Review: New album forces much needed reflection on human technology

Courtesy Photo

By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Design Editor

A collection of great minds, skills and talents came together for the new album, “Hell on Earth” [Mono Version], which features an apocalyptic, electro-ambient-sci-fi-cinema composition.

Director/photographer Sandro, actor/director John Malkovich and producer/composer Eric Alexandrakis collaborated to create this captivating masterpiece, which was designed to grip its listener and give them something to think about.

The album is based on the idea that humanity has been completely annihilated while being distracted by their mobile devices. The album begs the question, “Did technology trick us into control via distraction, or were we controlling technology?” It draws the listener in and causes them to look into their own lives and think about how much they use and need technology.

Throughout the album, Malkovich speaks the words of Aristotle and Plato, all of which reflect the main idea of destruction and of synthetic objects controlling human nature.

The album overall was riveting, and at first it caught me off-guard. The album begins with the crumbling of humanity’s foundation. The composers give the listeners imagery by providing the sounds of buildings collapsing, stones falling, windows smashing and people screaming. My attention was caught immediately and I was drawn in, wondering what would happen next.

As the album continues, the listener is taken deeper into the destruction, where the flames of ruin crackle and a low, spooky tone starts to envelop the sounds of annihilation. The low, ominous tone made me feel as if someone was about to attack me.

My thoughts were correct; I wasn’t safe. The technology is creeping up on the listener, as digital sounds start to sneak into the music, giving the sense that the technology is the one taking over humanity, and that the controller has now become the controlled.

The first quote uttered in the album is one by Aristotle: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

When I got to this point in the album, I stopped the album for a moment to ponder the meaning of this. The reason this is the first quote in the piece is because we, as a society, are beginning to lose sight of ourselves. We are starting to forget some of the things most basic to man, such as how to hold a conversation with someone we don’t know, or how to give our undivided attention to a friend as they talk to us, instead of always feeling the underlying urge to check our phone.

The second quote in this album was also from Aristotle: “Hope is a waking dream.” I really enjoyed the placement of this second quote because it contrasted the last quote by telling the listener never to give up hope. We can control the technology, we must learn how to control ourselves, and we will also control our technology in the process.

The album continues in this same way, with the beat picking up and more quotes being said from time to time. One of the most prominent moments for me was the quote by Aristotle that says, “He who is to be a good ruler must has first been ruled,” which I also thought tied nicely in with the theme of technology ruling our minds.

The record begins to wrap up with a track called “Repurification,” in which running water flows and the sounds of purity give the listener a break to process what they have just heard.

The album ends with a seven-minute call to arms , a beginning of the end, where we can finally reflect on the steps we must take in order to become a more functioning society, a society not ruled by the things we create.

Overall, the album was mesmerizing and it gave me time to pause and think in depth about what I spent my time doing. Technology is taking over the world and it’s slightly alarming, and I’m glad this album opened up that conversation and allowed me to think about its consequences.