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  • Ian Tai

'Smoke And Mirrors'

A screenshot of the RCS Software from Hacking Team, taken from Keith Rozario's blog at

It's 2015. I'd just read Keith Rozario's brilliant, brilliant summary of the Hacker Team scandal that nobody seemed to pay any heed to. I'm freaked out, because the situation is dire. It's unfair. It's frustrating. It's a comedy of errors. The Malaysian Government paid for software to allegedly spy on prominent members of the other side, yet the folks in the agencies meant to use the tools were too inept to actually use them. I'm not doing Mr. Rozario's summation any justice. It's a very worthwhile read.

For some strange reason, right after reading it, I thought of the two magpie-like spies from the Spy vs. Spy shorts on Mad TV. Going at it, bathed in darkness. A Cold War, bound to feelings of paranoia, suspicion and futility. People just wanting to be left in peace to lead their lives, free from duress. Thus, 'Smoke And Mirrors' was born.

The first thing that kicks in is a timeless progression that's been featured many times in the past, from ZZ Top's 'La Grange', to our friend Kien Lim's 'Demon's Door'. That progression is as badass as it gets.

When the song was written, I was imagining the theatrical snarl of Matt Bellamy breathing life into the chorus:

You, you with that rage, you with that soul, they're gonna take it.

Obviously, nobody in The Propositions is as vocally prodigious as Mr. Bellamy. He's truly a unicorn.

= = = = = = = = = =

The song itself comes from a place of distrust. A place of fear. And if I can be cheeky for just a minute, the city that the song's protagonist wants to see burnt is a particular administrative capital. Luckily, we don't have such desires anymore. I should hope not.

But we should always be wary of the fact that a shawl can be pulled over our eyes. We need to be vigilant as people, because we owe it to ourselves to see past the, ahem, smoke and mirrors. The truth will prevail. And we will be left in peace.

(Don't worry, I don't wear a tin foil hat to work. Yet.)

If you've seen us play the song before this, what does it mean to you? We'd really love to hear your take on it! Sound off by sounding on underneath.

#newmusic #thepropositionsarego #rock #malaysia #malaysianmusic #indiemusic #indierock #thepropositions #music #hackerteam #spyware #spying #patriotact #civilrights #civilliberty

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