Decoder – Dark Shape
In the year 2147, governments had been overthrown on an intergalactic scale, and Earth had been conquered by a mysterious alien force that had appeared in a large cube-like ship that people had begun to refer to as “The Shape”. Nothing goes in or out of the ship, although it had been broadcasting messages electronically in order to not only communicate, but also digitally take control of the human race. There were only small pockets of scientists, laborers, and executives left working with what little resources they had to make an effort to fight against The Shape.
Humans have always been extremely dependent on technology, and this made alien infiltration quite simple. It was uncharted waters for life on Earth as well, and there were no precautions or immediate measures taken to prevent the unsuspecting takeover. By the time most functioning governmental powers realized what had happened, they had already lost major forms of communication with the general public. Radio broadcast was one of the only remaining methods, although very few people owned a radio at this point in time. Some people were luckily tuned into these radios by chance, and were able to form small resistance camps in very remote parts of the world. But for the vast majority of people, these factors led to the creation of the “Dark Shape” era, a rather grim period of time for the human race; a time of digital authoritarianism.
Pretense is a track reminiscing the times before The Shape arrived. While it wasn’t the best of times due to many different ecological, economic, and political crises, it was still a period of time where having certain options and freedoms were basic rights, and people got along with each other for the most part. It also introduces the ideas of empathy and awareness, as this time of reflection gave humans perspective of what they had previously taken for granted; even basic things such as food, water, shelter, and community.
Hemolu was the name of one of the early successful missions that scientists worked on to help figure out how to make contact with the Shape. It was a heavily armed shuttle, in order to keep its occupants safe, as they traversed near the large foreign structures. It unfortunately got taken down, but not before collecting various different materials from a section of the ship that it managed to strike. With the resources they found, they discovered that a binding of dark matter fueled the ship and helped it sustain enormous blasts of energy, making it a large hub of power.
Intra is the main supercomputer aboard the ship that helps predict the succession of events based on their decisions and how they control humans. It is built on the fundamentals of quantum computers, where it simulates millions of different scenarios until it figures out what the best action to take is, with the least amount of probability and randomness affecting the outcome. It is a tremendous feat of science that aids the aliens in their conquest, but also one of the only flaws that could potentially lead to their demise, if humans figured out a way to use it against them.
Peel is a song reflective of the first x-rays and thermal scans that humans captured to learn how The Shape operated, and what the inner workings were composed of. After many trials and close calls, they were able to figure out that the inside was structured in a series of floors parallel to the face of the cube they were on, with a conjunction in the middle where the “Intra” supercomputer was located. However, upon thermal imaging, they found no sentient life forms actually aboard the ship. This was able to tell scientists that the supercomputer was what was truly operating The Shape, and that the supposed “alien force” was not something living and breathing. It let them know that this reign of terror was not purely out of malice, and that it was merely a computer’s desire to keep pushing its boundaries. The only catch was that someone with access to all this technology and information programmed the computer to perform such tasks, making it just as much of an alien object as it previously was considered. The layered structures of the cube’s inner workings led them to title their discoveries the “Peel” project, as it was the first breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of the shape.
20 years had now passed since project Peel, and scientists on Earth finished the first prototype of a hardware solution to eradicating The Shape. They called their machine “ROM”, which translated to Reactive Onsite Monitor, and aimed to detect the effects of the dark matter that fueled the ship and rechannel it in order to bypass the ship’s core energy source and attack the supercomputer. Because dark matter isn’t visible, it achieved this by “feeding” regular matter from the Earth (mainly decay of large metropolitan areas in order to preserve what wildlife was left) to combat the effects of dark matter and shield themselves from any excess debris in the process.
Warping Mechanisms was the final effort made by the Intra supercomputer in an attempt to stop ROM from making a breakthrough, by reassembling the innards of the ship in an almost labyrinthic style. It is the culmination of millions of scenarios devised by Intra to get the best results and regain control over the ship’s energy source. However, due to random probability factors that it hadn’t accounted for, it was only able to put a temporary hold on the ROM machine and counteract its efforts, but not eradicate it entirely.
Mordal was the last manned shuttle that scientists sent to the Shape, as a desperate attempt to destroy Intra for good. Thanks to the ROM bypassing the dark matter field, it allowed the shuttle to enter with relative ease, and begin to navigate its way through the maze-like insides of the ship. Eventually finding itself nearing Intra, the onboard attendants prepared to launch its remaining projectiles towards the core while attempting to find an efficient escape route. Unfortunately, finding an escape route that would carry the crew to safety was highly improbable, and those on board were aware that there was practically no chance they would survive. While they did not make it out of the Shape, their contributions to the discoveries of The Shape proved to be immensely useful.
The title track Dark Shape is The Shape’s final message upon Intra being destroyed. It reveals through electronic broadcasting that its creator was of human descent on Earth, and was born in the year 5004. The purpose of sending The Shape back through time to take over, according to the message, was simply that there needed to be a source of destruction and oppression that rekindled curiosity and pushed the limits of current scientific knowledge in order to preserve the human race. There needed to be a source so powerful that it resulted in immediate action and a constant search for answers and adaptability. This was the only way humans could be able to escape extinction, as they had reached a point of comfort in life where not much growth was occurring. While the many tragedies people faced throughout the Dark Shape era caused lots of suffering, the destruction of The Shape was only proof that humans would go on to live for much longer than ever anticipated.
The final track, Before, is an ode to the start of a new frontier for the path of humanity, and was a way for the last surviving humans to declare that they were going to begin rebuilding the new world not on a system of money and greed, but knowledge and exploration instead. Looking forward from “before-times”, a new civilization was born that constantly advocated for curiosity and questioning the unknown, in order to maintain a level of adaptability to help humans thrive for centuries to come.
Overall, Dark Shape is a story about how we can be our own greatest threat, even with the best of intentions in mind. It speculates topics that are currently being looked at even today, such as quantum computing, dark matter, and alien life. However, even in the pursuit of knowledge for the greater good, we must ask ourselves whether or not our curiosity will propel us forward in terms of growth or hold us back…
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Data size (full album): 44.1kHz 24bit wav: approx 781MB / mp3: approx 109MB