This album has roots in my early years of visiting the observatory in Sunriver, Oregon with my Dad. Looking through the telescopes and seeing the moons of Jupiter with my own eyes had a profound effect on my understanding of who and where I was. It slowly came to me that it would actually be possible to stand on those moons. The ice on Europa is real; it would hold you up. And if stood there and looked up, the sky would be filled with the swirling storms of Jupiter's upper clouds. The planet would be surrounded by blackness.
Though these thoughts inspire awe, they begin to chill your bones as you move farther away from the sun. Temperatures plunge. There is no air to breathe. Radiation is immense. Standing upon Neptune's moon Triton, the sun would begin to resemble the rest of the stars as you faded into the nothing.
Voyager two took one of the only clear images we have of Neptune. I don't believe we were meant to see that kind of image. Unaided our eyes are only prepared to see the sun, the moon, and the stars. Looking into the blue clouds of the last planet you cannot help but think of the black halo of space that surrounds the planet and extends forever.
I cannot un-see those images. They have become a part of human consciousness. They are the dawn of an unnamed religion. They are more powerful and more fearsome than the old God. In a sense, they are the very face of God. And perhaps we were not meant to see such things.
This album was my feeble attempt to make peace with the blackness. The immense cold that surrounds and beckons us all. Our past and our future.
The album closes with an image of standing amidst Pluto’s Norgay Mountains. These peaks extend 20,000 feet of solid ice into thin atmosphere. Evening comes early in the mountains. There is no Earth. On this final planet we face the decision of looking back toward Earth or moving onward into the dark.