The Fearsome Isle was initially inspired by the work, The Fearsome Island, by Albert Kinross, who claimed to have appropriated it from, Silas Fordred, Master Mariner of Hythe. It is a tale of shipwreck on an uncharted island replete with supernatural entities and events, a dangerous mystical castle, and more eldritch things to get into the mind just before a long evening of nightmaring.… the garbled heavily treated voice that dresses some of this auditory dish is, Ruth Golding, narrating the tale penned by Kinross. You can find the original recording on Librivox.org.
I love old tales of times past, and thus I drew from the imagery that the story presented, focusing on the unease, the constant vigilance, the feeling of something not quite right…. and removed it to another place, another time. Whether this place is a worldly location hidden somewhere on the seas of this Earth, some other world in another backwater of our cosmos, or an otherworldly realm glimpsed while scrying the reposed liquid black character glistening on the fluid of the soul, I leave deciding such matters to the listener.
In truth, as is so often the case with these things, the short composition but hints at the stories therein. A story such as this can be repurposed, rearranged, lengthened, abbreviated, and generally applied to a variety of tellings, each more fantastic, or mundane, than the last, building to a crescendo of suspense and myriad endings. My initial inclination was to summarize the work as a whole, and create an overview that touched on the characters, the motivations, and the backstory of the place itself. It was not to be, at least not right now….
Instead, I kept circling back to the introduction of my sonic investigations, almost like trying to capture only the damp of a cave and nothing else. Maybe it’s more of a signpost on the road to some oblivion one is not yet aware of, but whatever its constituent parts or lack thereof, it became about the setting of the scene. The tale as scribed by Kinross became a glimpse into possibility, and for this piece, that became my desire, to set the stage for entering another realm, another plane of existence, not simply another story but a plethora of stories piled high on a mule train of giant worms. Without venturing too far inland, there are shapes, vague impressions of possibilities grown fat with their own potential, yet none so distinct as to demand attention at this primordial juncture. It is standing on the precipice and looking down. The vertigo of this moment whirled about as the vastness of what might be hammered my frail psyche with promises of indiscrete oblivion. It seemed important to simply stand and look without the need to define, categorize, or otherwise attempt to make sense of what I saw, to guess at what could be there…. but also to be wary of traps unseen, of cloying scents and titillating visions, of siren songs and the ignis fatuus, for a misstep at the threshold might cage one’s soul for an eternity on The Fearsome Isle.