Ad Astral Podcast, Episode 21:


Submitted by DJ Burnham on Tuesday 13th August 2013

(Hierarchy was written in September 2012 on Syros in Greece. This is its first appearance.)

Hierarchy started off by mulling over the old thoughts about so much power being in the hands of just a few, about the pointless wste of life, about how the armed services, government, the police, intelligence agencies all operate to a certain extent in hierarchy and how the lower orders are almost treated akin to puppets. That was the point at which I thought about combining the concepts. Like so many Russian dolls, each successive reveal could be the end point, right up to the Generals, and that was nearly it. I was about to right a closing scene with the military chiefs being answerable to senior government, but I thought "That's a bit boring", what if they were being unwittingly manipulated in turn? I took the faceless analysts alluded to by the Generals and made them a separate species altogether with their own agenda.

You'll notice in this episode, in previous work, and in future work that I give spaceships particular names, such as The Proact Appropriation Ship Lack of Compromise. This is by way of a tribute to the late, great Iain M Banks.

The original artwork shows the marionette gantry, animatronic hands and the hiearchy of control with a question as to who is really in control.


Our Guest Voice Actors:

Simon Taylor (AKA “The Doc of Rock” or Jimmy Beige) is a multi-faceted guitarist who (along with Miles Jeffcoate) plays in the popular cheesy beat combo "The Brown Stripes", who have taken Brighton by storm since May 2005 and are now known as "Hanover's Worst Kept Secret". He is also in the rock power quartet "Tortishead" AND was a founder member of the internationally renowned Jethro Tull tribute band "The Dayglo Pirates" AND a newly-formed instrumental prog rock leviathan to be known as “Molecule”. In his spare time, Jimmy dabbles in the dark arts of "The Physics". He was also a founder member of “The Natural Transport Company”.
Find out more at,, and




Thanks to Roy Harper for giving his kind permission for us to use the track "The War Came Home Tonight" as the intro and outro music for this episode. It seemed apposite with the story content and it was a privilege to be able to use Roy's music in association with Ad Astral. I've been a fan of Roy's work for almost 30 years and lucky enough to have worked with him in the 90s promoting his Brighton concerts. It's all go at the moment for Roy, although as he said himself recently "I thought I'd retired!" With an appearance on Jules Holland's show in 2011, a 70th birthday gig at the Royal Festival Hall, plaudits from a younger generation of musicians (including Joanna Newsom, Jonathon Wilson and Fleet Foxes), winning BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement Award at the end of January, various festival appearances and a new album called 'Man and Myth" (see album cover above) due for release on September 23rd on Bella Union, he's hardly resting on his laurels. He's also playing three gigs soon:

Tuesday 22 October – LONDON – Royal Festival Hall
Friday 25 October – MANCHESTER – Bridgewater Hall
Sunday 27 October – BRISTOL – Colston Hall

You can find out more about Roy at and hear "Time is Temporary" from the new album.

Roy Harper Website

Two podcasts in which Dave and Sue were interviewed in 2008 about the music of Roy Harper and their involvement in promoting gigs for him and his son Nick - and a short chat about Dave's writing.

The Roy Harper Podcast: Episode 8

The Roy Harper Podcast: Episode 10

Back in 1994 Dave interviewed Roy Harper upstairs at the Half Moon music venue in Putney. The interview was transcribed and appeared in Issue 18 of the Ptolemaic Terrascope. Dave found the original tape recording recently but when played back it made Roy and Dave sound like Pinky and Perky. However, Paul Davison, who hosts the Roy Harper podcast, managed to play about with that recording and it now sounds great.

The Roy Harper Podcast: Episode 26


Sound Effects


Many come from The Freesound Project.

Other effects:

Various from Apple’s Garageband library.

Other effects tailor-made by Ad Astral.


Scene 1
Marching = fort.wav by mattbronka of the FreeSound Project
Rainfall = UnderTreeInRain.mp3 by acclivity of the FreeSound Project
Trumpet = taps-scTrumpet.wav by prico of the FreeSound Project
Battle sounds = Background shooting 120.wav by cam.dudes of the FreeSound Project
Mortar explosions = Explosion 1.wav by Deganoth of the FreeSound Project
Rifle shot = 308_rifle_01.wav by gezortenplotz of the FreeSound Project
Bullet past ear = Bullet_whiz.wav by CGEffex of the FreeSound Project
Collapse = crumple to floor by Ad Astral
Scene 2
Battle sounds = Background shooting 120.wav by cam.dudes of the FreeSound Project
Wooden Gantry = malexmedia_woodbangA.wav & malexmedia_woodbangB.wav by malexmedia of the FreeSound Project
Conveyor = Rolling Metal Conveyor Belt.wav by Razzvio of the FreeSound Project
Antigrav plate disembark = engine 007.wav by DJ Chronos of the FreeSound Project
Departing antigrav plate = engine 008.wav by DJ Chronos of the FreeSound Project
Hydraulic platoon lift = Estlack_liftB_2.aif by estlacksensory of the FreeSound Project
Manipulator walk = stomps robot walk.wav by ErikH2000 of the FreeSound Project
Door into manipulators’ quarters = 6505 granulated.wav by AlienXXX of the FreeSound Project PLUS wow.wav by ERH of the FreeSound Project
Moving into manipulator dock = what do robots dream about?.aif by Tomlija of the FreeSound Project
Data download = mini-glitch3.mp3 by JOJOKYRA of the FreeSound Project
Scene 3

Teleoperator in action = SciFi Computer-1.wav by Andrewthomson of the FreeSound Project
Teleoperator rises up = lg freight elevator.wav by lgarrett of the FreeSound Project
Click of baseplate = btn006.wav by junggle of the FreeSound Project
Hiss of baseplate = unassignable_fizzling_scifi.mp3 by Connum of the FreeSound Project
Teleoperator dome and operation = mfo3b745s64 sci fi synth.wav by ERH of the FreeSound Project (who has a magnificent range of superb sounds)
Pinpoint lazers locking on = 3D Magic Wand tinkle_16bit.wav by Timbre of the FreeSound Project
Pre-engagement check display dismissal = Portal.wav by zimbot of the FreeSound Project
Red circle blink = blink.wav by pera zimbot of the FreeSound Project
Pop-up screen beep = Sci Fi Beep 04.wav by CGEffex of the FreeSound Project

Scene 4
Power down = Power Down by peepholecircus of the FreeSound Project
Pop of helmet coming off = Wine Bottle Opening.wav by baidonovan of the FreeSound Project
Dice = Dice Rolling - Dungeon and Dragons by joanneneedsthesound Sonicfreak of the FreeSound Project
Hiss, gloves, computer voice etc = by Ad Astral

Scene 5
Immersion room ambience = Computer Room Ambience Beep Small Room Noisy.wav by mzui of the FreeSound Project
Space ship background ambience = Space Ambience.wav by Sonicfreak of the FreeSound Project
Background music to the Analysts’ story = sci fi ttn 1 b3 2.wav by ERH of the FreeSound Project
Background music to Spaceship above Earth = gg o2 b2 18 sci fi orch 4.wav and ph o b8 119 sci orch.wav by ERH of the FreeSound Project

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