The Continual Return – Tracks

Below are notes on the musical elements of the album, by track — and with themes that appear in more than one place.

There are links to MIDI and audio assets where available …

All mixes (and many audio assets) are rough, work-in-progress versions and may change (maybe considerably) …

See also Themes | Concept

1 — Overture

This is … an Overture! — let’s open the story … with a bit of back and forth between Saturn and Jupiter … there’s a hint of the Awakening Theme … then elements of the Departure Theme (coming full circle) …

“Meta-Saturn” opens the ceremonies (Saturn addresses the audience, directly):

Welcome …

“Meta-Saturn” steps aside, and the show proper begins with solo Jupiter …

Jupiter steps in to lift things up (Jupiter addresses the protagonist) …

Hello / Welcome back my friend / It’s been a while since you’ve been here / but still the story never ends …

Saturn (taking his position, no longer “meta-“) provides some exposition …

Jupiter suggests it might be different this time (?) …

… a bit of Entry Theme …

… shall we take it higher this time? / Shall we stay aloft longer … ?
what’s inside of you? / what now shall you do? ...
… what’s inside of you? / are you ready to rise?

Saturn: … and so it begins again …

(Both?) Awake! / Arise!

rough mix (2g):

rough mix (2f):

D- / A …
E- / G / A- / C
C / B- B …
(opening theme E-)

Awakening Theme

This theme appears in the next part, Oblivion …

Entry/Opening Theme

Main Entry Theme
Secondary Theme

… and is further developed later in L’Histoire …

2 — Oblivion

136 bpm

9/16/21: STEMS 24/48 audio; all parts at original (not mix) levels + MIDI where applicable: All Stems

Rough mix 3g:

Rough mix (rev 3d):

Previous rough mix:

(v) A- / G / A- G / A- G F D- …
(ch) A- / D- / F


Is this another life? / I can’t remember my name / I don’t know who I am / I don’t know if I am the same

If this is all we are / How is it I remember / That I’ve been here before / That I’ve been here forever … ?

Tell me what I am / Do you know where I’m from? / Tell me where we are / Tell me what I’ve become

Lost before the dawn / And like a dream our lives not long remembered / Tell me where we’re from / Oblivion oblivion / (and) This is what we’ve done / (and) What they separate we bring together / Forever we go on / Oblivion oblivion

For it’s a long way down / Into our fading history / But there’s a tale to tell / If anybody’s listening / We look into the past / To find our lost humanity / Inhabiting this world / Enduring this insanity

3 — L’Histoire Ouverte (The Continual Return) — Instrumental

The main idea here is different times (historical periods) and places are represented by varied genres and styles: a 18th-century Europe scene, some kind of cabaret or New Orleans-vibe barroom (late 19th-early 20th century) vibe, a reference to U.S. Civil War Gatling guns (which, by the way are related to early 20th-century film projectors), then something 20th/21st century (or beyond) and industrial … and so on …


Rev 4d – part 1 (and end) – all 6/8 parts rough mix:

Rev 4d – Part 2 – Rough mix (4/4):

Rev 4c – Part 1 (and end) – Rough mix (6/8):

Rev 4c – Part 2 – Rough mix (4/4):


Rev 1b (Parts 1 and 2):

86 bpm 6/8 – this is a sketch, some parts are not developed …

Breakdown of the sections/chapters/vignettes in this version:

  • (PART 1) bar 1 – late 18th century, the end of the harpsichord era
  • bar 9 – the Entry/Opening Theme
  • bar 17 – add Jupiter vox … ?
  • bar 25 – the Continual Return march … (maybe both Jupiter and Saturn vox here, like a call-answer?)
  • bar 41-42 – imagine M. Ordinaire suddenly awaking, as if from a dream, at a table in a cafe … wondering where he is …
  • bar 46 – … it’s a jazz/blues cafe, maybe NOLA (early 20th century) … why not have a drink … ?
  • bar 54 – … after a few drinks … feeling a bit tipsy .. maybe stepping outside for some air …
  • bar 62 – … and into a carnival … ! whiriling excitement, dizzying madness …
  • bar 70 – … stepping away from the crowd … the nearest doorway … is an entrance to a funhouse … (into a 1967 LA psychedelic scene)
  • (PART 2) bar 80 – psychedelia gives way to Industry … (in 1950s LA this was a relevant idea – the connection between the esoteric community and aerospace) … 6/8 gives way to 4/4 ..
  • bar 92 – the industrial juggernaut (back to 1850 or so – the steam powered railroad, the mill, the Gatling gun) – this section may be extended (and maybe at a higher bpm) …
  • bar 120 – back to where we started (in the memory sequence) … time to move on to reality …?

previous mix (parts 1 and 2):


4 — A Victorian Passage

mix rev 1i:

Rough mix (rev 1g):

Rough mix (rev 1e):

124 bpm

A- G A- G / F G E-
(ch) G F (A-) E- G


“Leave your things behind,” she said / “You won’t need them anymore” / As we disembark upon the shore

For there’s nothing left to lose / As circumstances are to fall / Tell the Concierge this will be all

The navigator served us well / With just a few more miles to go / The road is clear for all we know

Now the Captain turns away / He must leave for home at dawn / While provisions must be taken on

Long is the night / In this silence we abide / Forever I / I’ve been waiting to arrive

Can you read between the lines? / Can you tell me what’s in store? / I know your name and nothing more

For however hard I’ve tried / To understand what we have done / I know our purposes are one

Long is the night / In this silence we abide / Forever I / I’ve been waiting to arrive / Far is our sight / In this sadness we survive / Forever I / I’ve been waiting to arrive

chorus vox 1
chorus vox 2

5 — (Interlude)

This is a segue from Victorian Passage to Light Lift. Mostly instrumental with some VO… — introduces the Madness Theme … and the Apocalypse Theme …

(rev 1e)

(rev 1e)

(coming out of the Victorian chorus … ramping down to 110bpm … to the Madness Theme …

Finally the journey is once again underway / Where shall you go, what shall you do?

You’ve only just begun again / Far from the light / Be careful not to rise too quickly, too high … and in the end, you already know where this inevitably leads …

Madness Theme

This reappears in Purgatory …

G- F A- C- G

6 — Light Lift

Version 4b

… includes a Jupiter-driven bridge after the first chorus …

(v) C- G- C- G- D- G- D- G-
(ch) C- Eb C- Eb(G-)
(br) Ab C- Ab Eb C-

Version 1x


Light lift

Light lift me up from this darkness / Lift up from this night / Set me free from the madness / set me free from the strife

Light lift

Show me the way and the motion / Where the flow brings us high / Take me into your arms now / Hold me as we take flight

Oh / Bring me up to the world of light / Take me up to the realm of starlight

7 — (“The Turning Point” / “Chez Julien”)

(version 5c)

… begins (major key) building off the chorus of Light Lift (“up to the realm of starlight…”) developing into a refined party (restaurant and cocktail bar) scene … here Jupiter (Matrix) has a solo performance in the Starlite Lounge … then down to a (“Jovial!”) festive party scene (backalley joint), then … down we go … introducing the Saturnian element, incorporating the Apocalypse Theme … (minor key) …

In this sketch, coming out of Light Lift (110 bpm, 4/4) with a variation on the LL chorus … into 2 bars of 6/8 at bars 10-12 (Opening Theme, in Cm), then (bar 12, 4/4) an abbreviated 12-bar blues based on AbMaj7 (I don’t know what to do here and I don’t particularly like soloing in this key, but it should sound like some kind of party — one that starts to go not-so-well at the end) to the Apocalypse Theme (at bar 22, with a tempo ramp from 110 at bar 22 to 130 at bar 25) …

8 — Purgatory

8/29/21: New Vox and additional bits on Google Drive

8/7/21: STEMS 24/48 audio; all parts at original (not mix) levels + MIDI where applicable: Bass | Drums | Guitar | Intro stuff | Orchestral stuff | Ref mix | Synths

(version 4d)

130 bpm

(opening = varitions on B “madness” section)
(A section) G- (16 bars) / Eb / D / F#-dim / B / D / F#-dim
(B “madness” section) G- / F / A- / C- / G / G- / F / A- / C- / Bb B- / E-
(bridge) E-
(“gravity” end) A-

MIDI and audio reference bits

Silently we’re moving through the night / Faded memories unfinished lives / Here in Purgatory souls abide / Soon we’ll be together / Very soon we’ll rise

Waiting far beyond the light / Knowing hunger deep inside / While we’re still in darkness we’re alive / Soon we’ll be together / Very soon we’ll rise

Is this not madness? / What we’ve become? / We shall unfold it / Now it will soon be done

(vocoder) I feel this gravity / I feel its hold on me / This isn’t meant to be / I’m getting out of Purgatory

Is this not madness? / What we’ve become? / You shall behold it / Now it will soon be done

I feel this gravity / I feel its hold on me / This isn’t meant to be / I’m getting out of Purgatory …

You will not take me down / Won’t take be back to Purgatory

9 — Thursday’s End

(version 2c)

rough mix version 2

126 bpm

Reference bits: MIDI | audio

And so another cycle ends / And yet we struggle on my friend / You’ve travelled long and so have I / So far to go before we die / But the carousel goes round and round / (around we ride) / And it’s getting us nowhere / There’s another way we’ll find in time

The smoking ruins all around / Here life is crushed on blackened ground / We must be making for somewhere / Lest we descend into despair / So the pilgrimage goes on and on / (though hard, our lives) / And it’s getting harder / (but) While the light is in our eyes we’re still alive

We get one life before we’re gone / When everything is said and done / There’s so much for us to say / We’ll live to fight another day / And so the planet slowly turns / While all our citadels are burning / It falls apart before our eyes / Still after all we are alive / Alive alive alive …

Alive / Like the circles in the sky / We rise (to) another exposure / In time we’ll make heaven with our minds / We’ll find the penance is over / For life is a momentary rhyme / Inside a delicate fusion / Our lives, we are subtle and sublime / Alive

And so another cycle ends / Yet still we struggle on my friend / You’ve travelled long and so have I / So far to go before we die / (but) Like a candle in the dark, we are / (we’re of one mind) / We are burning brighter / And we’ll take what’s yours and mine this time

The Apocalypse Theme

10 — Deus Ex Silentium

version 2b

90 bpm

G-/D G-/C Eb- Eb-/G

The silence fills my mind / Darkness surrounds my eyes / While I am deaf and blind / My senses are excited

Long have I lived this way / Long is the silent night / Until the light of day / Deus ex silentium

I cannot fight anymore / Fight this silence

11 — (Coda / Segue)

… crashing down to silence and stillness … this is The End … or is it … ?

13 — (Epilogue)

… an alternate take on the Departure Theme (Jupiter vocal here) … referencing the Arrival and Awakening Themes …

E- / G / A- / C / A- / F / A-

12 — Reality Drive

(version 4)

… in this version, there are new changes for the verses: Ab- D E- G

Ableton version 2c

(oh) No / Don’t go away / Don’t go, my friend / Don’t fade away again

Reality drive

Bring it back / To the surface / And up from below / Now there must be a way / Hold on fast / To the story / And don’t let it end / When there’s so much to say

And now / Hold it close to your heart / Things are falling apart / Don’t let them slip away / And know / When it falls from your grasp / There is no turning back / When nothing is the same

Keep it safe / Like a treasure / And hold it within / ‘Til the night falls away / Deep inside / There’s a purpose / And we must bring it on / Oh there must be a way

Departure Theme

E- G A- C

14 (Bonus Track) — Innocence redux

This is a previously released track (and performed, with a full band, in at least one notable LA goth club) – but this might be a good time to do a reworking of it … (as it was one of the first pieces of the Continual Return / M. Ordinaire mythology) … Some of the treatments in this mix in terms of samples and sound design are consistent with the vibe for the album, too …

78 bpm
MIDI and audio reference bits

And now you realize that life is such a bother and a bore / What you’re avoiding can you see it now? / What are you waiting for?

And every day is just like any other / Tho’ you’re older than before / And who you are you’re still not sure

And if they ask / Then will you reply, “An innocent man, living life in his own simple way” … ?

You live in silence mounting stairs by candlelight / You left behind a world of pain / But still you live your life in chains / And here’s your reward / For what you brought into this world / Innocence lost forever …

Are you secure behind the trim facade of what you have become? / Safe in the knowledge that you know precisely what you’re hiding from? / Motionless within the course of history’s design / In plain sight you are concealed / Still one day all will be revealed …

And when they ask / How will you reply? / “An innocent man, living life in his own simple way”