ARJEN LUCASSEN Would Love Guest Appearances From David Gilmour, Geddy Lee, Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Plant On AYREON Album

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Arjen Lucassen secured a stack of big prog names for his latest Ayreon album The Theory Of Everything, released today, including Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Hackett and John Wetton.

But he admits there are several more world-class artists he’d like to secure in the future – even though he’s pretty sure it will never happen.

Lucassen tells Metal Express: “There are really huge names I’ll probably never get. Dave Gilmour, Geddy Lee, Ritchie Blackmore, Robert Plant.”

The Theory Of Everything features four songs split into 42 tracks – and the number is in keeping with the concept of the record’s storyline. Hear the title track below.

“I watch a lot of science documentaries on TV – Morgan Freeman and Stephen Hawking stuff,” Lucassen says. “At one point they were talking about the ‘Theory of Everything’ and it just sounded like an Ayreon title. It sounded so big and pretentious, which is synonymous with Ayreon, so I wanted to do something with that.”

The original plan was to have four tracks, but when he played the album to his “circle of trust” several of them told him that trying to listen to a series of pieces over 20 minutes in length was like “climbing a mountain.” That gave him the idea to tie in 42, the number linked to the meaning of life, the Universe and everything in Douglas Adams’ The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy novels.

“They said, ‘Whoa, four 20-minute tracks is a lot; maybe you should subdivide them,’” he recalls. “I thought it might be a good idea – it doesn’t change anything in the music, and it helps people if they want to skip through and find a Keith Emerson solo or whatever. So I split them and it came to 39 tracks, then I thought it would be cool to have an album called The Theory of Everything and have 42 tracks. I couldn’t resist it.”

The storyline revolves around a scientist searching for the eponymous theory, and failing. He realises his autistic son’s mental abilities can help him – but only if he’s given a dangerous drug which has serious side-effects.

Surprisingly, the entire double-album of material came out of the simple leading riff; and it was a surprise for Lucassen too. He explains: “Usually I wait until I have about 50 little ideas. I record them then I go into the studio and choose the best ones.

“This time I did it differently – I didn’t feel like waiting for that. I went in with the first idea I had, which was the theme of the album. That’s all I had. I started working and recording; one part led into another, which led to another. I recorded it chronologically. Then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just written a song that’s 23 minutes.’ Then it happened again, and it resulted in four tracks of over 20 minutes.”

The Theory Of Everything is available in four different editions via InsideOut: 2CD, 2CD/2 vinyl, 2CD/DVD media book and limited edition 2CD/2DVD luxury art book. The extended editions include interviews, a documentary and time-lapse footage of the recording sessions.

Read more in the new Prog, out Wednesday October 30.

(source Prog Magazine)

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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