During the writing process of the album ‘Inner Sanctum’, from the initial guides all the way up to the finished masters, we noticed a common theme in the feedback from our listeners. We heard again and again it was a very ‘visual’ experience for them. It triggered imagery, sceneries, landscapes, and stories in their minds… Each listening experience being different from the rest.
On completion of the album we had a private listening session with a high profile industry contact and his advice was to take it to the next level and create a ‘world’ around our music. To write a story and develop images to accompany the music and eventually take it to stage as a full blown musical production.
After that meeting, we sat in a pub in Camden, London, trying to get our heads around this concept Where do we even start? Our music obviously meant many things to us visually and emotionally but was never written with this format in mind. Either way, we decided to take on this new creative challenge and see where we could take it, just as we had done with the music itself. Eventually, after brainstorming many settings and themes, we developed the script and visuals you will see below.
We choose the time period of the Moors as they were a civilisation based across Andalucía, South of Spain, that were very much connected to nature and held music and the arts in the highest regard within their society. The location we chose is Cadiz, as they resided there, but also is a place we both have a very strong personal connection too.
The tree is the perspective that we chose to tell this story through. The reference to the Spanish guitar, including the type of wood, is based mainly on factual events. For the visuals, our art designer immersed herself fully in the music and script theme, developing a collage of images each associated to each chapter.
Anyway, so this is our go at putting a story to the music in quite an unconventional way. We would love to hear your feedback on it. Even better still, have a go at writing your own story whilst experiencing the music. Send it to us and see if it could be used in regards to the musical production mentioned earlier. Everything is open at this stage.
We will also be creating animation videos for some of the musical pieces on ‘Inner Sanctum’ so if you are involved in art-visual design in any way and would like to be a part of our team please get in touch.
We strongly recommend listening to each track with it’s corresponding script chapter and visuals.
Enjoy your trip to the south,
During Moorish times, in a desolate sparse landscape, a dying cypress tree drops its last seeds onto the infertile ground below. Fast changing cloud formations signal a change in the weather and a light Mediterranean breeze turns into a gust picking up one of the seeds and sweeping it up into the air. It travels aimlessly over the Mediterranean coast along Cadiz, in southern Spain.
As it descends upon this sacred land that for centuries has been conquered by many, coastal birds rejoice and sing, excited for this new life form.
Softly dropping into the moist ground on the solitary Cadiz hill it is embraced by untouched nature, overlooking the clear calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea…
The seed has eventually come to rest…
The natural process of absorbing its surroundings begins and the seed starts extracting nutrients from the ancient soil below, bringing it to life. Leaves start flourishing from its stems and bows to its first fresh sunrise.
Raindrops caress its bark like ‘sweet nectar’, and for the first time the tree dances with the wind. The Mediterranean sunset air whispers upon its soft tender skin. Insects and animals start to respond to the tree’s presence.
As seasons pass, the young tree conquers this barren land where few have survived before.
The young tree begins to hear an inner voice and becomes aware of its consciousness…
Teenage lovers escape from social restrictions and prying eyes, looking for their private Inner Sanctum. Against the comfort of this unnamed tree they meet to share their affection as the deep orange sun sets over the mesmerising coastal sea.
They carve their love with pride, in the shape of a heart and within their initials, onto the tree’s skin. This is the tree’s first introduction to human love and the pain that often comes with it.
‘’One night, whilst my lovers were in an intimate embrace, a lonely bark came from the distance. A curious dog came to them to find love and shelter. It settled by their side and from then on it became part of their circle of affection’’
“Every week they returned and I shared how their love developed. I became attached to their special bond”
A strong storm stirs up the calm Mediterranean waters and turns the waves into a raging fury. Weather becomes violent, a rare occurrence on the south coast of Spain. The waves smash the rocks and wind tears away at the bare unsheltered trees.
“Floating birds that welcomed me were shaken as I could feel from my branches they sensed danger. They flew away into the darkness.’’
‘’This coldness I had not felt before. A furious wind ripped through my limbs, as I tried to resist intensely. It was overwhelming at first to the point of submission but after some time I learnt to bend with the wind and accept and rejoice in this natural force.’’
’I felt sea water splashing over my bark. This water was hurtful, not like the sweet nectar that usually feeds me from below”
The sea water hardens the bark, and so the tree is weathered over several seasons.
Over time, settlers relocate to the village and civilization starts to encroach across the surrounding natural landscape. For many years this isolated land, over which the lonely tree has watched, starts to flourish.
“There are changes in my close environment. I feel the ground shifting and witness human growth around me as well as others of my kind.”
“I start noticing more human life moving in my environment. Young humans come to play around me and life starts blooming everywhere like I have never witnessed before.”
“I welcome the birds who are building homes within my branches and witness their growing families. Their song moves me.”
During a calm evening a tragic event falls upon the village. There is mass mourning and an unsettling silence present across the land. The tree feels, deep in its roots, a harrowing sense of despair.
“From the horizon I saw a dark silhouette coming towards me. I eventually recognized the figure, he was one of the lovers that sat beneath my boughs. He was carrying the other in his arms. He laid her down gently, her hair dangling lifelessly, at the foot of the carving where they fell in love. On his knees, weeping, he caressed their initials upon my skin. With his touch I felt an overwhelming sense of sorrow and despair.’’
‘’He started digging closely into my earth. I could feel it in my roots. He placed a strange symbol next to it and laid her inside. Is he trying to connect her to me? Will she grow again from the ground like I did? More humans will be planted, none will grow…”
The tree stretches itself as far as he can go over the lover to comfort him in his sorrow. The lover never returns.
She is gone but not to be forgotten.
As the population grows the demand for resources increases and the villagers head towards the close woodlands that have grown over the centuries. The onslaught has begun.
“My fellow trees are falling around me. A destruction is being brought upon my kind. I have no understanding as to why this is happening, why they are doing this to us… Every time I witness these dark silhouettes surrounding my kind we fall.”
“I see them approaching across the horizon. They start feeling me with their cold hands. Fear pierces my roots. All of a sudden, something rips through my core, pain, a cold sharp pain. As they tear parts of me away I cry through my wounds. My blood leaks and burns my skin.”
“I am this land and I resist being broken. I dig deeper, take a stronger hold and the humans do not overpower me. I am nature!’’
The villagers leave with their axes covered in resin but the tree remains standing.
The landscape has changed, the smell of dying nature runs through the air. While the cypress tree still stands, it is vulnerable and weak.
“The birds have returned and I feel them through my branches. They are knocking frenetically at my limbs… I feel an urgency in their message, they are bringing me back into consciousness, the sun caressing me with its warmth. After the emptiness and loneliness there is still something within me that keeps me alive“.
“As I still stand on my sacred ground others have not survived the villagers attack. My kind are broken and cut down to their roots. The land is covered in their blood.”
“As time passes, I wake from the deepest of my sorrows with an inner strength I have never felt before. My new found strength comes from the will to live in tribute of keeping the legacy of my kind alive. I will wait for their return. Stronger and more secure than ever before. My sorrow is filtered out; I find my Inner Sanctum.”
“I have faith in the villagers still, as my lovers did not hurt me, not all humans create pain this way.”
The atmosphere turns tense. The wind drops… Nature takes refuge and runs for shelter. As large war ships approach, horns blasting across the land, an imminent catastrophe descends. Burning arrows fly. Houses turn to ash. All is ablaze.
“Within minutes I see the villagers running away, screaming, and fighting for their lives. Who are these new people that bring so much pain and suffering? I have felt my blood spill from the villager’s hands and now I am witnessing their own blood spill. The ground trembles in shock, breathing becomes a strain as smoke envelopes the land.”
“As night descends, the new people depart on their ships the same way they came, leaving a trail of despair. Young villagers lie lifeless around me. Many more humans are returned into the ground, as I witnessed with the lover.”
Many years have passed by. Over centuries, generations and wars have come and gone. Close by, two villagers are discussing the cypress tree that still overlooks the coastland. They have studied the tree carefully and come to the conclusion that it is one of the oldest cypress trees of its kind in southern Spain. It is over 700 years old and very rare.
“I cannot absorb nutrients and water as I used to. My skin is dropping and falling to the ground at my roots. I can no longer hold my branches high with pride, as I once did.”
“Two silhouettes approach me, but this time I do not have the strength to resist their harmful intentions. They stop beside me and feel my aged skin. Whilst they don’t understand how I am still standing proud, I feel the end is near. As I draw my last breath and drink from my beloved sacred Cadiz ground, my roots loosen, my branches drop, and I transcend.”
“As life leaves me I feel my body is being lifted from the ground with gentle hands and then physically re-shaped. A new sense of form and consciousness is present in me as a strange transformation occurs over my sacred Cadiz land.’’
During the sixteenth century renaissance, in Jerez de la Frontera, the capital of Cadiz, the noises of a Luthier carefully sanding and polishing a beautiful Spanish guitar echo through the sleepy streets.
The cypress tree that once overlooked the southern Mediterranean Sea is reaching the end of its transformation. The master Luthier has carefully selected the best quality cypress wood for the body of what is to become the first Spanish guitar.
Once the Spanish guitar is finished, this Luthier introduces this new instrument to a renowned Spanish composer. He hears the guitar and falls in love. It is the most beautiful enriching tone he has ever heard from a stringed instrument. The guitar sings with such a unique depth that the composer feels the guitar has already experienced a life of it’s own.
After over 700 years of history, the voice of the cypress tree can now be heard across the Andalucian land, in the hands of the Spanish guitarist.
The player connects with his own Inner Sanctum and the sound of the Spanish guitar is born…