full of patterns, tricks, and mysteries. The time signatures, missing beats at one particular point, lyrics in a language that people don’t understand, etc.
Album names, song names, etc. are all part of the overall story.
Fourth word of every song could link to create a poem. Or any number of similar examples.
Art would be a major component of the works, with “album art” being done by someone similar to Banksy. That type of art could then be placed in random locations around the world, signaling a plot device or upcoming album, etc.
The ultimate meaning ends up being a long story, involving many nested stories and plot twists, etc.
There can be themes and puzzles for each album independently, separate from the overall story.
You can have links to external sources of information, like the names of actual stars, where official text about the star is encoded with meaning about a song, or a plot element.
The puzzles could be highly mathematical in nature, with true expertise being needed in equation solving and/or cryptography.
Live performances will also contain clues that are not present in any other medium, so when the lights dim and a strange sound starts, EVERYONE is recording it and getting ready to upload it to the Internet for everyone to start working on it.
The band is likely to go unnoticed for many years, with only a few fans, but as the third and fifth albums come out, and more people start to realize the nested meaning and coherent themes, more people come to it and it becomes a phenomenon.
The key is that people can enjoy the work in numerous ways: just listening to the music, enjoying a puzzle just within an album, or being a true fan and following and unlocking the entire epic.
Concepts can be seeded via phrases, like: “It lies beneath the surface.”, or something. People seeing this in a certain authenticated way, would know it was part of the epic.
At the end, it’s just over. No additions, no expansions. It was made from the very beginning to end at a certain point, and it does.
Here are some potential concepts that could sustain such an effort without being a letdown at the end. You can’t pull people along for years and end up with Drink More Ovaltine:
- A love story of some sort
- A story of existential meaning
Anyway, that’s the idea: an epic poetic masterpiece centered around a united story and theme, and executed via music, theater, mystery, math, cryptography, and real-world evidence gathering over a period of decades.
Thoughts? Anything I should add to the list of potentially interesting devices above?
Input welcome. I think the concept is fascinating.
- I think I got this idea from a combination of Ghost B.C., The Ocean, King Diamond, Harry Potter, Dr. Who, and Tool, but I’m not sure—it’s all kind of blurred together.