Octo Realm/Ketamine Sun



a) Hi! I'm Spliffhead I like to lie on the floor (2)
b) Hello, I'm Girlie
c) I'm Rob and I'm cynical
d) Hi! I'm Ketamine Kettison
e) Hi! I'm Julia and I'm Schoolie
f) I'm Smith
g) Hi! I'm Smartass at the computer
h) Hi! I'm Skunklad
New Programme: The Kettisons

Your kids are making queerer sounds
Your little dog moans
You don't need all this hassle because your brain is a seed
Anthony takes a front tooth
We count them all at least K Sun - AK/AK like a wise one
Your brother's in the pen but then you see your electromorph (3)
And you can't even describe it because you're a K sun
You are a piece of slop  (4)
Can't say it any better
You took a TV and nailed it to the bench of a jeweller
Your mum's moustache needs fixing
Dad's washing up for one Ketamine Sun
All stoolpigeons need tea, even at six foot one
You're a walking tower of Adidas crap at a cobblers four times a month
Ketamine Sun


I was right but now I'm wrong
I loved you now and now you're gone
I was a goddamn fool, you taught me that
But I look out at
K-K-Ketamine Sun 

Life is like a holy war
Destroyed my life and the ties that bind
Take it - my world's destroyed
Take it
K-K-Ketamine Sun

Behind the clouds
For me
Like I did it
'Cos I'm
K-K-Ketamine Sun


1. Technically these are two separate songs, but they comprise a single track on The Unutterable and are thematically linked. "Octo Realm" marks the exact point where The Unutterable makes the transition from a relatively tight Fall album to something stranger and less focused, though not uninteresting at any point. The lyrics here are handed back and forth among the band (see note 2 below). For the first 43 seconds we are treated to the idea that the band members are characters in a new sit-com called The Kettisons, although it doesn't last long enough to give us any idea what the premise is; the pursuit of the idea is rather desultory and the song soon moves on. From 0.44 to 1.38 MES takes over the mic and, in an odd and unplaceable, but vaguely Southern, American accent, rants a little in a vein that may still have something to do with the sitcom idea; then, at 1.39, Tom Head strikes up the beat of "Ketamine Sun," and after a couple of bars the band kicks us into a gorgeously hazy psychedelic dream.

Ketamine is a veterninary anaesthetic, and when used recreationally is a powerful dissociative psychedelic, in certain dosages inducing out of body experiences, ego loss and a breakdown of temporal cognition. The Story of the Fall humorously identifies the theme of the whole thing as "the new Ketamine drug sweeping the nation's slobs," but of course as he is aware there is not, and has never been, any such epidemic. I don't think the idea is so much to imagine a world where Ketamine plays the role of crack or methamphetamine among those who can't balance their drug habits with the more functional aspects of their lives; rather, the overall tenor of life as a drug addict and cultural misfit is figured as the unreality and dissociation of a Ketamine trip. At the same time, the gauzy lushness of the latter half of the song introduces a dreamy beauty into the mix, even as the narrator wistfully recounts the aftermath of a failed love affair. We're left wondering whether a Ketamine high is a symbol of his subsequent alienation and half-hearted stab at genuine depression, or whether he drifted away from his loved one in the throes of a (literal or figurative) trip. Either way, the narrator of "Ketamine Sun" bears little resemblance to the goofy losers of "Octo Realm." It should be acknowledged, however, that this does not necessarily indicate the suture of the two halves is ill-advised; we may be witnessing the disjunction between a superficial view of an alienated existence, which is always debased and ridiculous when viewed from the outside, and the interior grandeur of the alienated consciousness which speaks in an idealized voice which, by dint of its alienation, cannot be made dramatically audible in the third person.

The song is written off of Lou Reed's "Kill Your Sons," from which it borrows the chord pattern and basic melody, but which it does not much resemble in terms of feel and overall effect. According to Julia Adamson (Julia Nagle):

“I had probably heard it at some point in the past as I’m quite familiar with Velvets material, but find some of Lou’s solo material too dour.” As for how The Fall came to record it and include it in their live shows for four years, “I remember Mark and I agreed that we could turn it into our own as has been the case with occasional 'inspired by' songs. There was also this joking sort of fatherly thing going on between MES and Nev (Wilding)”
Julia goes on to say, “I think the song was partly about this ‘surrogate paternal’ relationship, not sure whose idea it was initially, probably Mark’s. When we recorded the vocals at Grant’s (Showbiz) in London, Mark did this really stuttering chorus ‘k.k.k.ket...a.mine’ sounding like a seizure. It wasn’t as nice on the ears as another vocal take, but MES and I were really wanting this to be used., as it was reflective of how dangerous drug taking is, but Grant wanted the song to sound nice and when it came to the final mix this vocal take was left out.”
2.  According to Reformation the singers are as follows: "a) Grant Showbiz; b) the recording studio's secretary; c) Voiceprint head honcho Rob Ayling; d) Grant again; e) Julia Nagle; f) MES; g) the sound engineer; h) Julia again" (I have corrected the lettering; on the site 'd' sppears twice in a row).
3. According to the Online Medical Dictionary, an electromorph is  "A mutant form of a protein, phenotypically distinguished by its electrophoretic mobility." I have no idea what any of that means.
4, On "Sons of Temperance," earlier on the same album, the narrator addresses someone as an "androgenous piece of slop." It would seem that the hallmark of slop is that it is undifferentiated, raising the question whether there could be a "piece" of slop.

More Information

Octo Realm: Fall Tracks A-Z

Ketamine Sun: Fall Tracks A-Z (there's a lot more on both songs here, check it out)

The Story of the Fall: 2000

Comments (11)

  • 1. dannyno | 22/04/2014
"Your brother's in the pen but you see your electromorph "

I hear "but then you see..."
  • 2. Sam | 25/01/2015
When was this article written? There very much WAS a ketamine craze, back in about 2006 or so it started, but just among the young'uns. It's still pretty popular now, that and Internet research chemicals. I dunno why, I think it's horrible.

Apparently a lot of people just don't take to ketamine. Some do, and another chunk really like it. My mate can just space away to whatever bleepy nonsense is on his headphones. Myself, I got a sudden excess of awareness of the type that made me stop smoking weed. I can't cope with all the horror at once, right in front of my face.

Though this was years after "Ketamine Sun" came out. But we're in the sticks, maybe those cool Manchester kids started doing it years before. Or maybe, as in the time MES presciently blew up Manchester City Centre, there's more to that Tarot bollocks than you'd think.
Sam again
  • 3. Sam again | 25/01/2015
And, since nobody asked...

"A mutant form of a protein, phenotypically distinguished by its electrophoretic mobility."

A genotype is a gene that causes a particular configuration, ie the gene for blue eyes.
A phenotype is that gene expressed as it's characteristic, ie having blue eyes.

So here the phenotype is the actual protein, produced by whichever gene.

Electrophoresis is like chromatography, where you separate compounds in a mixture by seeing how far they soak up a piece of paper. You did it at school. Only instead of a piece of paper, electrophoresis uses gel, with a voltage applied across it. Different compounds will travel further along according to their nature. That travel is their "mobility".

Now you know the trouble MES has to go to to write all this for you.

What I wanna know, is why is Julia Nagle a schoolie? Surely she left a while ago. And why's she Skunklad? Doesn't, er, immediately make sense. Phenotypal electrophoretoc mobility is a piece of piss compared to that.
  • 4. Martin | 03/10/2015
Re note 2:

(I have corrected the lettering; on the site 'd' sppears twice in a row).

The site lettering has now been corrected; "sppears" on this one not yet!

Lol, as they say...
Michael Weller
  • 5. Michael Weller | 04/01/2017
I love these annotations! Thank you for sharing all of this.

A suggestion: I think the third line is "I'm Rob & I'm cynical"...?
  • 6. bzfgt | 28/01/2017
Thank you Michael, for the compliment and the correction. I can't hear it distinctly but I'll take your word for it, we'll see if anyone with keener ears than I takes exception to the correction. Anyway it seems very likely as I see my note identifies the speaker as someone named Rob.
  • 7. Zack | 19/02/2017
Last verse:

"I did it 'cause I'm"
  • 8. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
You mean just add "it" or is anything dropped? Sorry, I am listening to other stuff for other notes, just tell me if I have it right.

Should I add a note about the Octo-mom?

No, of course not, but it is impressive "pre-cog"...which is to say, comparatively more impressive than most other "pre-cog"...I'm very diplomatic about "pre-cog," you see.
Martin Peters
  • 9. Martin Peters | 15/04/2017
"You're a walking tower of Adidas crap at a cobblers four times a month
Ketamine Sun
Ketamine Sun"

Only one "Ketamine Sun" sung/said here, I think.
  • 10. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
I took your word for it, someone will correct us if it's wrong.
  • 11. bzfgt (link) | 13/05/2017
Also some of the lyrics have repetitions I've left out. For some reason in the early days I didn't like the aesthetics of printing all the repetitions, now I mostly include them...I have no real justification either way.

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