Nightwish Endless Forms Most Beautiful: Theory of Evolution and Neoatherism in Musical Post-Processing

According to the site of fans of the group in Russia, evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins took part in the creation of the new album “Nightwish Endless Forms Most Beautiful”.

Richard Dawkins is no stranger to controversy – musical and all. It’s hard to know where to start. It’s not every day that you sit down to listen to a 24-minute symphonic metal track featuring pianos, violins and chimpanzee sounds, and even less expect to be an observer of a conversation about children’s clarinet lessons between a Scandinavian rock star and one of the most famous and – I do not want to focus on this – criticized public intellectuals in Great Britain.

When I meet Dawkins and Nightwish songwriter Tuomas Holopainen (who is wearing a T-shirt with a Darwin face) at the Kensington Hotel, their collaboration doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Both talk disarmingly frankly about working together. Indeed, when it comes time to leave them, I understand that Dawkins’ involvement in the new album was a foregone conclusion.

Here’s what happened. The self-proclaimed “lifelong science fan” Tuomas Holopainen studied the subject at university before giving up everything for music. Recent interest in the work of Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Carl Sagan and other eminent scientists prompted him to try to establish contact with Richard. “I wrote him a handwritten letter explaining our intentions,” says Tuomas. Two weeks later, Dawkins emailed his consent. They recorded in Oxford, and less than 6 months later, two tracks were prepared for the new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

 Dawkins was asked if he had heard of Nightwish before receiving the letter from Tuomas. There is not a shadow of irony in his answer.

“No, I haven’t heard. But I was interested, intrigued and fascinated. I asked my assistant for advice, and he insisted that I take part in this. It was a pleasure for me to take part in this ”.

When I suggest that perhaps this genre of music is very unexpected for him, Dawkins optimistically says, “Yes, this is a different type of music, but I can be moved by completely different music.” The lyrics that Tuomas read to him, together with his own works and lines from the works of other scientists, are wonderful. When I ask if Richard will take part in the show at Wemibly Stadium, both sides express their desire to make it a reality: “Let’s do it.”

Dawkins has said before that he can be moved by music. Is this recording with Nightwish an attempt to make science great through music? “Exactly,” says Dawkins. “This is important,” agrees Tuomas. People may think of science and evolution as a purely applied tool, but “science is the complete opposite of that. Evolution is one of the most poetic things on earth. “

I ask Dawkins about the strange press reaction to his recent poems on Twitter. “Did I write poetry? I call it comic rhyme. I don’t understand why the Independent continues to pay attention to this. “

Dawkins either doesn’t care how the public perceives him, or he has a unique gift of completely lacking self-doubt. In any case, this could clarify at least something about his public image. I ask if he takes pleasure in provoking people – for example, opponents of his ideas against Christianity will definitely resent his collaboration with a metal band. Dawkins doesn’t seem to understand what I mean. There is a certain image, I suppose. “Satanic?” Dawkins adds. Yes, it may be so.

Nightwish fans condemn the group for collaborating with Richard Dawkins

According to Tuomas Holopainen, “people are excited” about this collaboration, but there are also fans who reacted negatively to the news. Tuomas mimics a fan’s response: “I’ve been a Nightwish fan for fifteen years, I’ve seen twenty of your concerts, but I’ll never come to see you again. I just burned all your discs. “

Karjalainen reports that Finnish symphonic metallers Nightwish have drawn the ire of fans on social media with the addition of Richard Dawkins on their new album “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”. Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist, popularizer of science and an outspoken neo-atheist critic of religion. He is also considered one of the world’s most influential modern thinkers.

On the album, which will be released in late March, Dawkins is identified as one of the main inspirations. His voice also sounds on the album.

According to Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist and main songwriter for Nightwish, the fans went berserk as soon as the band announced Dawkins’ involvement on the upcoming album. This participation was especially condemned by fundamentalist believers, for whom “Dawkins” is a swear word.

“The storm that went up on Facebook was completely unheard of. People said they threw our discs in the trash, someone even burned them, and some were going to surrender their previously purchased tickets for our concerts on a tour of America,” Holopainen told the newspaper Karjalainen “. – “If it was possible to talk with fundamentalists from the standpoint of reason, there would be no fundamentalists in the world,” concluded Holopainen.

“The world needs an open, civilized discussion and continuous reassessment of things. For example, politics and art can be assessed as you please, but for some reason the issues of faith often turn out to be above all criticism,” continues Tuomas.

Holopainen revealed that Dawkins’ writings were a huge source of inspiration for the lyrics for the new album. Excerpts from performances and some of Dawkins’ thoughts are also featured on the album. The closing track “The Greatest Show On Earth” is named after Dawkins’ book of the same name. Holopainen carefully studied Dawkins’ views and read all of his books.

“Apparently, if you want to give someone a real sense of danger with rock music these days, you need to forget about rebellion and cheeky life and instead just invite a British evolutionary biologist to contribute to the album,” concludes Holopainen.

The Nightwish members were warned that Dawkins’ involvement with the album would hurt CD sales and the band’s reputation.

“If someone is narrow-minded enough to refrain from buying an album because of the scientist on the record, then what can you do about it,” says Holopainen.

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