Official Hive Mind Playlist (20 videos): Some songs have no moving video so you will have plenty of time over the course of the next hour and 41 minutes to scroll down and read the accompanying text. Between my songs, discussions by third parties on some of the relevant topics are interspersed in the playlist for context on some of the more obscure topics that come up in the lyrics. Enjoy!
The journey starts out where the Harbor City Meltdown left off. After spending two years in the cities of the Northeastern USA, Kevin wrote a concept album that explores the collective consciousness of the BosWash mega-city, focusing on ways the city operates like a human brain or a quantum computer, often comparing the inhabitants to bees in a hive. In this introductory track, Kevin suggests, for example, that the city communicates collectively through its continuous output of music and art, and that the city has feedback loops that repair broken elements of its networks, not unlike neural networks in the brain. If the city could speak, what would it say? The rest of the album answers that question, narrated and sung in four voices representing the four forces that make the city tick, i.e. self-organization, reason, empathy and the drones. In the title track, pay attention for the reference to Schrödinger's cat. Also note that all four voices interact together in this song.
In the background, the Voices of the Drones simply repeat the phrase "Pods on the Bus," while the Voice of Empathy laments the monotony in the lives of the city's workers, who serve primarily to produce their shares of output for the hive. The song compares the public transportation system of the city to a respiratory system, that inhales workers in the morning and exhales them in the evening after they've been spent. Kevin also makes a statement about "headphone culture," noting that the riders of the bus fail to cease the opportunity to communicate and interact with one another on the bus, and choose instead to remain in their own world, streaming music and pod-casts directly into their brains.
Featured on the reality television program "Relative Race," this song describes the interaction of two drones from different hives (one Kevin from BosWash, and the other Jane from Bangkok). With verses sung by the Voice of Reason that describe how Kevin and Jane met on a train platform in Beacon, New York, while waiting for trains headed in opposite directions. In the freezing cold air, they shared a bench to keep warm while they waited an hour for their trains. Both knowing their interaction would remain anonymous as they were bound to return to their separate hives, they felt no inhibition to interact in a completely different way than the pods on the bus, rather sharing stories and the innermost aspects of their personalities and packing in as much connection and interactivity as possible in the short period of time, making for a positive, beautiful experience. In the chorus, the Voices of the Drones gleefully sing, "Waiting, waiting for the train!" but the Voice of Empathy laments, "Sadly, she was headed the other way."
In this song, the Voice of Self-Organization touts the complexity of our city's excretory system. It also serves to provide a handy recipe for smog. The Voices of the Drones and the Voice of Reason have different points of view with respect to pollution, expressed in other songs on the album, specifically "It All Comes Out" and "Sick Building Syndrome." While the concept of this album is generally steeped in quantum physics (in which Kevin holds a Bachelor's degree from MIT), there is also a heavy focus on the environment, as Kevin was completing his LLM in Environmental Law throughout the time the songs were written, and the topics discussed in class clearly influenced the songwriting process.
Sung by the Voices of the Drones, they reveal that the name of their hive is BosWash, inspired by futurist George Fieraru, who in 1967 predicted that eventually a mega-city would span from Boston to Washington. Kevin argues that Fieraru's vision was accurate, although it paints an incomplete picture, as not only have the cities become interconnected, but its constituent people have become intertw
Act 2 ends on a lighter note, with a polka-party product endorsement. Megabus has emerged as the most cost-effective manner to travel large distances in the hive's expanse, allowing drones like Kevin who specialize in the field of live entertainment, to efficiently share his art at venues throughout the hive. As a result of the point-to-point model of the Megabus network, with many points on I-95 south of the hive, and elsewhere in the unbound territories, it draws many new ideas into the city. On the Megabus, Kevin, singing in the Voice of Reason, met a couple from Brazil who got on in Orlando, who wanted to see New York City first-hand, renowned as one of the farest of cities in the hive. Being unbound to the hive, the tourists were not hesitant to share their stories of life in the state of Bahia, thereby causing considerable wave equation collapse from both perspectives. This collapse results when observers in separate hives become partially bound by sharing information, triggering the process of increasing entropy that doesn't occur in unobserved states still superposed. Whenever you hear the Voice of Reason on this album, think wave equation collapse. The Voice of Reason always sings of real people and places personally observed.
Where to the drones go to drink? To the Buzz Barr, of course. From a guitar perspective, this is one of the most interesting songs on the album, as it is played in large part using touch-picked harmonics, one of Kevin's signature techniques. Its excessive use results in exhaggerating the imperfections of intonation in the USA Guitar, resulting in significant but functioning discordance. Fitting, for the song of the drunken drone. In Buzz Bar, the Voice of the Drone explains from his distorted frame of reference three interactions. The first is an encounter he observes between the bartender and a New York businessman, where the businessman who loathes his job states "It feels like a Monday," whereas the bartender who loves his profession responds, "It's a Wednesday." The drone ponders where he stands along the spectrum. The second encounter is between the bartender and a tourist, who chooses the "Brooklyn Ale" from a list of beers. Drunken drone smiles and has another sip. Isn't it funny how the tourist always chooses the "Brooklyn Ale," but as a resident of the hive, he's never tried it, as he's always chosen the more economical options. He wonders, what would it be like to leave the hive as a tourist? The final interaction is between the bartender and the drunken drone, where the drone asks to see the menu, thinking he might try something new, something a tourist would order. Then, he changes his mind and has the complimentary peanuts, when he realizes a Caesar salad costs $14.
This is the second in a trilogy of three environmentally inspired tracks on the album. This is the Voice of Reason's perspective on the environment, who while not offering an express solution, poignantly illustrates that under our current societal structure, economic growth and environmental sustainability are at odds. It is for this reason that Kevin included in his YouTube playlist a short discussion by Jacque Fresco, who offers a framework for one solution to the problem, i.e. a resource-based economy. While this may not be the most practical solution, at least people are beginning to attempt to find a solution. Hopefully, we will soon find and agree upon a workable solution, so that the city can continue to grow in complexity, prosperity and beauty for the foreseeable future, without impacting the natural environment upon which the hive relies, to the point where great suffering is brought about throughout the hive.
The verses of the song are narrated by the Voice of Reason who collapses the wave equations of real case studies of homeless individuals observed in the parks of Washington, DC, telling their unfortunate stories. In the pre-choruses, the Voices of the Drones begin by suggesting that the homeless are invisible, and that best practice is to make no eye-contact, a typical reaction of the city's workers. But then, the Voice of Empathy laments their suffering, reminding the drones that the People of the Park are as human and complex as any of the other inhabitants of the city, and deserve respect.
This song represents the opinions of the Voices of the Drones on the subject of the environment, i.e. the popular view. Focused on their personal economic situations, if the drones are concerned about the environment at all, they are typically narrowly concerned by the small impacts of pollution on their daily lives rather than the impacts to the Earth's natural systems upon which we depend. The human impact of indoor pollutants is real though, so the Voice of Empathy makes a brief appearance in the chorus to lament the suffering. Other viewpoints of the environment are expressed in "How Smog Is Made" and "It All Comes Out," in the previous Acts.
This will be the first single to be released from the album. It compares the way different BosWash component systems interact similarly to the interaction of waves in quantum physics. The song is sung in the Voice of Self-Organization, who as always, describes aspects of the city that increase in complexity and give the city life-like properties. The Voices of the Drones provide cheerful background vocals as the song celebrates some of the successful attributes of the living city. The Voice of Reason makes a brief appearance, collapsing the wave equations of some of the actual physical physical locations in the hive he has personally observed.
The last song on Kevin's prior "Harbor City Meltdown" album was a hint at what was to come in "Hive Mind," a song addressing physics concepts in a futuristic/sci-fi setting. Similarly, BLO is a glimpse at the type of content to appear on Kevin's planned 2019 release. BLO is the only song on the album in which the music was not written during the period of 2016-2017. The song is a re-purposed version of Kevin's early '90s band Descending Angel's song "You Made Me Cry." The original was recorded in 1993, sung by the band's female vocalist, and consisted of cliche lyrics typical of glam metal at the time. Kevin replaced the lyrics and female vocals with his own, and changed the theme of the song to address the evolving gender roles in the hive. The song is based on an actual event that occurred in 1993, where the talk-boxes of G.I. Joe and Barbie toys were switched as a prank and returned to stores, in response to Matel's manufacturing a Barbie that said things like "Math class is tough." The song relates the little-known prank and sets it in an alternate universe, where in BosWash, the protest brought about permanent and real change, forever ending gender bias. Dianne and Carla were to never again teach women that their roles were to serve beers to men like Norm. (The show was actually cancelled in 1993, but in no relation to this prank!) BosWash's systems are ever-evolving due to the force of self-organization, so while we have a long way to go even in 2018, Kevin finishes the album with a message that there is much hope for solving many of society's injustices in the New Year. But, of course, Kevin didn't really write any of these songs. They were self-assembled by the city that trained him, educated him, and influenced him over the course of his life, and thanks all those who have interacted with him. It is in fact the city of BosWash that brings you these songs. BosWash has spoken: "I am alive!"