The Implications of As The Leaves
Deciduous Intent's signature sound can almost be attributed to its lack of identity. Drawing from dozens of sources, in and out of the musical world, their range includes the Baroque Period all the way up to the modern techniques of computer generated sound synthesis typical of the Hip-Hop and Techno genres. The resultant blend is both familiar and foreign to new listeners, but characterizing Deciduous Intent as polygenric fails to describe it in any meaningful way.
Their mantra, embedded in their name, is manifest in their music both obviously and startlingly. The opening track, Metropolis Dawn, opens with an earthen feel, modernizing with every subsequent generation of the chord sequence, climaxing at a sense of industrialization not recognizable by its beginning only a few short minutes earlier. Here the context is obvious, but not necessarily the message. Is this commentary for or against the perceived modernization, or is it relegated to mere observation?
In the second trilogy the conceptual arcs are both complete and yet unresolved, fueling the debate concerning its central figures. What is at stake? What are they warring over in the "Barbed Garden"? The only substantial conclusion by the second trilogy's end is that its two central figures are killed off, the piano only reemerging at the coda of the third trilogy, leaving a bitter aftertaste to an otherwise satisfying conclusion. If the conspicuous "turnings" in As The Leaves have unclear symbolism, perhaps the secret ones are transparent in interpretation. Deciduous Intent's vow of silence concerning its own work sheds no light on the matter.
Even their track titles contribute to the album's aura of mystery. Four of the titles could be construed as homonymic of an alternate meaning, and yet it is not obvious enough to be regarded as intentional. The track title "Prelude to the Inevitable" presents a riddle of logic in and of itself. Can something that is inevitable have a prelude? Or can the prelude be concluded after the fact? Theoretically an event can be considered not inevitable up until a certain moment, at which point it becomes inevitable. Is this prelude before, during, or after this supposed point? Or is bassist Menesar Cautrusse's hints of fatalism a clue, suggesting a belief of everything as inevitable? If so, how can everything that ever was have a prelude?
So-called Intentologists have spawned innumerable theories regarding As The Leaves' characters, story arcs, and significance, but have refused to reach any level of universal agreement. Members of Deciduous Intent have commented on several occasions that the interpretive work being done on their masterpiece is "not worth the effort".
And while this decree of time wasted may be a stoke to their cultish followers, it is hardly inaccurate. Their medium, after all, is music, and its listener must enjoy the music first before appreciating it. That of course, is an individual's journey.
Mercury Fellow, Estemberg Literary Society
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