In Greek mythology, Ixion and Tantalus were both legendary for their extreme hubris and the dire consequences that befell them as a result. Each was granted an audience with the gods, and betrayed the generosity shown to them. So many tales abound of the transgressions these two figures made against the gods that there is no one story to explain their unique fates. Yet it is precisely these unenviable fates for which they are most remembered.
In its most simple form, the tale of Ixion is that he was invited to visit Mount Olympus, but he foolishly repaid this hospitality by determining to have an affair with Zeus’ wife, Hera. Ixion thought he had succeeded in his conquest, but the “Hera” he had coupled with was in fact only a decoy created by Zeus as a trap. As punishment for his ingratitude, Ixion was bound to a ceaselessly spinning wheel and flung up into the sky, doomed to circle the universe for eternity.
Tantalus was granted a dinner with the gods, but in his extreme contempt for them, he went so far as to have his own son killed, dismembered, cooked, and mixed in with the feast to be served. Once the gods discovered his treachery, they devised another eternal punishment: Tantalus was made immortal, given an unquenchable hunger and thirst, and chained to a tree. At his feet was water, yet if he stooped to drink from it, the water receded from his hands. Above his head, the tree branches were filled with fruit; yet if he reached for the branches, they bent upwards beyond his grasp. Once Tantalus gave up, the things he yearned for returned to their tantalizing vicinity, to taunt him anew.
In this manner, both Ixion and Tantalus were doomed to spend eternity in total agony, left with nothing to do but brood and contemplate the consequences of their cavalier actions. Yet did they feel remorse, or instead plot countless revenges they would never have the chance to enact? This album was inspired by the cautionary tales of Ixion and Tantalus, both trapped in a private hell of eternal introspection with no opportunity to act on their endless ruminations.
Composed, produced, performed, & mixed by David Herpich. Mastered by Mark Stolk. Photography by David Herpich. Released August 7, 2009.