Out Of Mind - the fourth album from Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate, London-based prog rock band recommended by Steve Hackett (Genesis). The album is themed around memory.
Memory is central to our sense of self, and the narrative continuity of our being, but is fragile, malleable, and unreliable. Coded in the synapses in a manner still mysterious, the universes modelled in each of our brains contains ourselves as the central character. We don’t fully understand how memory works, but we know that, however it may feel, memory is not stored like a videotape, consistently and objectively documenting our perceptions. Memory is a creative process, re-assembled and altered with each recollection.
This album is about memory and identity, from a variety of perspectives. It starts with ‘Coming Back’, inspired by Philp K Dick’s wonderful novel Time Out Of Joint. Without wishing to spoil the story, the protagonist finds that the 1950s American town within which he thinks he lives, is artificial. He has retreated into this world to hide from himself the responsibilty of his real life. As one of the characters says ‘what happens if he becomes sane again?’. In this take on the story the protagonist is scared not that the truth is being hidden from him, but that the truth is coming back to him.
A recurrent sub-text through the album is the question, if our memories change, then who do we become? Are we defined by our memories? Track 11 (The Electric Ant) is also based on a Philip K Dick story. This time someone attending a hospital is surprised to be told that they are not human, but an electric ant (although apparently identical to a human from the outside). Their chest is opened and the punched tape that defines their world and self is revealed. The PKD original is admittedly less cheerful than our version. The ant finds they can change their universe by altering their tape.
Dick also is honoured in 'If You Think This Would Is Bad You Should See Some Of The Others', an instrumental whose title is based on a PKD quote.
The last conscious entity drifting towards the heat death of the universe reflects on the inevitable loss of memory as it disintegrates in ‘I Miss The Stars’.
’Losing myself’ is from the perspective of someone trapped in a mind degenerating due to dementia.
‘When I Was A Ship’ is also inspired by science-fiction, this time Ann Leckie’s ‘Imperial Radch’ trilogy. The main character once was a warship, whose artificial intelligence was distributed between the ship and the elements of her programme distributed into mind-wiped slaves (ancillaries). She has was programmed to unquestioningly follow her orders, but different factions of clones of her master are secretly at war with each other, leading to the destruction of all aspects of her self other than one fragment in a single ancillary.
'De Humani Corporis Fabrica' (on the fabric of the human body) was the title of Andreas Vesalius's ground-breaking anatomy book. Published in 1543, it challenged established doctrines that had been accepted since Galen. Vesalius taught that we should challenge accepted knowledge where it doesn't fit with reality.
‘Stand Up’ is about those who twist history to promote hatred.
The last track of the album is ‘Lidice’. Named after the Czech mining village destroyed by the Nazis, deliberately killing 88 children and 252 adults. They wanted the village to be wiped from history. In response to the worst acts of inhumanity, we sometimes find the best of humanity. A group of coal miners in a mining village in Staffordshire, led by their local doctor, Barnett Stross, set up the organisation Lidice Shall Live. The community donated a day's wage each week to fund the rebuilding of the village after the war. Hitler wanted the name Lidice to be forgotten - he failed. This song is dedicated to the memory of all those who have been killed because of their origins, and all those who stood in solidarity.
For detailed information about the songs and lyrics, please visit www.hatsoffgentlemen.com/outofmind
Praise for HOGIA's last album -
Bandwagon Network Radio CD Of the Month July 2018 "I feel as if I am being taken upon a journey of massive proportion. A work of Progressive Rock that is, in my opinion, second to none." “Vent” starts the whole journey of this masterpiece off and goes straight into the absolute perfection of the song, “Almost Familiar”, and to be quite honest, this is progressive music at its finest! Every subtle keyboard tone is felt deeply as the music swirls and sways throughout. The vocals here truly fit the lyrical compositions and I can’t say enough about the fluid bass guitar jazz influenced runs, the vocals, and drumming."
"On top of all of this is the beautiful flute work and the stellar guitar that just soars throughout the 17 tracks contained within. A lot can be said of structure within a piece of music, and every track on “Broken but Still Standing” is just structured perfectly."
"The vocals remind me so much of Bowie at his finest. I must say that I am completely blown away. I aluded to a comparison of Pink Floyd near the beginning of this review, but I will say that, without a shadow of doubt, Hats Off Gentlemen It’s Adequate is in a league of their own! My hat is off to all of you in the band for creating this masterpiece!"
Jupiter Variation - "One of the best progressive releases of the year"
Prog Radar - "Broken But Still Standing’ is a brilliantly perceptive and original work of art that enthralls with every listen. Taken as a whole it is an utterly immersive musical experience that will captivate and enlighten the listener, Hats Off Gentlemen Its Adequate has to be one of the most creative and innovative artists out there today."