Nanaimo psychedelic rock duo pay tribute to Egyptian philosopher on new EP – Nanaimo News Bulletin
A 5th-century Egyptian scholar murdered for involvement in a political conflict is the subject of the psychedelic rock duo Nanaimo Anunnaki’s latest album.
In AD 415, Hypatia was a prominent pagan philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer. She was also an advisor to the Roman governor of Alexandria, Orestes, who was arguing with the city’s bishop, Cyril. After rumors circulated that she was interfering in the conflict, she was killed by a Christian mob.
Over 1,600 years later, Anunnaki – bassist Dave Read of local band Moths and Locusts and drummer Arlen Thompson of Wolf Parade – pays homage to Hypatia on their eighth album, Martyrdom of Alexandria.
“She is one of those early philosophers who was ultimately murdered for her beliefs, findings, and ideas about science at the time, which began to clash with the most zealous religious people in the community.” Thompson said. “So I thought it was an interesting idea. We have these thematic aspects in our music, so I just wanted to weave a little bit of narrative into the structure of the song.
On October 8, Anunnaki unveils Martyrdom of Alexandria during a CD launch concert at Queen’s, with the group of Nanaimo Behaviors and Victoria’s High Arctic. Thompson said it was Anunnaki’s first “official show” in a year and a half.
Martyrdom of Alexandria is composed of three instrumental pieces. The EP opens to Golden Gate of the Sun, which refers to an architectural feature of temples whose entrances are said to be built facing the sun. Thompson said the second song, Cyril the Fanatic, portrayed the Bishop as “a menacing and menacing figure, that religious fanatic who is threatened by the knowledge of Hypatia because it upsets the order”. The closing piece, Cries of Hypatia, depicts the fall of the philosopher.
Aside from drums and bass, Thompson and Read play an array of synths on the EP and all tracks are improvised and recorded live. Also heard on the EP is the voice of 20th century Canadian mystic Manly P. Hall, whom Thompson calls a “scholar of ancient knowledge” and an influence on EP.
“Our songs are usually not like verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus. It’s more about developing the feeling using certain themes and movements, ”Read explained. “It’s more of a jazz-type way of thinking. There is improvisation in there, but it is not totally invented. We know what we’re going to get into and we know what we want to accomplish.
Martyrdom of Alexandria is available here.
WHAT’S NEW… Anunnaki performs at Queen’s, 34 Victoria Cres., On October 8. Doors at 10 p.m., show starts at 10:45 p.m. Tickets $ 10 at the door before 11 p.m., $ 15 after 11 p.m.
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