Tool Lateralus

I was reading a Cracked article the other day about hidden easter eggs on famous albums. The one that most caught my eye was about the Tool album Lateralus. It mentioned that on the title track the lyric structure was was built using the Fibonacci sequence. Not only that, but also the tracks were meant to be rearranged so that they flow better. I had heard of this before, but never really looked into it. I finally decided to see if there was anything to it.

I love Lateralus. It’s a great record, top to bottom. Like most people though, I usually skip over 2 songs: Mantra & Faaip de Oiad. They both seemed out of  place to me, especially Faaip de Oiad since it came after over 2 minutes of silence from the end of the previous song, yet wasn’t a hidden track. So I  started to think that maybe there is something to the re-ordering of tracks.


Fibonacci Spiral

Fibonacci Spiral

The first thing I did was laid out the Fibonacci sequence to the number 13 (0 1 1 2 3 5 8 13). I figured it was significant since that’s how many tracks there were on the album, and 13 is a Fibonacci number. I couldn’t see how reordering them into the Fibonacci sequence would work this way. You lose half the album, or the rest just gets placed at the end. So then I started thinking, maybe the numbers match up to equal 13. Something like this for example: (13) (1 12) (2 11) (3 10) (4 9) (5 8) (6 7). It still didn’t seem correct to me, so I started searching.

The first thing I ran across in my search was a post on Tripod. I don’t think it was originally posted there because in looking more I found the exact same thing on multiple sites. What he came up with is similar to what I had, grouping the numbers so they add to 13. The difference being is he created a spiral. He started at track 6 and then to 7 and continued outward to the end. The track listing he came up with was 6 7 5 8 4 9 3 10 2 11 1 12 13. He also removed any silence at the beginning and end of the tracks. Then for reasons I still don’t quite understand from his post, he moved track 13 to the center and started back at one. His new track list was now 6 7 5 8 4 9 13 1 12 2 11 3 10. He calls this list “The Holy Gift”.

After I listened to this rearrangement I could see how it was starting to fit. Parabol and Parabola should go together no matter what. They are actually a perfect opening to the album. I felt that Mantra fits extreamly well right after Ticks & Leeches. Faaip de Oiad is now the center and is like an intermission of the album, making it have 2 parts. Even some of the transitions seemed to work much better like going from Schism to Ticks & Leeches.

I do have a couple problems though. First off, Disposition/Reflection/Triad are supposed to go together just as much as Parabol & Parabola. They should never be split in my opinion. From what I understand they were supposed to be one track to begin with. Next, the 2 minutes of silence is there for a reason on Triad. Now that track is much closer to the middle than the end. I understand that he removed the silence, but I think the tracks were recorded exactly how they were supposed to be heard. That long silence in the middle of the record is just awkward.

In this person’s article he says that Danny Carey stated that he created the drumming for the track Lateralus using the Fibonacci sequence. I cannot find any reference to this at all. I did however find an old Spin article which is, what I am assuming, what has caused the confusion. Carey says of the song “It was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 17th step of the Fibonacci sequence (in which each integer is equal to the sum of the preceding two). So that was cool.” This sounds to me that they did not intend for the music itself to contain the Fibonacci sequence, but it was embedded in the time signature, though not on purpose. However, Maynard does include the Fibonacci sequence, somewhat, in the lyrics:

black [1]
then [1]
white are [2]
all I see [3]
in my infancy [5]
red and yellow then came to be [8]
reaching out to me [5]
lets me see [3]

there is [2]
so [1]
much [1]
more and [2]
beckons me [3]
to look through to these [5]
infinite possibilities [8]

as below so above and beyond I imagine [13]
drawn outside the lines of reason [8]
push the envelope [5]
watch it bend [3]

As you can see, the syllables match up to the sequence. It’s not exactly the Fibonacci because it starts to reverse. They are all Fibonacci numbers though.

After deciding that “The Holy Gift” wasn’t exactly perfect I went back to coming up with my own playlist. Here is what I came up with:

6. Parabol
7. Parabola
5. Schism
8. Ticks & Leeches
4. Mantra
9. Lateralus
13. Faaip de Oiad
1. The Grudge
2. Eon Blue Apocalypse
3. The Patient
10. Disposition
11. Reflection
12. Triad

Parabol/Parabola always go together, there is no question. They also make a great opener to the album. Parabola transitions nicely into Schism. I’m sure that if I removed the silence at the end of Parabola it would feel pretty cohesive. The drumming at the end of Schism go extremely well with the drumming of the opening of Ticks & Leeches. Another beautiful transition. Ticks & Leeches ends with the line “I hope that you choke”. In my opinion it makes Mantra fit perfectly after it now. I found out that Mantra is a slowed down version of Maynard squeezing his cat. It almost sounds like someone dying. Then it leads right into the title track Lateralus. There is a slight buzz at the end of Lateralus which almost seems to come back in at the beginning of Faaip de Oiad. This track is from an old Coast to Coast broadcast. The buzzing and drumming just seem like an intermission to me. The transition from Faaip de Oiad into The Grudge is one of the best of the reordering to me. The Grudge, Eon Blue Apocalypse and The Patient were already perfect together. As I said before, Disposition/Reflection/Triad should never be split up. Going from The Patient to Disposition is another nice transition. Triad always seemed like a great closing track in my opinion. Then it leaves with 2:13 of silence.

Ultimately though, the tracklisting they choose is probably the correct one and I’m just over thinking it.

“Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind.”

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