The Death and the Berth
The Death And The Berth starts the album with so much to be said for an instrumental track that doesn’t even touch the first minute mark. The album skips forward a few years to Hunters late teens, although not much has happened in the time between. Living with his mother in isolation near the Tree and the Lake, he has lived his sheltered life in wonder of what’s beyond. The album is twice as long as Act I (literally fifteen more seconds would have been exactly double), so we can expect a lot to happen in Hunters near future.
In the time since Act I, Ms. Terri has continued working in secret at the Dime. Hunter has grown more curious through the years, but his naiveté doesn’t allow him to come to any conclusions about his mother. The title of the song contains wordplay on the word birth, spelling it as ‘berth’. The meaning of birth in this case is the fairly obvious relation to death, also in the title, and further extends the theme of new beginnings in the story. With the spelling that Casey has chosen though, the meaning seems to be more subtle. ‘Berth’ usually relates to a ships resting spot when docked, or a distance needed to clear when maneuvering a ship. I’ll try to come back to this later in the post to elaborate.
Into The Music
The song starts in a boom of brass and cymbals, quickly coming down to a quieter tone. Settling into the key of Am, the strings hold long notes, with a faint piano playing an important melody in the background. An even quieter chorus of voices can be heard with the higher range of strings. A lone string instrument starts to play a repeating melody as the piano fades out. That’s the whole song, as some keys start to lead us into The Procession. Each of the key moments in the song here can lead us to an event in the story though, surprisingly enough.
The grandiose beginning, I believe, is Hunter finding his mother passed away in their home. It’s the initial shock he experiences finding that the one person he knew, is gone. As the shock fades away he becomes morose and he thinks of his mother and the life he had with her. He sees her before him, accepting that she is now gone. The final melody that is played by the cello occurs in the album a few more times, so I think this is just foreshadowing future events. As for the title of the song, we now know that the death was of Ms. Terri, and the birth is of more symbolic meaning than anything. The alternate spelling, berth, is a bit confusing for me to interpret. It could relate to the space that’s needed for Hunter to clear a new path in his life, or him setting on a new voyage.
The song tells a lot about Hunters emotional state in a brief amount of time. Casey really made sure to put plenty of foreshadowing here, as there’s a lot of themes that come back throughout Act II. This album has a lot more substance than the previous one and I hope to try and get through these with as much accuracy as I can.
As always thank you for reading, The Procession has been posted simultaneously to this entry, so be sure to read that one next. If you want to stay updated you can subscribe by email in the footer of the page, and if you enjoyed this and want to support the site you can donate in the footer as well. I have plenty of free time at the moment so I’m excited to get a lot of this project done in the near future.