When format is mentioned in connection with music, it usually means either the recording media (LP / CD / cassette / etc.), or the musical style (rock / alternative / country / etc.). But here multiple formats means the available communication routes.
Rock music has become a multi-media art form, communicating through songs, albums, song sequence, liner notes, album artwork, hypertext, websites, album sequence, sheet music books, videos, concerts, CD/ROM, even T-shirts and fan clubs. Though the song is still the core, it no longer stands alone.
The structure of Mirror Covenant might seem odd from the traditional band perspective. Yet we believe our band structure is well positioned to utilize the vast technological and artistic changes that have occurred since the 'codification' of the rock band structure during the 1960's. We have been guided by this vision of art since 1980; before the IBM PC was even on the market.
A major aspect of this change is the increase in the quantity of information communicated, which translates directly into the problem of having enough to say.
The typical rock band has reacted to this expansion by using the multiple formats to foster a personality cult by selling the band members, making rock music more closely resemble a commercial for underarm deodorant than an art form.
A defining aspect of Mirror Covenant is to use these formats to communicate multi- dimensionally, providing a sort of depth perception to the art. This ties into what the poet John Keats called "loading every rift with ore". These various media formats provide opportunities for the band to 'say' things that cannot be communicated through any single format.
Songs are arranged in a particular order to enhance their meaning, since on an album they must be presented in a sequence, considered or not. This sequence of songs, done properly, produces a concept album having a meaning greater than the sum of the songs.
Liner notes explain the basic aspects of this concept. Albums are sequenced to form a series that communicates Big Picture meanings. Videos show the message in ways words and music cannot. Concerts come to resemble theater. Web pages provide explanations and references about the songs, album concept, and series message, and in fact become an art form all their own.
In short, every communication method becomes a coordinated tool for communicating the world-view of the band.
Which returns to the band having something to say.
Juvenile lust and the urge to party are too shallow for intense examination. A great merit of the multiple format approach will be to heap scorn upon the empty-headed screaming rock and roll star. A good pout will not cut it, nor will lyrics that sound profound precisely because they mean nothing.
A huge benefit of explaining things the way we do in the website is that it sets us free. There has long been a tension between art that communicates because it is simple, but dull, and art that is fascinating but obscure to the point where it fails to communicate.
The web site descriptions remove that tension. We can "load every rift with ore" yet still communicate because we explain the layers of meaning. One odd aspect is that this happens most dramatically regarding the videos. If you have looked at the way we describe the songs and albums, you know we try not to do anything by accident. So when you see some connotation in the video, you can reasonably believe we did it deliberately. The irony is that we will probably not offer much explanation of the videos on our website. As the audience you need to do some of the work.
“In the case of stereoscopic vision, it is the very difference between the right and left picture that makes for the acquisition of a whole dimension, that is, the three-dimensional space over against the two-dimensional plane. To be sure, there is a precondition. The retinas must be capable of arriving at the fusion of the different pictures!”
”What holds true of vision is also true of cognition. The challenge
is how to attain, how to maintain, and how to restore a unified concept
of man in the face of the scattered data, facts, and findings supplied
by a compartmentalized science of man.”