The point of philosophy, many have said, is that a question is only worth asking if the asnwer generates more questions. It's the way the Legendary Pink Dots have always worked; forever on the move, a continual process of exploration, where each discovery acts as a new point of departure.
"Tanith and the Lion Tree" takes up the Dots' lineage (stretching back over 10 years) and takes it further out still, but, this time, seer and lead singer, EDWARD KA-SPEL, has decided on a temporary solo voyage. Like before, its network of moods, processions and hallucinatory tales flourish and surrender to each other, but they've never been quite as disperse as this, subsuming into near silence as each element communicates and responds among the most delicate of threads. It's like playing Chinese Whispers in Little Nemo's Slumberland.
Ka-Spel has built up his own world through TLPD, so, was "Tanith" a deliberate continuation?
"In a way," he says, "everything I do seems to have that kind of tendency towards it. Even with the new Dots' album, that comes out soon, there are scenes that relate to what's gone on before. It's like an ever-widening tapestry. You gradually fill in the colours and make it a bit more detailed. It's never complete, so there's always a little bit of white that needs to be filled in, and you can fill it with one colour, or you could make it another little universe in itself."
How real is this world for you?
"It's real enough, because I've been living in it for so many years now you begin to wonder what is real, and what isn't. Have you ever had an experience where you have this very vivid memory where you've done something? Maybe it's a childhood memory, and you talk to your parents about it and they say, `What are you talking about? That never happened.' It becomes apparent that you're remembering a dream you had in your childhood."
Tanith has a similar effect, as if it inhabits a strange borderworld between the concrete and the non-existent, a recollection you can't quite place.
"That's the sort of thing I try to put in writing," Ka-Spel explains. "I've had a lot of experiences that way. It's disorienting, it makes you question your entire history in the cold, hard reality. It feels less important in fact, and the fantasy, to me, shares that reality."
People only enquire into the world around them to discover what their place in it is, but, since your world is never fully apparent, and all the elements you create can never be traced back to souce, this must be a very inconclusive project.
"I think that's the story of TLPD. It ever expands, and becomes more colourful. It's never complete, it never can be complete."
Impossibility; the language of faith, the purest motivation.