You are on the precipice of the ultimate unknown. You are the pulse of doubt in a scientist’s brain. You are standing in the ashes of a world you once cherished. You are unsure if you are human anymore. The Man That Time Forgot blooms these ideas into interstellar color, crafted with equal parts ambition and heart by Radiolarian, moniker for solo artist Gordon Ashby. Ashby, fascinated by the advancements of modern science, as well as the sprawling world of science fiction, crafts an experience that takes its cues from some of the most engrossing sci-fi stories of all time. By blending our current societal unrest with unbridled imagination, Radiolarian cultivates an experience that feels at once like an escape and a twisted mirror held up to our own reality.
“There are moments where you feel good and you can escape and feel normal and then there’s an underlying anxiety under everything. That’s kind of how life has felt these last couple of years.” Ashby says, describing the threads of unease that run through the record, which remains unpredictable from beginning to end. The Man That Time Forgot is lush and melodic, glimmering with textures and driving beats that make up Ashby’s diverse palette. His creative intuition guides the listener through the twists and turns of a faraway (or not so far away) world, while his voice shines with emotive charisma, making it difficult to believe this is Ashby’s first earnest venture as the primary songwriter, producer, and engineer for a project.
A life-long Portlander, Ashby cut his teeth in the local music scene by cycling the house show circuit in a variety of projects, though never as a front-person. Around 2017, circumstance led Ashby to embark on the path towards becoming a solo musician, and he soon became determined to write and record the forthcoming EP The Man That Time Forgot. For Ashby, who would go on to single-handedly play, record, and mix every piece of the record, it was an unprecedented task that partners, in spirit, with humanity’s maiden voyage into space.
The Man That Time Forgot, the debut EP from Radiolarian, delivers us into and out of danger like a good novel, opening doors to unanswerable questions and conversations that feel fresh to the world of indie rock. It was written, engineered, and mixed by Gordon Ashby in Portland, OR, and mastered at Atomic Mastering in Salem, OR.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the single “Posthumanism,” a track that unfolds entirely within the receding mind of a humanoid character: a man who has been genetically modified against his will until he does not know what he is any longer. With a frenetic melange of sci-fi meets surf rock meets post-punk, the song showcases stabbing, windy guitar alongside a creative mix of electronic effects to make for a sound that is both dark and spacey. Ashby’s voice drifts over it all in an ethereal kind of way, bringing to mind Thom Yorke but with more of a punk energy. Spooky synths and a throbbing bass groove keep the song traversing wild terrain and Ashby builds up his vocals into a final blast of jagged guitar.
Gordon Ashby describes the inspiration behind the song:
“Posthumanism” is heavily inspired by the Hyperion Cantos, a science fiction series by Dan Simmons. In the series, there is a society that chose to embrace technology and genetic modification in order to abandon terrestrial life and adapt to a nomadic life in space. Over centuries in zero gravity, these genetic modifications as well as natural adaptations essentially resulted in an entirely new human species separate from those that remained on Earth or on other planets. Although just a subplot in the books, I found this concept very interesting to ponder and it inspired themes across the entirety of ‘The Man That Time Forgot’ EP.
Musically, “Posthumanism” was taking on a sinister tone and I wanted that to be reflected lyrically as well. Drawing from my interest in the concepts from the Hyperion Cantos, an outline for a story started coming together in my head. I like to think of it as being somewhat like a prologue to an unwritten novel. The song explores the inner monologue of an individual forced into genetic modifications, merging with machinery, becoming increasingly digital, and pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human. Those modifications lead the character to long outlive his creators and, indeed, humanity as we know it. Left with only the company of his own thoughts until a new civilization emerges, he becomes ‘The Man That Time Forgot.’
Photo credit: Drew Death