Official Page: http://www.arjenlucassen.com/content/arjens-projects/ayreon/
This is it, the final Artist/Group for the letter ‘A’. What a group to finish on.
6 Albums, 11 discs, 12 Hours worth of music – One giant Rock Opera !
One thing to note before reading this there are lots of album names and characters associated with each album. If I were to list them I’d be here ‘Forever’ quite literally. Though I will come back from time to time and update this entry with a fuller broader view of the Project.
The Story (very loosely):
Ayreon’s concept is a continuous one, with loose connections between each of the albums. The Final Experiment alluded to the events that led to The Universal Migrator albums (during the course of events in the specified album, the man using The Dream Sequencer discovers that he was, in a past life, the blind minstrel Ayreon). The inlay booklet of the Universal Migrator double-album alludes to Into the Electric Castle, with the castle being shown in the same page with the song “Out of the White Hole,” specifically the portion titled “Planet Y”, home planet to the alien “Forever”, who is mentioned in the middle of the song (“Forever… remember Forever…”). Also, Arjen’s notes at the beginning the possibility (for listeners to decide – but majority dictates) that the character using the Dream Sequencer on the Universal Migrator double-album (the Colonist) is indeed the Futureman on Into the Electric Castle.
So far, there seems to be little connection between Into the Electric Castle and The Human Equation, except for the very final section of “Day Twenty: Confrontation”, in which it is revealed that “The Human Equation” was really a computer program launched by Forever of the Stars. At the end of the song, Forever can be heard saying “Emotions… I remember…”, pointing to the fact that the experiment has been successful and he has remembered the emotions that his race had lost.
01011001 is the album that connects the stories from all others albums, for here the whole Forever story is revealed. Throughout the first few songs, it is revealed how Forever lost their emotions, due to a dependence on machines, thus explaining both experiments undertaken by them (Into the Electric Castle and The Human Equation). Later, it is explained that Forever created the human race, using their own DNA. On the eleventh song, “The Truth Is In Here”, the Mr. L character appears, who is indeed the now aged Hippie, one of the eight characters from Into the Electric Castle. Also, this Mr. L is the prophet promised by Merlin at the end of The Final Experiment. Forever, in an attempt to save mankind, send visions of the Earth’s decay to the human race, along with a way to save the Earth. These visions are received by two scientists, who build The Final Experiment, and send these visions back in time, eventually received by Ayreon in The Final Experiment. At the end of the story, Forever realize that they cannot save humankind, so they leave them to their own devices. Though the human race may be lost, there is one man (Futureman/Colonist) left alive on Mars, so the Forever give him the role of the new Universal Migrator. The end of 01011001 occurs on the year 2085, one year after the mankind’s destruction and the great war on Earth (which is told on the second and third songs from The Dream Sequencer, “My House On Mars” and “2084″ respectively).
This then explains why it can’t simply be put into one album.
Think of it as a ‘Musical Audio Book’ in many acts.
It encompasses most of what I love in music; a story for one and fantastic instrumentation as well as vocals. It also appeals to my obsessive nature – meaning if I listen to one Ayreon album I actually cannot stop (except for breaks – call them intermissions to keep in line with the musical theme) and not listen to any other music until I have finished the story. I think this is my biggest weakness in loving Ayreon, the fact it’s so easily addictive. I know others won’t share the same sentiments but equally will listen to Ayreon with as much attention to the individual ‘Operas’ as I do the encompassing story.
I applaud Arjen Lucassen’s dedication and in collaborating with some of the biggest names in Rock, Metal, Opera, Folk and many more genres can be listed.
In addition there is one ‘tying off’ song simply called ‘Epilogue’ though many call it ‘The Meaning Remains’ as the song itself, technically, has a second part with that name. Although Arjen had been noted in saying that he had the potential to do another Ayreon based album which finally saw the light of day last year (and will ahve to update above accordingly).
Normally at the end here I would post a link to a song I would recommend listening to first/my favourite. Though this could well be a mammoth of a task in just picking one so I am opting to pick one from each Album/Album part.
From ‘The Final Experiment’ – ‘The Charm Of The Seer’ :
From ‘Into The Electric Castle – part 1′ – ‘Welcome To The New Dimension’
From ‘Into The Electric Castle – part 2′ – ‘The Castle Hall’
From ‘The Universal Migrator: The Dream Sequencer’ – ‘My House On Mars’
From ‘The Universal Migrator: Flight Of The Migrator’ – ‘Dawn Of A Million Souls’
From ‘The Human Equation – part 1′ – ‘Day 11: Love’
From ‘The Human Equation – part 2′ – ‘Day 16: Loser’
From ’01011001 – Y’ – ‘Ride The Comet’
and last but not least; From ’01011001 – Earth’ – ‘E=MC²’