A million faces gazing upwards in wonder

Skyscrapers in the fog
Image by https://unsplash.com/@matthewwiebe

Early inspiration for Airship

Many years ago, I was introduced to VNV Nation. The album was Futureperfect (2002). From the first minute, I was hooked. The track that captured my imagination most was “Airships”, the final track on the album. It planted the seeds for what ultimately became my own Airship, nearly a decade and a half later. Their lyrics describe someone watching an airship as it flies above a city, reflected in the skyscrapers, “splendid and graceful”. The onlooker joins a host of others, amazed and rejoicing at the sight:

I was not alone, I think it was the first time
Watching you rise splendid and graceful.
I cheered as you sailed, a greatness unknown,
I laughed as I waved, imagined you saw me.
In the streets of the city, the windows of buildings,
A million faces gazing upwards in wonder,
A million faces together and cheering and smiling!
You were the warmth of their hearts, you were the sum of their dreams.
In the coldness of morning you brought warmth to their lives,
Giving this feeling of wonder I could not imagine,
You unlocking these thoughts no book and no picture could ever convey.
This feeling and morning had opened a door.
I stepped into a new world, I watched you fly,
Saw you as a friend, the spirit of dreams,
Imagined a new world, lands far away,
And imagined those faces as you hung in their sky.

— From “Airships” by VNV Nation, Futureperfect (2002)

I breathe a sigh of longing whenever I listen to that song; it is otherworldly and inspiring. It describes what I felt when I wrote the music for Airship. I wanted to capture and convey that feeling of wonder. I hope I have succeeded.


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