“The more that is written,
The more there is to write.”
Dooven Muzak has been around as long as the Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels, aka the Dooven Books, and is named after Oscar Teabag-Dooven, the books’ central character. Previous releases of Dooven Muzak have been described as ‘cheesy and not particularly inspired’, and this fifth album is no exception. Despite such criticism, Dooven Muzak is specifically written to help bring the books into being, which affords a unique and rather wonderful credence not commonly attributable to music. Although the final book in the trilogy is currently being written—with the preceding two titles yet to be released—it is prudent to share this fifth album as a taste of what these upcoming titles have to offer, which is, incidentally, an extraordinary cauldron of fermented Doovenism with some surprisingly large lumps.
The music is written for the adventures as they unfold; that is, the tracks reflect the progression of the story as it is written. While it is unusual for books to be accompanied by music, particularly when both are written by the author, the Dooven Books are far from usual, so it’s perhaps not surprising. Indeed, it is even less so when realising that the emerging New Fable fiction genre that the Dooven Books exemplify has, as yet, unwritten rules. This album is, therefore, perhaps an example of the first: the requirement that music must accompany its scenes and characters.
The cover art of this fifth album differs stylistically from the preceding four releases because its design was outsourced following a breakdown in negotiations between Thomas and Panda Books Australia for the umpteenth time. The title International Staff refers to the books’ themes of exotic locations and the frequenting of hotels as a consequence. Indeed, arguments in hotels have become ubiquitous in the adventures, and the Morigan Trilogy is no exception. The exoticism that unfolds in the trilogy is remarkable, and it is possible that further titles may not explore anywhere more exotic than Alephia and Bisarah, two of its principal locations. However, A Masterful Revenge, the seventh title, is already challenging that notion as ideas for its outline are currently being being penned. The album’s subtitle Into the Impossible also hints at the trilogy’s adventure and is represented by a girl in an art gallery looking at examples of Extractionst Artwork also produced to accompany the books. While it is technically impossible to enter a painting with anything other than imagination, the Dooven Books, alongside Thomas’ polyauthoric artwork and music, challenge this notion also.
So, despite the cover art being not being representative of traditional Doovenism on first glance, it is, considering the books’ international jet-setting adventures fleshed out with by polyauthoric music and artwork, very well represented, indeed. This is not only an expression of selfish creativity on Thomas’ part, but is designed to cultivate greater reader immersion through, as Thomas puts it, “a sort of director’s cut.”
When asked how he felt about this latest album, Thomas said that each release is a greater stylistic distillation of what Dooven Muzak should be; that is, representative of the books’ story world. As with the books, he says, Dooven Muzak continually refines itself through ongoing polyauthoric media experimentation. “The more that is written,” he says, “the more there is to write.”
There is no doubt that Dooven Muzak Volume 5 is an epitome of Thomas’ polyauthoric approach to writing, just as the Morigan Trilogy is likely to be the epitome of the Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels, though whether the release of either is of any benefit to anyone remains debatable.
— Simon Collington, Panda Books Australia.
1. Barras in the Evening
This track represents a lovely gentle evening in the city of Barras, and is reminiscent of Dooven Muzak’s roots in what is now referred to as soft tempo. This signature track highlights the atmosphere of the city of Barras and conveys the evening breeze and light of its glorious Mediterranean-esk climate while ignoring that it has the worst traffic in the world. The moment Oscar arrives in the city to meet Binklemitre, a fellow Velvet Paw of Asquith on assignment there, he fell in love with the place. It's exciting, hot and busy, and its evenings are magical.
LATER that afternoon, the two Velvet Paws waited by the window in Binklemitre’s apartment. It overlooked a beautiful collection of villas that cascaded toward the sea. The sun was already low and its reddening light bathed the city’s terracotta in more of the same. Tiled roofs lined streets, their golden brown topping red masonry. Mops of palm trees stood tall beneath dispersing heat of day in groves leading down to a dark purple sea. Were it not for abandoned cars littering the street below, Oscar would consider the place more beautiful than Ruen. They were all over the place, however, with some of them upside down, so he did not. Abandoned cars were unbefitting a scene so lovely, and he tried pretending they were parked that way intentionally—except those lodged in windows, which he pretended were curtains.
When sun dipped beyond sea, Binklemitre advised it was time. They drained their mugs and hurried downstairs to the street below. Outside, they weaved between abandoned cars toward docks at its end. Shadows had grown long, and falling dusk tarnished everything in bronze. Boats tugged at moorings and sloshed against water’s swirling mauve, with only taller masts still lit by sun. A wide boulevard lined the docks, separating sea from walled villas nestled upon hillside, their stone bloodied by day’s dying reach. Animals strolled along the foreshore and the Velvet Paws did the same, lest haste drew attention. Oscar smoothed his fur casually and Binklemitre admired a hull.
— When Fear Is Not Afraid, chapter 6.
2. Shake That Funky Tail
The hyper-anthropomorphism of New Fable renders a society recognisable as our own but with its eccentricities being the norm rather than the exception. Were the books’ characters human, this absurdity wouldn't work. Instead, international, jet-setting adventures involving espionage, greed and professional cheese-shaping unfold with a gratuitousness only possible in a world unrestrained by conventional society. Getting gastric worms, for example. And fighting over food in expensive restaurants. There are bakers who make buns with petrol, and clinically blind bus-drivers who don't. There are famous cathedrals built entirely upside down and palaces so large that they have horizons indoors. World governments are toppled by hiding their pens, and department stores are ransacked by customers obsessed with cushions, full-length dress mirrors and cellotape. Hotel concierges redecorate hotels with manure, buses sail across vast oceans of grass and of the six plane crashes over five books, Oscar is adamant he's responsible for only three. This track represents the book’s carefree absurdity, especially when things descend into chaos.
WHILE Oscar tried removing the concierge’s tail, Binklemitre kept incensed police at bay by hitting them with astonished onlookers. Messington, unaccustomed to spontaneous violence, fell after being pushed by more police hurrying to support their colleagues, before being trodden on by audience members who tried doing the same. Beneath Binklemitre’s flailing cover, Oscar pulled the concierge away from Lydia, swung him into the crowd and fell to Lydia’s side. While the concierge laid into the crowd at random, Oscar pulled her from the fray, which had become a chaotic mass of shouts, flailing paws and torn clothing. Winded, she struggled after him until both collapsed behind a large chair, which juddered when an animal landed on it upside-down. Shouts were drowned by thumps of thrown furniture, and a table lamp shattered against a wall nearby. After ensuring she was all right, Oscar peered over the chair. Binklemitre still struggled with the concierge, though it appeared to be an even match. A fighting couple tripped over both and careered into a table. A police officer struggled to retain his trousers, which were being torn to ribbons by animals who’d already lost theirs, and when he tried using his radio to call for backup, it was snatched and hurled at Binklemitre. Oscar leapt over the chair and somersaulted back into chaos. Avoiding stamping paws and shattered furniture, he pushed through the throng until reaching his colleague.
“Do you need a helping paw?” he shouted.
“Thank you, Dooven, yes.” He dodged another swipe from the concierge, before throwing one of his own. “But only because of the circumstances, you understand.” He yelped when trodden on.
“We are rather outnumbered,” Oscar agreed, trying to roll the concierge off Binklemitre, which was met with growls of refusal.
“Fine, thanks. I rather think she likes this sort of thing.”
“Gets her out and about, does it?”
Oscar tried a nod, which was made easier by a hind paw kicking his chin. “She’s mad, you see,” he said, after smacking it away, “so this sort of thing probably passes for a dinner party.”
— With Eyes No Longer Blind, chapter 27.
3. Fluffing Read About It
Although the Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels are true escapist adventure, the Morigan Trilogy takes Doovenistic hyper-anthropomorphism to another level and leaves it there to be removed by cleaners. Characterised by exotic locations, eccentric behaviours and large cast of characters, the Trilogy distils these into the epitome of Doovenism. As an example of New Fable fiction, the Morigan Trilogy involves the most extraordinary Doovenistic situations to date. Indeed, throughout the three titles, this is often remarked upon by the cast. This track depicts the absurd Doovenism that the Morigan Trilogy contains, which is packed so tightly that some chapters have more ink than paper. Frankly, what unfolds in these books you simply wouldn’t read about.
A WEEK earlier, The Daily Spoon had run an article on one of the early fire enthusiasts, a cat whose house had been a raging inferno for three days. Having been confined to an upstairs bedroom after the landing collapsed, he’d been surprised at the benefits of domestic incineration. Not only had it aired the place by destroying most of the ceiling, but had peeled wallpaper so overdue for replacement that it no longer resembled anything of the sort. Moreover, being confined to bed for three days had done wonders for his bunions by melting some of the larger ones. As a consequence, allowing the inferno to continue unimpeded in the hope that further benefits might arise seemed almost sensible, despite some obvious downsides. When neighbours had initially rallied in a desperate effort to put the thing out, he’d thrown bits of burning bedroom at them until they’d relented and formed instead a sort of confused dousing-stoking rota that resulted in the eventual collapse of a supporting wall. Thanks to the article, the trend soon caught on, with other blazes across the city encouraged to continue in perpetuum. Oscar and Lydia had stared in disbelief as Flumpt read the article to them over breakfast, looks that worsened when he quoted one animal insisting that another reason the fires were not put out was because they had obviously been started for a reason, and he didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, culturally, by interfering.
— To Blunt The Sharpest Claw, chapter 9.
4. Both Velvet Paw And Poet
After six books of carnage and mayhem, the incongruity of being Velvet Paw and the sensitivity required of an imagist poet finally finds some resolution in the Dark Academia of the Morigan Trilogy. Having saved the world several times already—and always under duress—Oscar discovers opportunity to become the most celebrated poet in history in the most unimaginable way. This track represents Oscar’s realisation that it’s no longer a choice between being a Velvet Paw and imagist poet because, in reality, there never was one.
TABBY relinquished the door and grabbed Oscar’s collar with sudden desperation. "Wait a minute—you are going to help with this, aren't you? You're not having second thoughts about helping?"
"Oh, I'll help, all right," he said, unhooking her paws. "I'll do the absolute best that I can."
"Because we need you, Oscar. We've been over this so many times: we need your expertise! You know what the Ar'dath-Irr is capable of more than any of us. You must play your part in this. I might have a talent for extreme violence and Mironaelk for strategy—and Flumpt for explosives—but you're a Velvet Paw of Asquith!"
He looked at her with a kindness only possible when no longer concerned about consequence: there are none when the world is on the brink. "I prefer the Velvet Poet of Bisarah."
Refusing to discuss it further, he pushed through the door. Having already said enough to her he had a great deal more to say to the Echelon waiting beyond it.
— When Fear Is Not Afraid, chapter 1.
5. The Hunter and the Hunted
While the Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels are examples of New Fable genre fiction, The Morigan Trilogy is an example of Dark Academia, where poets are the most revered members of society because their abilities to see what others cannot. These three titles, therefore, contain dark, hidden libraries and shelving packed with countless dusty spines, corridors in ancient mansions and the dangerous things that lurk within them. This track depicts precisely this.
OSCAR crept to a door and listened. Hearing nothing beyond it, he turned its handle and pulled, though cringed when squeaking hinges were louder than recently shattered windows. He tried opening it in stages, which was like smashing rows of the things. When wide enough, he peered into a hallway lit by low wattage bulbs. Its carpet was old and faded, but still thick with ornate pattern. It disappeared in each direction and was lined with doors suggesting rooms like the one he’d just demolished. It reminded him of a posh hotel; one where lights worked and carpets weren’t held together with grime, where holes in walls were intentional and the only evidence of brown paper and sticky-tape was when ordered via room service. He left the room and sidled along a wall, listening for anything that wouldn’t approve of his arrival or sidling. The hallway appeared to have no end, and what lay behind soon looked the same as what lay ahead. He was reminded of bad dreams, where desperate flee becomes absurd retreat. He stopped when imagining the Ar’dath-Irr gliding closer in his wake, and that snarling mass of muscle and claw doing the same ahead. Feeling too exposed, he pressed against the wall and fought the sort of blind terror that physically narrows hallways. He ran then, not daring to look behind, knowing it couldn’t go on forever. When a corner became apparent, he felt the sort of relief that physically leaving is occasionally renowned for. After skittling around it, he collapsed against skirting board and struggled for breath, having left most of it behind to fend for itself.
— To Blunt The Sharpest Claw, chapter 14.
6. Oscar’s Outraged Duck Dance
Considering the traumas Oscar endures during the trilogy, it's unsurprising to learn that he has a nervous breakdown halfway through it. A sudden outbreak of dancing in the middle of a serious traffic accident has onlookers staring in bewilderment. Their confusion, however, pales in comparison to his, which is why some of his moves leave motorists keen to repeat the pile-up without seatbelts. This track depicts the surprising liberation that can blossom from the depths of pathological confusion, which is clinically referred to as an extremely nervous breakdown.
OSCAR began jiggling, which was harder than anticipated in a muddy ditch. After climbing out of it, he leapt and pirouetted around the broken coach as though having been electrocuted by it. Flumpt and Fghrei-Plint stared, and even the horses joined in. Having heard his profanities, Lydia climbed out of the coach’s roof, clambered down its side and stood beside Flumpt. She said nothing, however, as few words had been invented to describe his moves.
When Flumpt made choking sounds of bewilderment, she placed a paw upon his. “This is the third time he’s danced today,” she said. “I’m beginning to get concerned.”
“Does it last long?” Fghrei-Plint asked, joining them.
“Not if he stumbles over saucepans.”
The fascination was such that no one noticed another animal join them for several lines of dialogue.
“That is most peculiar behaviour,” the arrival said.
“I’m just sorry I didn’t bring any saucepans,” said Fghrei-Plint.
“I think it’s his ears,” Lydia said. “He’s had a strange obsession with them ever since they returned.”
She nodded, still staring. “Up until our arrival he hadn’t any, you see.”
“No, ears. They’d been missing for some time, apparently. I don’t know for how long because I only met him on Monday. But judging by what he’s doing now, it was definitely before last Thursday.”
“And what exactly is he doing now?”
“I would say the Cha-cha, but I don’t think even he knows.”
They watched Oscar dance and cavort while clutching his ears. He looked like an outraged duck.
“He looks like an outraged duck,” the arrival said.
“Yes,” agreed Lydia. “It has to be something to do with his ears. I mean, it’s understandable if they just popped back onto his head upon our arrival. It’s why he keeps clutching them, you see. Presumably, it’s added to the overall shock.”
They watched a series of pirouettes that didn’t turn out well and a leap that the ditch ruined.
Flumpt shook his head slowly. “Why do I feel to be at the premiere of a contemporary dance performance that’s going to get dreadful reviews?”
“He should be grateful to get any reviews at all,” said the arrival, equally bemused. “I’m not actually convinced it is performance. It looks more like a seizure that’s gone wrong.”
— With Eyes No Longer Blind, chapter 10.
7. Tabby's La La Song
This track depicts Lydia Emther-Essden-Plthrthg-Tonquaroughly, a central character in the trilogy fundamental to the books’ portagona. Lydia is an insane librarian, a beautiful little dog who punches patrons in the face. This song represents her evolution from insanity to relative sanity as the opening achromaticism becomes liberation through her denial of, “La la”. From chunky synth-style opening chords to the uplifting ballad of its conclusion, this is a great example of Dooven Muzak’s polyauthoricism as it represents character evolution, which is inevitable over a series of three titles, two of which are quite traumatic to read, let alone star in.
TABBY didn’t look remotely capable of violence. She was beautiful, for a start. Her ears were long and floppy and hung around her shoulders as though the latest fashion. Her eyes, big and brown, seemed incapable of harbouring anything other than wonder at the world. Her insanity had cultivated a temper so short that she had a habit of losing it—and even finding it again often left her furious. As a result, she had a tendency to punch animals in the face. She didn’t mean to. She wasn’t an aggressive dog at all, despite her habit of hospitalising strangers. Had she a choice, she’d prefer discussing the weather or cheese, rather than smash animals’ snouts.
— When Fear Is Not Afraid, chapter 1.
8. Barrisian Traffic
Barisian traffic is the worst in the world. While Oscar sits at a cafe on a pavement in the centre of the city, he finds that it is an extremely dangerous place to be. So dangerous, in fact, that umbrellas are illegal for reasons that become apparent by merely observing what unfolds. This track depicts Oscar sitting on a cafe’s pavement in Barras’ blazing sun while watching the sort of chaos that most cities would consider both illegal and a unique selling point.
ALTHOUGH renowned for its bright climate, Barras was also renowned for its traffic congestion and exorbitant traffic fatality statistics, the latter being so high that new numbers had been invented to assist with their calculation. Crammed to bursting with pedestrians and cars, neither showed regard for either. As a result, its cars were so dented from accidents that when they did drive into pedestrians their crumpled fenders tended to embrace victims, rather than splatter them across bodywork. Such crowding did mean that driving around a corner could take the best part of a week, however, which often led to cars being abandoned halfway around them and contributed further to congestion. Indeed, its traffic was so dreadful that Barras was often described as being ‘one enormous intersection’. As a consequence, it had only one set of traffic lights. These had been disconnected shortly after installation, however, because of drivers’ tendency to focus on cartwheeling vehicles rather than newly installed traffic lights, particularly when the former careered into buildings whenever said lights changed colour. And although this was unacceptable, it did momentarily relieve congestion.
— When Fear Is Not Afraid, chapter 6.
9. Strut Along Rue d’Bisarah
The conclusion of the fifth book and the opening of the sixth book centre around the city of Bisarah, a coastal city bathed in golden sunsets and terracotta skies in a world that has never endured destruction, war or hate. Consequently, it is a great metropolis with gleaming silver towers above beautifully antique cafes, and is, therefore, possibly the antithesis of Arabesque’s capital, Par Beguine. Despite its maze of streets, it has only one street name: Rue d’Bisarah, as is the custom nomenclature for street names in the Dooven Books for reasons that not even the author understands. Houses, apartment buildings, cafes and restaurants, are all numbered along this single road, with ridiculous addresses arising as a consequence. Oscar, for example, had an appointment at two-hundred and thirty-six thousand, five hundred and thirty-seven, Rue d-Bisarah, which, interestingly, was written in gravy for reasons that will become apparent upon the Trilogy’s release. This track depicts Oscar strutting his funky stuff down the sort of street that, theoretically, never ends.
OSCAR had been surprised to learn that, despite the myriad of roads criss-crossing the city, they were not individually named, but were instead considered to be part of the same one. Every intersection, causeway, alley and lane were extensions of, and subsequently called, Rue d’Bisarah. When originally informed of this, the stare he’d given Flumpt had left the dog concerned something violent might follow, which had him assuring Oscar that such nomenclature wasn’t unusual, and that, rather than be irritated, Oscar should think himself lucky that they ended up in Bisarah and not SchmnAaAAl, which didn’t bother naming its streets at all, considering the confusion over the capital and lowercase As, the sequence of which had not been agreed on in any official capacity. Flumpt also pointed out that although another city, Bnna Uhhghten Eracncssd, did have different names allocated for different streets, it was only because spelling Rue d’Bnna Uhhghten Eracncssd was so difficult that an assortment of random permutations had been distributed in the hope that at least one correct iteration existed, somewhere.
— To Blunt The Sharpest Claw, chapter 2.
10. The Trilogy’s Final Chapters
As the Morigan trilogy comprises the 4th 5th and 6th titles in the current series, the closing chapters of the trilogy are some of the most brutal and powerful examples of Doovenistic New Fable that have ever been written, principally because the books are the only example of the genre. A culmination that makes the closing chapters of The World Is Badly Made pale to the point of clinical anaemia. A thunderous collapse of emotional turmoil building over three intense examples of Doovenism. So emotionally charged is its conclusion that Panda Books Australia, on the advice of the Governmental Health Agency, agreed to release the third book almost in its entirety before the first two books in the trilogy have been published in an attempt at “literal vaccination”. It is hoped that this strategy galvanised the reading public prior to its onslaught. This track depicts the intensity and chaos of the culmination of the Morigan Trilogy, the greatest New Fable adventure ever written.
AIR held thickness of lead and there was a distinct feeling that the sky had fallen. Absence of breeze carried countless animals’ cries. Ground shook from distant thuds, as though earth spasmed, while shudders and bursts drowned a growing background roar of dismay. Oscar stumbled forwards, having not known anything like it. He called for Lydia, but there was no reply. Only when Letherin bellowed her name did he realise he’d whispered.
Soldiers hurried closer, struggling with trestle tables. Upon arrival, they asked Letherin where they should be set up. Taking two halberds, Letherin thrust one at Oscar and asked what skills he had in wielding the things
“Where’s Lydia?” Oscar cried, taking it, imagining that she’d been stolen by the Ar’dath-Irr and cast to an impossible corner of world.
Letherin spun around to scan the dark, his chest heaving in savage breaths. “I left both here.”
“Well, they’re not here, are they?”
“Neither is the sun.”
A roar from above fell like shattered rock. After a collective cringe, everyone looked up to see the another torrent of flame engulf the palace. It lit the world like afternoon and blasted wall with shimmering heat. Flame billowed down stonework and funnelled through arches. Those who’d been exiting through them dropped clutched mugs and fled in a manner not seen since Flumpt’s early days of experimental baking.
— With Eyes No Longer Blind, chapter 24.
Drums and percussion: Andy Holiday
Piano: Thomas Corfield
Bass: Johnathon Reid
Keyboards: Thomas Corfield, Steven Westlake
Guitars: Angus Archer
Arranger: Sarah Camden
Audio Engineers: Michael Tao
Design: Courtney Strangway
Project Supervisor: Andrew Cameron
Special thanks to: Conrad Millington and Stacy Watts, particularly for the caffeine hits and various object thrown at Thomas when he became more annoying than usual.
The Morigan Trilogy and The Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels are copyright Panda Books Australia
Copyright 2022, Panda Books Australia.
The author wishes to acknowledge the following readers for their kind words regarding the first three titles, and the excellent grammar that accompanied them.
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