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The Eldest Pathways (EP)

by Luke Stark



“Welcome to a trio of sonic vignettes, stories all meant to inspire your own imagination. Listen to the music, read the associated words and dream your own dreams with eyes open or closed. Know that this music is created with a love of story, drama and ambiguity. It is inspired by all the tales told in all the generations that came before. These are new songs forged from old ideas, melodies cruising the neurons of the eldest pathways.”

- Luke Stark, July 2022 - Year 3 of the COVID Hermitage

Tracks & Stories

“You do the Math” or YDTM

In the small, math is a machine.
Metal, mountain or meat.
Foundation and focus
achieved through arcane symbology,
mysticism and something like magic.

In the large, math is a lover’s whisper.
It is the tail of the comet, motes in the wind.
It cannot be held at arms length.
Warmly wrapping your mind,
you see where it leads when the light is just so,
and you may glimpse eternity in the long shadows it casts before you.

“Meditation on Sixes and Eights” or M68

We find a group of scions transplanted,
moving through a dance of enraptured quadrature.
The circle gains momentum.
Closing their eyes…accelerating.
Spinning faster and further.
Leaning out from the core of the centrifuge,
bent backwards to the breaking point.
You can hear the sinews creak but behind it all;
Joy found in patterns of limbs,
movement and emotional connections,
…all divisible by sixes and eights.

“A Tapestry of Charcoal and Amber” or TOCA

Inspired by stream of consciousness
and the story “Charcoal & Amber” by Watts Martin

As the craft rose, the hunting signals resolved.
We soared, faltered, then began our spiral
all the way down to the point of impact.

The landscape was strange as we tried to get our feet under us.
Hopeful - the group set off from Jaunt’s Beginning.
Winding through settlements along the path where thorns thrive.
Trekking towards the plumes marking the Dusted Cities.

We had less value to offer than we’d hoped,
and the old empire’s welcome was a cold one.
We searched for a way around them,
But leaving that place - as we found out later,
was never part of their plan.

But all was not lost.
There were some who shared the old songs.
We listened. We learned.
Leaders stepped forward to be counted.
Blood was shed, theirs old and dark
ours brightly mingled with the singers who stood among us.

It took a long time and we never did return to our origins,
But a new pathway was founded out there in the dust and thorns.
And for better or worse - by might and right,
we wove ourselves into their tapestry of charcoal and amber.

Background Notes:

“Where did these stories come from? / What inspired them?”

- YDTM was originally written as the soundtrack to a demoscene-style graphical demonstration written by a colleague of mine in the language MATLAB - we have collaborated several times over the years, him doing the imagery and me providing the music. It's great fun. Check out www.pouet.net for more demoscene than you can shake a stick at.

- M68 was an attempt to minimize the instrumentation used for a single track (my music gets really thick, really fast) and in fact that was sort of the goal for this entire project. I was thinking “treat it like a trio of players” - so three. And then the time signature went to a waltz (3) but shifted to 6/8 with some swing. I started hearing patterns and I do love to play the bass…so it developed from there.

- TOCA was *much* longer at first, nearly 20 minutes, but a lot of that ended up on the editing (composing) room floor. It started out as a series of one-liner story-statements. I wrote out a bunch of points about an ambiguous imagined story and then started composing short motifs for each - not really trying to link them together - and just having fun playing around with what I called “groove whiplash.” It grew for a while, getting longer and longer until I realized I didn’t have a good way to end the damn thing.

That’s when I started going through the bin of unfinished works from years ago. This was stuff I hadn’t looked at in 20 years and ran across an old piece in 5/8 that was inspired by a short story written by an acquaintance back when we were a few years out of school. It had an Arabian-Nights sort of feel and it worked as a dramatic sounding ending. I went back along the snippets, reworking their keys and timing, smoothing transitions and adding little bumpers to join them all, eventually modulating time and key to fit the ending piece. The story he had written back in the day was called “Charcoal & Amber” and that name was both inspiring and appropriate as I had written it originally due to his story. I think it turned out rather well.


released July 29, 2022

Composed, performed and produced by Luke Stark

Mastered by Bob Familiar @ Sounds Familiar Studio

Special Thanks to:

- Family (present and passed.)
- The online communities I hang with (again...you know who you are.)
- MathWorkers everywhere. (Ah the day job...love you folks.)


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Luke Stark Boston, Massachusetts

Sometimes driving. Sometimes ambient. Always interesting.

This is music is meant to spark your imagination. Close your eyes and open up to sounds that provide a mood for you to weave your own daydreams.

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