The Difference Engine

by Mark Hennessey

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A massively solo EP. Thematically, most songs deal with the results of a specific set of circumstances, and consider how different things might be if those circumstances were even slightly altered.


released April 4, 2016

All elements of production, from the first lyrics to the final package by Mark Hennessey. But a very special thank you must go out to anyone who lent their ears, speakers, and/or tolerance to this project -- it would not exist without you.

And an even more special thank you to Charles Babbage for creating the name of this work and, however distantly, the means to make it at all.



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Mark Hennessey Reading, Pennsylvania

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Track Name: Limited Resources
You have ten days
And no money
An unsuitable place
For the work you must do
For your pride

For no other reason
To hell with convention
Such inconvenient rules
For the work you must do
For your soul

It's long past time to dismiss
Creative prejudice
Like how, “That's not real,” or, “What will they think?”
And “The way I grew up with is the only way that's right”

You have ten days
Track Name: Sentinel
What cruel misfortune has befallen you
To be born in New York in the winter of ‘32?
‘Twas preordained
So far beyond your earthly control

And we don’t want to see you suffocate
But the cells inside your head won’t cease to dissipate
We contemplate
What your continued existence means

What it means for you
What it means for those around you
What it means for the memory of you
And you will sit there
So numb and unaware of
How your life depends so much on
Eleven tiny capsules every day

The days have come when your own family
Is veiled by neurological mystery
You pierce the fog
For one exhilarating hour

And we don’t want to see you obfuscate
The bedroom one year in you cannot yet locate
We contemplate
What your continued existence means

What it means for you
What it means for those around you
What it means for the memory of you
And I will sit there
So cold and well-aware of
How your life depends so much on
Eleven tiny capsules every day

Holding formation while the others are all away on the journey of life and
Keeping watch over your deterioration is not how I planned to spend my time
Track Name: All the Glory (The Illusion of Control)
He may not have realized it at the time, but his birth into an affluent family was nothing short of a personal achievement. This achievement was built upon as well as it possibly could have been during the course of his childhood and his early adulthood -- you need only ask his parents.

A good student, and a friend to most, he was accepted into his school of choice with hardly a second thought. As a finishing touch, he secured employment in his chosen field even before he donned his cap and gown.

He accomplished this through pure hard work and nothing else, or so he told himself, forgetting about his upbringing. He was not entirely wrong, as he did put a considerable amount of effort into making it so far, but at some point, rational perspective gave way to something more sinister.

If he was able to be so successful, then what excuse did anyone else have?

This tacit assumption that all people exist on a level playing field is not unique to this young, cisgendered white man. He was successful, and it was all his doing. He had complete control over his life, as did everyone else, regardless of the quality of their lives. Indeed, anyone who was unable to pursue their dreams is an abject failure. Why couldn’t they just work harder? Why couldn’t they just kick their addictions? Why did they have to be so goddamn depressed all the time?

These questions and more echoed between his temples as he drove home late one night, having discussed them with other equally privileged peers. Secure in their self-assessment, they could not for the life of them find the answers.

But he need not worry, for several miles down the road -- moving rapidly towards him -- an inebriated driver was more than willing to offer his input.

And lest we forget, our subject is 100% in control of absolutely everything that happens to him.

All the foresight
All the choices
All the input
All the power
All the glory
Track Name: The Bending of the Light
The screen finally dims around six AM
Revealing the detail of a thousand distant suns
Having spent the night shrouded in neglect
They shall disappear by the time I fade away as well

The bending of the light disturbs my sentience
But, in truth, it has never meant any harm
I have often argued it is a tool to be utilized
Why I never embrace that view, I may never know

Half a lifetime ago I proclaimed the following:
That people do indeed change over time
An old acquaintance of mine proclaimed otherwise
Both of us correct, and both of us not

Within each person lie static facets
Elements of personality residing on a fundamental level
So ingrained they cannot be changed
It is to these, we discover, we must adapt

The bending of the light disturbs my sentience
It tells me these words may not sit well with others
Society tells me that that is a bad thing
But I'm not looking to be marketable – not right now