1. Sound of Contact
Sound of Contact’s “Dimensionaut” is a story of love, depth, and hope. It’s a story with humanity, despite its sci-fi themes. In fact, I believe this album seeks to show us our own humanity more clearly than ever!
This introductory track is called “Sound of Contact”. “Some when some how/ Earthshine, sunlight/ It’s all the same/ Daydream, take flight.” This track, then, introduces us to our dimensionaut, the traveler of time, space, and dimensions. He has mighty power to travel, perhaps using his mind, I suppose. That’s one tricky thing about this album: Much of the lyrical content could be interpreted on a purely symbolic basis.
Yet, he sees planets and stars alien to Earth’s solar system. He sees the wonders of the universe. Yes, he soars to the mind’s edge, finding, searching, and seeing. Is there anything this man (if you want to call him that) hasn’t seen?
2. Cosmic Distance Ladder
The second track on “Dimensionaut” is especially tricky, even though it is almost entirely an instrumental track. There are some lyrics, however, that shed light onto what is happening. “We’re unstoppable/ As we step into/ The cosmic distance ladder”.
The cosmic distance what? The cosmic distance ladder is basically a grouping of the methods that scientists use to measure distances in space. No one method works for every group of distances, so there is a succession of methods that has been dubbed a “ladder”. The infinity symbol on the front of “Dimensionaut” is Simon Collins’ visualization of the cosmic distance ladder.
And, yet, as I said before, there is more to this then the idea of systems of measurement. The idea is more that this dimensionaut uses the cosmic distance ladder to travel throughout time, space, and different dimensions. It’s his ship, if you will. Yet, there’s more to it than that, I believe. One of the most important aspects of my spotlight feature is commentary and my own interpretations, and so I think that I will leave my interpretation of what all this means til the very end of this spotlight. Suffice it to say, I think that Collins is making a statement about humanity’s failures.
3. Pale Blue Dot
“I’m feeding love/ feeling pain and the in-organics/ I, I am not afraid to try and understand it”. We finally arrive to the first “normal” song on “Dimensionaut”. This song, “Pale Blue Dot”, shows Collins’ love for Carl Sagan and his illustration of the earth as a pale blue dot in space. However, it is also the beginning of the story.
Our dimensionuat has landed on earth. He’s a nobody, but only because he’s been freed from that kind of thing. And he’s here to help. He’s here to free others, but he’s searching for something, also. In specific, he has a message that he wants the inhabitants of earth to understand: “No matter how hard we try/ We still can’t deny/ We’re a pale blue dot”.
But what does this mean? Well, when man first photographed the earth from space, it changed so many people. All of a sudden, our lives were put in perspective. We are tiny beings on a tiny planet in the middle of an enormous universe. Do our problems, squabbles, and issues really matter?
You see, Collins sees this as freedom: When we put our lives in true perspective, we can begin to prioritize. Money? War? That argument you just had with your spouse? Our problems seem enormous, and we feel like we are the center of the universe. But are we really? Are we really that important? And, if we aren’t that important, how petty does that make our problems? More on that later, though.
4. I Am Dimensionaut
In the fourth track on Sound of Contact’s debut album, we begin to get to know this dimensionaut. “I’m not inhuman/ But I have lost all sense of self/ I pray for resilience/ Disguised as someone else”. Indeed, he is not some kind of superior being, god, or alien. He’s a man.
“Swallow all ’til ruin/ Then I wonder why I ache/ I’m not the only one/ Many fall from their mistakes”. He’s a man that has been so focused on everything else that he’s forgotten what it means to be human. And, as he visits his home planet once again, a spark of humanity ignites in his soul. He sees the sorrow, heartache, and pain. He sees the abuse, the murder, and the depression. And he wants to do something about it.
However, one of the most important things to remember about this whole album is that this dimensionaut doesn’t have the answer. He doesn’t. Not yet. He can give some perspective (Pale Blue Dot), but he doesn’t have the answer for all the problems in the world. And his own heart aches because of it, as those problems are within him, too.
5. Not Coming Down
“In a cloud, take a look around/ You’re so high you’re not coming down/ Broke the reins, fading away/ You’re so high, you’re not coming down.” In this next track on “Dimensionaut”, the title character is searching for something to answer humanity’s problems. “Not Coming Down” reflects something he notices: the way humans try to escape their current realities.
“So clever you don’t have a clue/ What is real and what is half of the deal”. Indeed, this song is about humans getting high and becoming nothing useful or valuable to society. The music video for this track is actually quite in tune with the lyrics, as we see a man spiraling out of control in his relationships. When you devote so much time to cheating reality, how can you expect to flourish in any way?
Instead of seeking answers, the man wallows in his own confusion. Instead of loving, the man barely knows there are people around him. He is lost. Indeed, this is not the answer the dimensionaut is seeking. There is something else. Something transcendent.
6. Remote View
“The further I go/ The more it shows/ And all that we know/ Everything is always”. As we continue the spotlight of Sound of Contact’s “Dimensionaut”, we arrive at “Remote View”, a song that honestly confused me at first. However, I think I’ve figured it out now.
This track involves the dimensionaut directly after being disappointed by how humans try to escape reality rather than understand it. He digs deeper and deeper to find meaning and to find the source of humanity’s problems. “Floating above/ Blinding starlight/ You’re never alone or out of sight/ I’m flowing in and flowing out/ Constant motion all about”.
In the mind’s eye, he floats above the world, seeing things in perspective. He can see the eternity of the universe—the eternity of Being. He can see what a small thing sorrow is in relation to the rest of creation. This ethereal track is the beginning of the dimensionaut’s enlightenment on the human condition.
7. Beyond Illumination
“All this time and out of place/ Some when some how/ Beyond illumination/ And I still see your face”. The answer was so obvious. The answer was always in front of his face. Somewhere in the distant past, this dimensionaut had loved. He had loved and lost. How could he not remember himself?
There was a woman, a woman with such splendor and warmth. But she’s gone, and he’d forgotten himself and forgotten how to feel. This illuminating moment that he has in his ethereal journey simply knocks the wind out of him. How could he have forgotten?
“No don’t leave me now/ This world belongs to you and I/ No don’t leave me now/ I’ll come back a better man”. Or maybe he left her? His memory is so fuzzy. He wanted to be a better man for her, but lost himself in the process. What to do? This feeling—this love—is this what he has been searching for throughout the universe? Is this the answer to the problems plaguing humanity? Is this the end of the journey?
8. Only Breathing Out
“Only Breathing Out”, a truly wonderful track, gets us closer to the end of this cosmic journey. Besides being beautiful, this track is also so relatable and so emotive. “I don’t know what I’m gonna face/ Looking down and inside/ A soul lost without a trace”. Our dimensionaut came to Earth to share his perspective, but by observing the people, he came to understand his own humanity, his own frailty, and his own emptiness. He feels as if he is only breathing out, never breathing in the breath of life or the freshness of continuity. He feels desolate.
But why? His love is gone. He remembers the feeling and thinks that it will never return. What can he do? Without love, he’s forgotten who he is. Without love, he feels like his body is not his own. He calls out to her. He needs her back with him. “Hear me now, hear me now/ So alone, no returning, so alone”.
9. Realm of the In-organic Beings
We now come to a short instrumental track called “Realm of the In-organic Beings”. This track is very interesting, as it pays obvious tribute to Pink Floyd. However, the sense of glory and enlightenment is truly palpable here. If you look up the lyrics for this track (though there are none, really), Sound of Contact does list some.
“Another earth or another you?/ Shadows thrive where the spirits fly/ From boy to man to beyond the cell/ Embrace the power from the planet’s eye”. In this song, then, I see the dimensionaut ending his cosmic journey. He’s found the answers he seeks, and now he’s ready to act. He comes down from on high a completely different person, so much so that the world feels like a different place. He’s matured. He’s learned. And now, he’s ready to embrace what he should have accepted all those years ago…
10. Closer to You
“Closer to you/ Closer to me/ Eroding with time/ Like shells in the sea/ A heart overflowing/ The thought of just knowing/ I throw you a line/ And you set me free”. Freedom, sweet freedom. The dimensionaut has traveled through time and space to find that the place from which he began is where he should have been the whole time. He was so busy looking for some magical truth or some epiphany of peace that he missed the essence of life right before his eyes: love.
“Closer to you”. He won’t ever leave now. He’s found, or rediscovered, that life’s problems are solved through love. Depression, war, and everything else: if the world would just love itself!
“I tear down the walls/ to be back with you”. He won’t ever give up what he has found. He’s seen all there is to see, and yet his greatest treasure is his love. He will fight for her. He will relish her forever. And, honestly, this dimensionaut has finally found his peace and his home.
11. Omega Point
“They cannot break us down/ I’ll erase the pain somehow/ There’s a way to save us now”. Falling and flying quickly through the in-between worlds has taken its toll on the dimensionaut. He’s been ripped apart in soul, and shredded in spirit. Yet, here he is, and he’s found himself again.
“Discover who you are/ All of who you are/ Remember who you are”. He admonishes us: discover yourself. He deems that this is the way to save us all. It is the way to end the problems that humanity faces. If we discover who we as human beings really are, any logical person would be changed to the very core.
Indeed, Collins is begging us to find the Omega Point, the maximum level of consciousness and complexity towards which we are evolving. This requires that we dig into places that we might want to leave alone. It requires that we flesh out and talk about problems that most would leave covered. This state of being, this Omega Point, would theoretically be a utopia as human beings would have perfect understanding. Can this exist?
12. Mobius Slip
First of all, sorry for the longer, drawn-out spotlight. I do feel that this album is worth it, though. Anyways, this final track on “Dimensionaut” is called “Mobius Slip”. This epic would require several chapters of a book to cover, but I think the most important concept to understand is what a Mobius Slip really is. It seems to be a group learning solution, wherein the human race can learn and change.
“Programmed believers/ Chase the dragon of salvation/ In search of the Garden Of Eden”. This album isn’t really about a traveler of time, space, and dimensions. It’s not about a nomad of the in-between places. This cosmic journey, in my opinion, is an allegory for the life and enlightenment of a human soul. He, like his fellow humans, was chasing utopia through what other people say to do. He was a drone, constantly searching for a place or a thing that would grant true freedom and hope, and he was searching through all the most popular channels.
But he never found this place, because “No such place is found/ Nor was it ever a place but a way/ A combination of actions”. Love. It wasn’t a place. It wasn’t a thing. Heaven, utopia, or nirvana were all found in living like we were created to live. In loving our Creator, and thus, loving our fellow human beings. Man lost this so long ago, and, now, our protagonist’s life is spinning out of control, as he pursues happiness through drugs, sex, and solitude.
“I have traveled all this time/ I recognize who I was and what i am”. Understanding the meaning and purpose of life is more valuable than anything else in this life. Our “dimensionaut”, I believe, is nothing but a weary soul with an active, introspective mind. He’s been thinking and exploring, searching and searching. And here he’s finally found it: LOVE. The most basic human response, or what should be, anyways. So, he gives up his habits. He gives up his life of moving from place to place. “Now I feel I can’t go on/ Without you in this life/ And all the love inside”. Love satisfies. Love ends the strife, stress, and pain. Love is what we are built to express and receive: Love built on the foundation of He who loved us first. At the journey’s end, happiness and joy await.