12. Future Imperfect   (5:08)

music © 1990 by colin nicholls & walter nicholls
lyrics 1990 by colin nicholls


Interesting factoid: Originally written in 1990, the second verse lyric has always wanted to go: "We live in the 21st century" which was always chronologically incorrect until recently! I never thought the song would remain unfinished until around 2006.

I think changing the verse to 7/8 time added a lot of punch.

Production Notes

This project has been so long in the working that it features many different guitars, some of which I don't even own anymore.

Guitars: Carvin Bolt+ "Blueshifter"
Carvin DC127 piezo (plinky verses)
Carvin TL60 piezo (reverb harmonics in the middle section)
Gibson L6-S (ostinato in outro)
Bass: Carvin BK5
Novation PEAK "bass pedals"
Percussion: XLN Addictive Drums VSTi with sticks and a SPD-20 pad controller
Korg TR-Rack (wood block)
Shaker; Heavy Breathing
Synths: Roland VK8 (hammond organ)
Roland Fantom (lead monosynth)
Arturia CS-80v VSTi ("GX-1" organ)
rgc:audio Pentagon I DXi (vocoder)
Strings: Dimension Pro "Quartet Ensemble"

Early Stages

Since 1988 we've been recording our jam sessions on tape cassette. In 1999 I digitized the archives for reference. Any moments of magic relevant to this track, I've extracted and present here.

Demo (1990):

This piece emerged on the scene pretty well fully-formed, complete with lyrics.

Actually if I recall correctly, the basic lyrics came first, and the music written around them. It wasn't until much much later that I found myself in a position to try and sing them...

The earliest version in the archives dates from the latter half of 1990, produced with a Fostex 4-track cassette recorder, and features a Korg Vocoder (the DVP-1) that I borrowed from the local music store. I don't think I had any real intention of purchasing it but the guys behind the counter were so used to seeing me (and they had sold me a Korg M1 the year before) that they just told me to take it home and have fun with it, and to not break it if I could help it. This version was recorded 23 years ago. (Yikes!)


We live in a world of inequity
Where some die of hunger, and some learn to fly
We welcome tomorrow, and look to a future
Safe and secure, in cities that reach for the sky

Well it's tense in the present, and the future's imperfect
Our vision obscured by the stars in our eyes.
We entered the Race, advanced with technology
Listening to voices of reason, telling us why

We live in the 21st Century,
and sometimes I feel that we shouldn't have tried
Every day we get to live with our legacy
Reflecting in windows of buildings and blinding our eyes

Mixing the media, and framing the news
the picture they're painting says everything's fine
but look through the cracks, to the fault of society
the closer you look the more puppets on strings you will find

Wake up from the dream, and it's back to reality
The state wants to know if we wish to complain?
They've got our description, and left us with memories
of spies in our bedroom, pulling at springs in our brains

It's tense in the present The future's imperfect
Our vision obscured by the stars in our eyes
We stay in the race, enslaved in technology
Silencing voices of reason, questioning why?