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A Spirit has fled its own body and a life of world fame as a performing escape artist along with it. Now, drifting along with no physical sensation it searches for meaning in a place without form known as the INTER.

INTER is an ongoing, serialized story told through weekly music and sporadic comics releases.

INTER will launch June 21 with music produced by Ogi.

Throughout the entirety of INTER this newsletter will update every Wednesday along with new music or comics releases, with the exception of breaks in the schedule. Each entry will lead with important news for anyone only interested in the announcement of new releases, followed by the occasional ramblings or news of unrelated projects from myself or collaborators below.

Where to find INTER updates:

Music will update every Wednesday.
Comics will be announced as necessary.

INTER is presented by Microfome and will include multiple collaborators as the story progresses.

With that out of the way...

                       (art by Rachel Ang)

I've wanted to do this for some time, tell an ongoing story in music without the confines of the usual running time of a single album. The limits of a format offer their own challenges and insights, but I wondered what would come of a more open ended project, something that allows for wandering and dwelling in a moment. As attention spans with music releases shorten, as do our expectations of the immediate availability of stories, it caused me to wonder: What would a modern musical epic poem sound like? And how could a long form work be stretched out to feel like an actual journey?

Growing up on serialized media like comics, cartoons, TV shows, there was something about that timeless nature that played the routine of weekly/monthly installments against the unpredictability of stories not contained to a set end date. Whether it was a sitcom that started and ended with the characters in roughly the same place every episode, the endless myths of superheroes, or radio dramas, each long running story had a certain reality of its own, a world that didn't always require absolute investment, a completionist binge watch, or a grasp of anything outside of what the story provided.

To fall into the rhythm of the serial is to be provided a frame for periods of life, or even instead a place outside of time. A relevant guide or an escape. The best part is, they existed in the world as pieces to be discovered, possibly out of order. The missing issue of a comic book at a garage sale, a chance encounter with a rerun of a previously unseen episode. These worlds existed with or without me, but they were always there waiting for my return if and when I chose, and the best of them still reward being read or watched in their entirety.

In terms of music, concept albums can also create their own world, one that can be stepped into at will, that maintains its own sort of internal logic, and though they're generally bound to a more rigid time span like movies, poetic storytelling, and particularly stories written to music, still hints towards a looser relationship with time through the repetition of music and rhyme/rhythm. The language of poetry and hip hop is able to circumvent logic for the sake of feeling or sound. It's something that music and poetry have in common with comics as well. A moving image or a train of thought is offered in fragments of the sequence, and how much is communicated between one frame to the next or one idea to the next relies on how well the unique language of this world makes itself known.

How all of these combine is the great question here, and the core of this work. INTER is an epic poem constructed in (nearly) real time, one that incorporates both a visual language and spoken language in comics and music. It's just as much of a serialized experience to me writing as I go as it is to anyone listening, and I'm hoping this is true for the talented people collaborating with me on this too.

INTER seeks to push against any limitations of form while sticking within the mediums of music and comics. Maybe some interesting answers will arise through the evolving story, but what compels me is process, the act of doing, starting the train without stops in mind. I'm welcoming anyone to join along for the ride, or come and go how you see fit.

As for the story itself, there isn't much I want to say here. The driving idea is discovery and experimentation, and I'll be sticking with that til the thing is done. There is an end in mind, specific plot points and ground the story will cover. A certain amount is done to varying degrees, and the further down the line it goes the more of a rough state it's in. Beyond this it's free to grow and carry the immediacy of something figuring itself out along the way.

INTER directly follows no Matic, an album about a world famous escape artist who decided to separate his spirit from his body in an effort to get out of a stifling performance contract. INTER stands alone as a tale of the wandering Spirit, while the album no Matic and the comic The Amazing Vanishing Man add an optional texture and a more tangible frame of reference, if that's what you're into.

Let's see where it takes us!


Daniel Johnson

Melbourne, Victoria