Creating Small Worlds: Approaches to a Nostalgia Driven Concept Album

Inal Bilsel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This commentary addresses the intersection of a narrative concept album and
transmedial storytelling, focusing on my portfolio album Paradise Lost. The album represents, first and foremost, my passion for creating concept albums. I have adopted a working definition for a concept album as ‘an album that sustains a central message or advances the narrative of subject through the intersection of lyrical, musical and visual content’. This definition considers ‘narration’ and ‘visual content’, both of which I believe are essential ingredients of a concept album.

Taking inspiration from science fiction, particularly from the works of Philip K.
Dick, Paradise Lost presents a transmedia narrative taking place in a fictional postapocalyptic world. The album touches on issues surrounding Cyprus and in
particular, growing up in 1980s in the aftermath of a war that divided the island.
The core themes of the album are nostalgia, childhood, and the memory of place. Moreover, Paradise Lost takes cues from hauntology and retrofuturism as a stylistic approach to present its material. The narrative of Paradise Lost unfolds across different forms of media such as video projections, cassette tapes, postcards, booklets, blog posts and audio-visual installations, collectively generating a complex but interconnected storyworld.

In formulating the album's narrative, I have derived inspiration from Joseph
Campbell’s ‘The Hero with Thousand Faces’, where he argues that certain
universalities link all humanity. The book ultimately portrays a template of a
mythological story, the monomyth. By analysing this template, I devised the
structural and narrative plan of Paradise Lost. The album and its accompanying
film demonstrate the culmination of my research and a representation of how
concept albums can have a self-contained world of their own.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Lock, Brian, Supervisor
Award date1 Oct 2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 8 Sept 2021


  • Nostalgia
  • technostalgia
  • retrofuturism
  • hauntology
  • concept album
  • narrative
  • transmediality
  • monomyth
  • narrative concept album
  • transmedia narrative
  • transmedial storyworlds

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