The Loquacious Lipograms of
Left-wing Utopia

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2

New sophistication

World Assembly rankings consistently rank Zwangzug as a particularly cultured country; see here for general information about life and society. Pre-consolidation, the country's traditions were diverse but heterogeneous from city to city, and there was little national identity. Now, some distinctive features of small groups are slowly being subsumed, but other small cities remain insular and maintain their own cultures. It's difficult to generalize about Zwangzugian attitudes, but its citizens are particularly individualist given their economic tendencies, walking a fine line between egalitarianism and meritocracy while trying to embrace the best of both.

Its most famous visual artist (which is honestly not saying much) is most likely Maurits van Huys, who based much of his work around fractals. In general, neoclassical and surrealist art are more prevalent than baroque or Romantic styles. Music is far more popular; the country's musical tradition goes back a long way, back to a bunch of guys throwing in Picardy thirds because they were (and remain) cool. The past composer of greatest note is Anton Magrit, whose piano compositions are still cult classics to this day, their appeal only slightly dampened by the recent revelation that they were merely warm-up exercises.

English (both Descriptive and Algebraic, written very differently) is the de facto official language of Zwangzug; there is none de jure.

Many works of literature have been produced in the nation: the list of its donations to the World History Library provide some sense of what contributions were considered its greatest at that time. Other than that, notable works from the past include Cien Muertos, a Spanish-language book by Neftali Torres. Its fame is mostly due to the fact that it contained most of the national literature's body count (and therefore quality, in the minds of the frustratingly-influential Unhappiness Is Good literary school) for the entire sixteenth century.

The country follows the Gregorian calendar. There are few national scheduled days off in the working year, the notable exceptions being January 1, April 4, and December 31. However, this is compensated for by employers giving more vacation days to be taken at employees' choices.

Most major cities contain a newspaper or two. The country's TLD is .zz.

Music today
Modern times have seen the taking-it-a-whole-step-up for the last verse modulation become widespread. Zwangzug has sent representatives to all editions of both the WorldVision Song Contest and the AIDBCA World Tour. Zwangzug corps Haydensky won the first tour, while Zwangzug hosted the second WorldVision competition. Early stars Benny Angle and Red Knight have given way to usually mellow if sometimes indistinguishable rock bands.

Zwangzug has participated in every edition of the WorldVision Song Contest, the only country to do so. It hosted the contest's second edition, and won its sixth, through The Neoreactionaries' performance of "The Pendulum". Since the third contest, Zwangzug's participants have been chosen by popular vote.


Most points given to...

Rank

Country

Points

1

Rejistania

105

2

Kura-pelland

48

3

Cachette de lions

45

4

Wentland

39

=5

Tisiume

36

=5

Kingsley bedford

36

Most points received from...

Rank

Country

Points

1

Rejistania

79

2

Cachette de lions

74

3

Kura-pelland

58

4

Iglesian Archipelago

54

5

Wentland

53


Contest

Artist

Title

Placing

Points

1

Benny Angle

Double Helix

5

77

2

Red Knight

Dance By

4

76

3

Hell's Irate Puppies

Dep Frez

12

36

4

Pi a la Modre

Happy Boredday

7

62

5

Negative Zero

Scene of the Pain

3

72

6

The Neoreactionaries

The Pendulum

1

104

7

Teagan Gremer

Hats

7

63

8

Stuart Sanden's Moderately Sized Ensemble

Never Had Nothin'

9

50

9

Hobbyhoarse

I Think, Therefore I'm Sad

13

41

10

Wingspan

Good Riddance

6

72

11

Dot Net

If I Had Known

4

87

12

Joe Amanza

Not Too Far

7

56

13

Stacey Kettering

Leaving You Behind

8

76

14

Without a Hutch

City Now

7

56

15

Lorna Fauseno

Ripples

18

26

16

Silverlight

Emeritus

16

32

17

OCR

Fries

4

77

18

The Vaults

Dragon Slayer

16

52

19

Samuel Magee

Up

25

27

20

Naomi Kinberry

Without You

21

28

21

Catherine Stemble

What's the Matter

29

3

22

Gen1

Hit the City

24

38

23

Traffic and Weather

Show Me

31

19

24

The Flocharts

Maybe

15

53


The Neoreactionaries were the winners of WorldVision Song Contest 6, performing "The Pendulum". The band was, at the time, comprised of Howie Foslien (vocals), Myron Blankenship (keyboard), Graham Simmonds (percussion), Fergie Bartlow (guitar), and Vince Malin (bass).

Blankenship's accompaniment of Foslien laid the foundations for the group to form: Bartlow quickly joined, followed by Simmonds and bassist Dilbert Vanloan. The band's first album, "Back to the Future", was a quiet enough affair. Its thirteen mellow tracks consist of twelve sets of eminently noncontroversial lyrics, and a 1:26 synthesizer solo on track seven, culminating in "Alone in the Mirror" (3:14).

With a generally tepid reception, the band eagerly pursued its next big project. Rather than a second album, however, it turned its attention to the realm of video games. Their producer, Edgar Harrison, had invested a great deal into "Sing Sing Counterrevolution". Alas, it didn't quite pan out, and the resultant friction within the band led to Vanloan's departure and replacement by Malin.

The band adopted an angrier tone for their second album, "Singing on Eggshells". From the first rocking chords of "Egg Whites" (4:21) all the way to "Fear of Freedom" (3:48), an unmistakable frustration shone through. "The Pendulum", however, synthesized the reflective tone of the first album into a hopeful resolution. (Notably, "Back to the Future" but not "Singing on Eggshells" has been re-released with the WorldVision performance as a bonus track.) Indeed, the song was so distinct from "Egg Whites" that many were unaware that they were indeed from the same album. Controversy over "Egg Whites"-which included generally conservative musical critics defending "wholesome rock and roll"-no doubt propelled the band's name recognition. Meanwhile, "The Pendulum"'s rather utopian themes (and arguably misplaced scientific metaphors) made it a likely choice for (Zwangzugian) fans to vote into WorldVision, which they did. Once there, the song gathered worldwide appeal. It received 104 points, then a record, in Zwangzug's first victory in that contest.

They released two more albums before membership changes began. The third album, "What I Wouldn't Do", begins with "For Rock and Roll" (4:27), whose title is generally considered to be a continuation of the album's. Track eight, however, "Mr. Insufferable", became the CD's most successful single. The Neoreactionaries branched out for their fourth album, "Way to Way". Billed as a rock opera, the fifteen tracks from "Yellow Wood" (3:41) to "Hot Air Balloon" (2:49) are claimed to go in some sort of order. It was not particularly well-received.

Simmonds departed after this to pursue a solo career (his albums are "Days of Peace" and "Upstorm"), and Bartlow retired from performance. They were replaced by Tyler Shadd-Escia on percussion and Kevin Juridon on guitar, and the band has since released one more album, "Enigmagic." Critics consider this in large part a return to the sound of "Back to the Future," including more instrumental sections.


The original album cover

The Marginally Perturbed is a concept album originally composed by Rosalie Elyse and Jane Hone. "Fries," one of the songs, was sung by some of the original singers and came fourth at WorldVision Song Contest 17 representing Zwangzug. The album was adapted into a musical, directed by Jerry Scabe.
  • Primary Colors (Mr. Green, Mr. Orange, Mrs. Purple)

  • Monday Afternoon (Susan, Jenna, Mr. Green)

  • Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained (Jesse, Chris)

  • One in a Million (Jesse, Debra)

  • The Facts of the Matters (Jenna, Jesse, Chris, Susan, Debra)

  • Get Out (Susan, Chris, students)

  • Light Show (all)

  • Brittle (Mr. Orange, Mrs. Purple)

  • Every Single Day (Jesse, Debra)

  • True Colors (Mr. Orange, Mr. Green, Susan)

  • Our Time (Susan, Chris, students)

  • Fries (Jenna, Jesse, Chris, Susan)

  • Sunday Morning (Susan, Jenna)

  • Marginalia (Chris, Susan)

  • Future Imperfect (Mrs. Purple)

  • The Top of the Tower (Chris, Jenna)

  • The Big Picture (Jesse, Susan)

  • Color Commentary (Chris, all)

  • Above the Clouds (Jenna)

In the musical, Debra does not appear. "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained" is merged with "One in a Million," sung by Jesse, Susan, and Chris, and Susan also sings parts of "Every Single Day." Act II begins with "Fries" and continues with "Our Time," then "Sunday Morning." "Marginalia" is not sung, although many of the lines are interspersed as dialogue throughout. Jesse and Mrs. Purple reprise "One in a Million" after "Color Commentary."

Characters:

Character

Voice

Singer

Mr. Green

tenor

Bryan Harworth (album), Arthur Kilkenny (musical)

Mr. Orange

bass

Ollie van Lozos

Mrs. Purple

alto

Joyce Murandy

Susan*

soprano

Eileen Baudelaire

Jenna

alto

Amy Verlander

Jesse

tenor

Rod Sampson

Chris

bass

Patrick Eogham (album), Tony Gim-Lopez (musical)

Debra*

soprano

Gia Hargelak (album, role was cut from musical)

*When Debra was cut from the musical, Susan inherited many of her high notes. Susan's range in the original album is not as high and arguably a mezzo-soprano role.

Some reviews of the musical:

  • "Baudelaire struggles to display multiple aspects of what I assume was supposed to be a three-dimensional character. Sampson, in a slightly expanded role, does a little better, but I wish I'd gotten to see more sides of him before the penultimate number."

  • "Some people will say that moving "Fries" to open the second act just represents a cop to the WorldVision crowd. Personally, I didn't think they went far enough. Putting it at the beginning would have been a quick, tongue-in-cheek way to introduce the characters who are really the heart of the show--instead, we get Mr. Orange, Mr. Green, and Mrs. Purple awkwardly standing around...nowhere in particular. Was there really no budget for the backdrops, or did they all get destroyed in a rehearsal of "Color Commentary"?"

  • "Could have gone farther in interlocking the plotlines. I wanted to see more of Mrs. Purple's backstory while Sampson made the best of a ridiculous line of dialogue."

  • "No one could have lived up to the standard Eogham set for Chris, but Gim-Lopez makes the role his own. Without giving too much away, the staging of Verlander in his scenes with Baudelaire was very nicely done--seeing his insults through the eyes of Verlander's character steadily builds the tension between them for the explosive "Top of the Tower.""

  • "It was a very good show but the concession stands need to get on the whole fries thing fast. They are missing a great marketing opportunity."

Another popular new musical in Zwangzug is Snowballs' Chances, written by Rozenn Marigeno and Hibiki Sato.

  • Chilling (Fannar, Blake, Hui, Amanda)

  • Under Their Pants (Fannar, Hui)

  • Bonus Situation (Blake, Mr. Yukimura)

  • Escalating Slowly (Solveig, Doug)

  • Catching Up (Fannar, Solveig)

  • Astrology (Doug, Hui)

  • Sheeple (Blake, Amanda, Solveig)

  • The Perks of Percussion (Fannar)

  • Donning And The Dons (Blake, Doug)

  • Making Room (Solveig, Amanda, Hui)

  • Snow Angels (Fannar, Solveig)

  • In Your Footsteps (Blake, Doug)

  • Gifts Returned (Solveig, Doug)

  • Don't Thwap The Messenger (Fannar, Solveig, Blake, Doug)

  • Lording It Over (Mr. Yukimura, Hui, Amanda)

  • Catching Cold (Solveig, Amanda)

  • What's New (Fannar, Hui)

  • The Other Coat (Blake)

  • Meltdown (Fannar, Solveig)

  • Through The Ice (Fannar)

Characters:

Character

Voice

Singer

Fannar

tenor

Josef Engman

Blake

bass

Richard Liell-Eppes

Hui

alto

Nuan Chu

Amanda

soprano

Melissa Stente

Mr. Yukimura

bass

Ryou Ito

Solveig

soprano

Britta Martinsson

Doug

tenor

Evan Tossmer

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