Exogenesis Symphony
by Muse

Album: The Resistance (2009)

Songfacts®:

  • The final track from The Resistance is a fully orchestrated symphony divided into three movements about mankind leaving Earth and populating another planet. The title refers to the hypothesis that life originated elsewhere in the universe and was spread to our planet via seeds. Singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy told Mojo magazine August 2009: "It's not orchestration you'd normally expect from a rock band and we've done all the arranging and scoring."
  • Bellamy described the piece to Scotland on Sunday as "an imaginary sci-fi film, where part one is showing this end of-the-world scenario, this dystopian nightmare where everything's come to its end. And a group of astronauts has been selected to travel into space to take the human species elsewhere. Then part two is the idea that they're launching away from the Earth with all these hopes and fears of what might happen. And part three is them arriving at a new planet, some kind of virgin planet, and the whole evolution process starts again. But in the process there's a realisation that maybe this is part of some cycle of human DNA travelling across the universe. Evolutionary pockets succeeding and failing in different types of planet. The whole three-part thing was based around that idea really."
  • The creation of this symphony dates in part to the writing period around the band's third album, Absolution (2003), and was further encouraged by Bellamy's writing of the end title music for Clive Owen's 2008 thriller The International. He told Billboard magazine: "I hope it'll surprise people with the subtlety of the orchestration. I don't think 'Exogenesis' is deliberately flamboyant in any way. Although if someone was to read the song title, they'd probably expect some really '70s prog-rock, Rush-style symphony."
  • Bellamy told The Sun September 16, 2009 the evolution of the symphony: "Part 1 (Overture) has this really simple arpeggio. I'd been playing it on the piano when I was just doodling around or practising before a concert. I never considered it a possibility but Dom (Howard, drums) and Chris (Wolstenholme, bass) heard it so we said, 'Look, shall we try to do something more classical.' The challenge was getting the bass and drums involved with that style of piano work in a way that still sounded like a cross between classical and what Muse stands for-rock music."
  • Bellamy insisted to The Sunday Times August 23 2009 that he isn't merely a "dabbler" in classical music; it's more complicated than that. He said: "A lot of Muse songs, in my mind, were probably far more elaborate and more orchestrated in the way that I heard them. I often imagine them played by a symphony orchestra, or sung by a large choir, or in an operatic setting. If you have that sort of active imagination, you're going to be drawn towards classical music. It's difficult not to sound aloof, but if anything, I'd say I'm dabbling in rock. People associate the band with science fiction, with theories about the universe, about geo­politics and all that sort of stuff, and I've certainly gone on a lot about those things, but I think one of the reasons I've moved towards them is because, when I'm hearing or thinking about a certain piece of music, it can conjure up such large, existential-type feelings, emotions and ideas. If I'd been listening to Berlioz or Beethoven in the 19th century, I would probably have said to you, 'I'm hearing the sound of God.' In the modern secular world, and given the fact that I'm not religious, I turn to other subjects, be it ideas about space, or political questions."
  • Songwriter Charles Bollfrass sued Muse's record company, Warner Brothers, in 2012 claiming the band ripped off his idea to create a "cinematic science-fiction rock opera" called 'Exogenesis.' He said his project, like Muse's trilogy of tracks was based around an apocalyptic sci-fi tale in which mankind hopes a team of astronauts can find humanity a new home. Bollfrass alleged that he approached Muse about writing the score, but was told Muse were not interested. Three years later "Exogenesis" appeared on The Resistance with just about an identical plot line.

    Muse branded the lawsuit "complete nonsense" in response. A band spokesman said: "The claim is categorically denied. It appears to be based on a 'screenplay' the band never received or saw, produced by someone the band has never heard of."

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