WE DRIFT MERIDIAN

 

We Drift Meridian is the new album from British trio Monocled Man, inspired by the stories of real people who have lived on remote islands across the world. In a broad sense- the lyrics, sound world and artwork draws from this narrative of isolation, solitude and landscapes of these archipelagos.

 

 

The history of these people and the islands where they lived is alluded to in an abstract and ambiguous way in the music and lyrics on We Drift Meridian. The stories that the music is drawn on however, are distinct and real. These stories have many dimensions and are both folkloric and historical in content. They are stories which resonate with social, political and geographical context. Some of those stories are told below.

 

 

 

Tromelin Island is situated in the Indian Ocean, this former French colony was the site of a shipwrecked slave ship in 1761. The wreckage and slaves were left on the island by the French colonialists transporting them, as the crew used the remaining emergency boats to escape. The French did not return for the slaves and 15 years later a French warship led by Captain Tromelin sailed past and spotted signs of human life on this tiny strip of land in the middle of the ocean. Of the 60 slaves abandoned on the island- 7 were still alive, having survived by capturing and cooking sea birds and harvesting fresh water from barrels.

Clipperton Island, a mining outpost in the South Pacific was controlled by Mexico and British Pacific Company until it was deemed unsustainable. As the Mexican Revolution raged, this tiny island became forgotten along with the community brought there to work. By 1917, all men on the island had died of scurvy,  and Victoriano Alvarez the lighthouse keeper on the island, promptly declared himself King. He began to systematically rape and control the female population. After a short but despotic reign, he was murdered by one of his 'wives', called Tirza Rendon. Later on the same day he was killed, the islanders were finally liberated by a passing US war ship. The island was never colonized again.

 

Scott Moorman was a teenager in the 1970's who embarked on a boat trip with 3 friends one weekend from Hawaii. They drifted out into the Pacific and were never heard from again. Several years later, Scott Moorman's jaw-bone was found buried in a shallow grave on the beach of a remote, uninhabited Pacific Island called Taongi, an atoll part of the Marshall Islands.

 

Marie-Betsy Rasmussen was the first female to live in the Antarctic. She was the wife of  Norwegian whaler Captain Adolf Amandus Andresen and together they lived and worked on Deception Island in the late 19th century, off the polar coast of Chile. Surrounded by Chilean stokers and 200 Scandinvian whalers, Marie-Betsy's life was one of isolation and hard-ship in one of the most inhospitable islands on the planet,