Release Date: 2000.06.20
Format: 1 CD
Release Date: 2004.?.?
Label: Inside Out
Format: 2 CD
Release Date: 2012.11.19
Label: Inside Out
Format: 2 LP (blue)
After the commercial failure of the Actual Fantasy, and the overwhelming success of the Into the Electric Castle, Arjen felt he had to create an album that was a worthy release all on its own, without being derivative or treading on similar ground. To this end, he made some fundamental changes to his previous composition process. Arjen decided to have each vocalist only sing one track each, as opposed to the almost conversational, rock opera-style singing which was utilized in previous albums.
As Universal Migrator had enough content to form a two-CD album, Arjen made a key decision to sell each disc as a separate release. He believed his fans to be fundamentally divided into two groups by genre of choice, being either progressive rock or heavy metal fans. The Dream Sequencer was meant to appeal to the prog enthusiasts, and Flight of the Migrator to the metal fans, so that each could simply purchase the album of their choice, if so inclined, but to his surprise, fans bought and loved both albums.
Later in 2004, when Arjen moved from Transmission to InsideOut Music, Flight of the Migrator was re-released together with The Dream Sequencer as a 2-CD special edition called The Universal Migrator: Parts I & II. As only 4 years had passed since the original release of the separate albums, Arjen did not add any bonus features because he felt that this would be unfair to the fans who had already purchased the albums.
It is needless to say that this double album became a classic very soon… In my opinion it is the most “Ayreon” album of all, it is the style that represents the essence of the Universe the most. There is more special (Actual Fantasy), more human (The Human Equation), but more professional, more “Ayreon”… I do not think so…
The The Dream Sequencer is the first album that continues the plot found in The Final Experiment, starting in the year 2084, when the final world war wiped out all life on Earth. During the final years of fighting on Earth, a number of humans escaped to live on Mars. These people brought supplies with them, but with Earth ravaged, there was no way to replenish their resources, and soon almost all humans perished. The Dream Sequencer tells the story of the last human being alive, living alone on the Martian colony.
Born of the earliest settlers on Mars, the colonist never lived on Earth, and could only experience it through a machine known as the Dream Sequencer. Developed by scientists on Mars to curb boredom, the Dream Sequencer uses a form of hypnosis that allows the user to travel back in time to their youth, or even farther beyond, to previous incarnations of their persistent selves.
The colonist uses the machine and revisits his own youth, living on Mars, and eventually views many of his past lives: a woman fighting in the war of 2084, Queen Elizabeth I overlooking her fleet, a man present at the building of Stonehenge, and even the first human being to live on Earth, among other lives. Each track on The Dream Sequencer revisits one of these past lives.
Let’s go through story song by song…
The Dream Sequencer
This song is about the Colonist’s preparation to use the Dream Sequencer, and the orders given by the machine.
My House on Mars
The song is about the main character of the story as a child, with his sister, mourning the death of his father in the war on Earth and its destruction in 2084. By the end of the song, he has forgiven his father for leaving him, and breaking his promise to take him to Earth.
This song is about the war which ultimately leads to mankind’s destruction, referenced in The Final Experiment, and later in 01011001. Still, the character speaking here is not the main protagonist himself, but one of his past lives (as told in “My House on Mars”, the protagonist never saw Earth).
One Small Step
Arjen tells us the events he lived during first manned lunar landing – the Apollo 11 mission. At this point it becomes obvious that the Arjen is the pre-incernation of the Mars Colonist. It uses the famous words of Neil Armstrong, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. The song contains samples from the voices of astronauts, captured during moon landings.
The Shooting Company of Captain Frans B. Cocq
This song makes reference to Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and his militia, immortalised on the painting The Night Watch by Dutch painter Rembrandt. The painting dates from the Dutch golden age, 1642. In the song’s title, Arjen makes use of a title which is considered the most accurate for the painting.
Dragon on the Sea
This song makes reference to Queen Elizabeth I of England and the “Speech to the Troops at Tilbury” given by her in July 1588, on the light of an attack by the Spanish Armada, which consisted of a grand naval fleet of 130 ships bearing over 30,000 men. The English fleet won the battle under the leadership of Sir Francis Drake — the “dragon” on the sea — and Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham.
Temple of the Cat
This song makes reference to the Mayan civilization and Maya mythology, taking place circa the 8th century. According to Arjen, it speaks especially about the Jaguar Temple and the city of Tikal. Certain samples used on the song come from an authentic Maya festival. Vocals on this song were provided by Jacqueline Govaert of Krezip. Arjen has stated that this is his least favorite Ayreon song… which I can not really relate to… there are much worse on The Source (my least favorite album), sorry Arjen 😉
Carried by the Wind
Ayreon’s spirit notices that the Final Experiment has failed, and looks on to Mars for mankind’s new hope. This “spirit on the wind” is also referenced in “The Sixth Extinction” on 01011001.
And the Druids Turn to Stone
This song makes reference to the Stonehenge, a monument located near Amesbury in the English county of Wiltshire, which is believed to have mainly been built between 2500 BC and 2000 BC. Due to the uncertainty regarding the origins of the monument, Arjen proposes the fantasy explanation that a group of druids was turned to stone by means of magic, and thus became the Stonehenge.
The First Man on Earth
This song makes reference to the appearance of the first Homo sapiens on Earth, circa 50,000 BCE.
The Dream Sequencer Reprise
The Dream Sequencer is turned off, at least until the beginning of the next album, Flight of the Migrator, where the Dream Sequencer speaks again some orders and warnings.
– source: wikipedia –
How does it fit to the History of The Universe?
Here you can find the answer.
1. The Dream Sequencer
2. My House On Mars
4. One Small Step
5. The Shooting Company Of Captain Frans B. Cocq
6. Dragon On The Sea
7. Temple Of The Cat
8. Carried By The Wind
9. And The Druids Turn To Stone
10. The First Man On Earth
11. The Dream Sequencer Reprise