01011001: Wikis


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Studio album by Ayreon
Released January 25, 2008
Recorded 2007
Genre Rock Opera
Symphonic metal
Progressive metal
Progressive rock
Length 1:42:16
Label InsideOut
Producer Arjen Lucassen
Professional reviews
Ayreon chronology
The Human Equation

01011001 is the seventh studio album by Arjen Anthony Lucassen's long-running Ayreon project. "01011001" is the binary representation of the decimal number 89, and the hexadecimal number 59; it is the ASCII codepoint for the letter Y. 01011001's plot is tied to the "Planet Y" and "Forever of the Stars" storyline developed in the albums Into the Electric Castle, Universal Migrator and The Human Equation. 17 singers in total (including Arjen himself) contributed to the album.[2] Of these, only Anneke van Giersbergen, Floor Jansen, and Arjen himself have sung on previous Ayreon albums: Anneke on Into the Electric Castle, Floor singing backing vocals on The Dream Sequencer, and Arjen on every Ayreon album, except Flight of the Migrator.



The CD follows two storylines: The first is a sequence of songs that tells the story of the Planet Y and the "Forever of the Stars". The second storyline is a set of independent songs that narrate us the life of several people on our Planet Earth.


Disc 1 - Y

Age of Shadows

The album's story begins with Forever lamenting for their home planet, Y. One Forever (Tom Englund) tells that "We never saw this coming", while others (Steve Lee and Daniel Gildenlöw) say that they depended on machines to evolve, machines that now "Blot out the sun". Another two Forevers (Hansi Kürsch and Floor Jansen) point out that as a result of extensive mechanisation, they have lost all of their feelings and emotions, whilst two further Forever have no hope (Jonas Renkse and Anneke Van Giersbergen) for the future, saying that they are prisoners and that they wait for no one. Soon after, a new Forever (Jørn Lande) joins Steve's and Daniel's Forevers. The Forevers then send out a distress call to the universe in binary code (HELP, FOREVER, and SOS).


This song is a conversation (sung) between Anneke's and Jørn's Forevers. Anneke's Forever maintains that there is no need to feel anything, whilst Jørn's Forever wants to be released from his comatose state (hence the name of the song) in order to have emotions and feelings once again.

Liquid Eternity

In this song, three Forever (Jonas, Daniel and Bob Catley) recall how their homeworld was before the machines, before their succession into mechanised beings ("Once a world, endless and free/eternal and blue/of fear and dismay"). Another Forever appears (Magali Luyten), remembering the "Liquid Eternity" which the Forever inhabited. Tom's Forever asks if they would prefer a mortal life, if they would prefer the pain, the peril, the life they've learned to dread. Jørn's Forever is losing his reason to live and Floor's ask if they want to destroy "All they have achieved".

Connect the Dots

This is the first song that differs from the Forevers storyline, for it narrates the story of one of the normal people living on Earth. The protagonist is an average middle-class worker (Ty Tabor), who narrates one of his days in the form of song. The song describes how wasteful the protagonist is, preferring to drive by himself to work, buy fast food, and overuse his air conditioning. The protagonist is also portrayed as disconnected from his family and as someone who downloads torrents, presumably illegally. The chorus of the song explains that "we all know" what is wrong, yet do not correct our ways as "we are living for today" without heed.

Although Lucassen has his own character on track 11, Mr L, he sings with Tabor during the chorus, not as his character but as the middle-class worker's conscience.

Beneath the Waves

  1. "Beneath the Waves"
  2. "Face the Facts"
  3. "But a Memory..."
  4. "World Without Walls"
  5. "Reality Bleeds"

This returns to the Forever narrative with, Daniel's, Bob's, Anneke's, Floor's, Steve's, Jørn's and Tom's Forever still remembering how it was to live on their old planet, without frontiers, without walls, in their "Kingdom of the free". During the second part (Face the Facts), Hansi's and Anneke's Forevers arouse the others to act, understanding that their future is black and there is no way back. Yet, the other Forevers still linger in their memories.

Newborn Race

  1. "The Incentive"
  2. "The Vision"
  3. "The Procedure"
  4. "Another Life"
  5. "Newborn Race"
  6. "The Conclusion"

While Floor's Forever wants to come back "To when we lived another life", Daniel's Forever thinks, looking for a way to continue living but reviving their past. Tom's Forever suggests to "Explore the vastness of space", Jonas' say they should try, for their life is passing by, and Bob's Forever advises the use of their seeds. While Hansi's Forever hopes that their DNA one day will reach a world, Jørn's Forever question himself and the others about the fact of creating and destroying life. Jonas' Forever rushes the other, Bob's Forever rely on the absolute control, but Jørn's Forever doesn't believe that they will stand a chance. In the end, Jørn's Forever is persuaded of doing this, and Daniel's Forever cries that they have found a way "To awaken the nation that’s died".

Ride the Comet

The preparatives for the seeds' departure are done. Jørn's, Floor's, Tom's, Jonas' and Bob's Forever wishes luck to the "Little extremophiles" to reach a planet riding a comet. Magali's Forever says the seeds need to pass on their genes, to "Sail uncharted spheres", to "Journey on the Migrator trail" (see Flight of the Migrator for a complete story).

Web of Lies

This is the second song that differs from the Forevers' storyline. This song narrates the story of Simone (Simone Simons) and PX (Phideaux Xavier), two internet-dating service users who fall in love. Simone is much more passionate. Knowing that PX is the one for her, she is suffering for him, and she can't sleep. Eleven days after, PX replies, telling that he has already seen Simone's pics, that she looks great. He also feels alone, believing that fate united them, for he thinks they match. However, by the time PX replies, Simone has moved on, saying that "OL" is the one.

It has been verified by Arjen Lucassen that "OL" refers to Simone's current boyfriend, Oliver Palotai.

This is the third song Arjen Lucassen writes criticizing the massive and excessive use of computers. The first is "Computer Reign (Game Over)" from The Final Experiment and the second is "Computer Eyes" from Actual Fantasy.

At the beginning of the song, below the modem and ambient sounds, the song "Valley of the Queens" (from the album Into the Electric Castle) can be heard.

Disc 2 - EARTH

The Fifth Extinction

  1. "Glimmer of Hope"
  2. "World of Tomorrow Dreams"
  3. "Collision Course"
  4. "From the Ashes"
  5. "Glimmer of Hope (Reprise)"

Forevers are happy and hopeful for their plan, relying on its success to live again like they lived in the past. Suddenly, Tom's Forever encounters (sees from Planet Y) the perfect planet to plant the seeds. Steve's Forever suggests to remove any kind of life dangerous to their precious DNA, Daniel's Forever supports this idea arguing that they have waited far too long, but Jørn's Forever, again, question the fact of annihilate life, not being their right. Meanwhile, Bob's and Hansi's Forever rejoice on this news. Tom's Forever sees that the dangerous life forms were mere reptiles (dinosaurs), "A lower form of intelligence", but Jørn's Forever still replies asking what makes them superior to kill other beings, even pointing out that doing this won't make them better. Eventually, the comet crushes the Earth, killing the dinosaurs and spreading a cloud of smoke and ashes. Jonas' and Hansi's Forevers note that this planet is "Bare and cold", but Tom's, Daniel's, Bob's, Steve's, Floor's and Jørn's Forevers recomfort them, as they see the smoke rising and the sky brightening. Floor's Forever pushes to "Enter the next stage". Daniel's Forever ends the song concluding that "The die is cast, we are alive".

Waking Dreams

The title of the song makes reference to the time when the humans, already formed from the comet's seeds, haven't awakened. Jonas' Forever initiates some processes on the seeds' minds ("We'll fuel your minds") to insert colors, sensations, emotions, etc. Anneke's Forever tells the seeds to stay calm as they insert these processes, to "Sail the stream as I dance upon the waves, of a waking dream as it passes you by". Jonas' Forever tells them to "Live the dream we have been dreaming".

The Truth is In Here

This is the third song differing from the Forevers storyline. This time, the protagonist is Mr. L (Arjen Lucassen), a mentally ill man in an asylum and his nurse (Liselotte Hegt). Mr. L has had a weird dream several nights, showing him visions of the future world, warnings of man's demise, amazing flights through the stars, a life beneath the waves and cold machines rising from the deep. His nurse's reaction to the revelations is one of indifference, asking him if he has taken his meds, to relax, wondering if he feels okay, even suggesting an increase in the dosage of his medication. Soon after, Mr. L, who reveals that they have spoken to him on the dreams, claims that "The truth is out there/is in here", but his nurse ask "Why should we believe you?" and forces him to take another pill. In the end Mr. L is scared, yelling that they are all clones, while the nurse calms him, assuring that they are alone.

In the verses, Mr. L alludes to previous Ayreon albums: The first verse describes the experiences of the character Ayreon in The Final Experiment, the second includes lines from Into the Electric Castle suggesting that Mr. L is the Hippie from that album, and the third verse appears to allude to other songs on 01011001. In addition, several lines can be interpreted as references to "The Human Equation," with Mr. L saying that "they live inside my head, feeling everything I feel inside," and "they speak to me in dreams, they can see all I can see, they have always been my guide", recalling the emotions of "Me" which spoke to him.

The "L" on Mr. L refers to "Lucassen", as he is the new prophet promised by Merlin and foreseen by Ayreon.

Unnatural Selection

Returning to the Forevers storyline, Tom's Forever notes that humans must be helped to evolve faster, or they will be ended before they had a chance to live. Steve's Forever argues that this will lead the humans to their demise, just as the Forevers' technology slowly led them to become soulless machines. Tom's doesn't change his mind, for he sees mankind dying due to diseases; neither Steve's Forever, who claims consequences as overpopulation and a great consummation. On the other hand, Bob's and Jørn's Forevers admire this new life form, while Hansi's Forever points out that it's better to die in a world that is thriving, rather than live in a world that's slowly dying out. After they finally decide to advance humanity's knowledge, Bob's and Steve's Forevers discuss how the humans have used the gifts Forevers gave, such as science (to make bombs), reason (to burn the planet), art (to create nuclear weapons), insight (to degrade and enslave), wisdom (to destroy everything at their reach) and language (to put the world in disarray). Finally, they ask "We gave them dreams, and what did they dream?". In the end, Jonas' Forever suggest to put an end to this decay, to save the lives they have wrecked.

In the middle of the song, five speeches can be heard, pronounced by John F. Kennedy, Al Gore, George H. W. Bush, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.

River of Time

Bob's and Hansi's Forevers analyze the possibilities to save mankind, concluding that there are chances to save them. They will send visions of wars and decay to mankind to shape the present, alter the past, and create a new future.


This is the fourth and last song that differs from the Forevers storyline. A 21st century scientist (Wudstik) receives the visions from the Forevers ("It all came to me in the wake of a dream") and decides to send projections of humanity's decline into the past, thanks to the knowledge that the visions brought. His companion, another 21st century scientist (Marjan Welman) points out that this is the last chance for man to survive; if the experiment fails, humanity will be consumed by their own devices of war. The answer is to break the E=MC2 equation (the mass-energy equivalence, derived from Albert Einstein). Their first attempt fails, and teaches them that they have no control over where the visions will go. The second attempt is a success, leading to the events of The Final Experiment, but in the end there is very little change. ("I have sent it but nothing changes/just a line in some ancient lore.") The song ends with a distorted clip of the end of The Final Experiment, with the voice of Merlin saying "The outcome of the Final Experiment has now been placed in your hands" followed by the ticking of a clock.

The Sixth Extinction

  1. "Echoes on the Wind"
  2. "Radioactive Grave"
  3. "2085"
  4. "To the Planet of Red"
  5. "Spirit on the Wind"
  6. "Complete the Circle"

Returning once more to the Forevers' point of view, Tom's Forever says that now is humanity's final hour, where "all will be decided." Steve's Forever claims that man's evolution has finally come to an end, as the Final Experiment was a failure. All the Forevers lament how mankind has suffered in the end during the war of 2084, and see that their fears have indeed been confirmed; because of their interference, mankind has destroyed itself with the knowledge given them. Despite all their hopes being destroyed, the Forevers realize that through their experiment to put life on Earth, they have remembered some semblance of their lost emotions. In the end, they see that the last human will see his spirit set free, just as the Forevers wished to do. ("He's the last man alive/knowing he won't survive. Relives the past to reclaim the future/and soon he'll set free his spirit on the wind.") With Earth left a burning wreckage from humanity's final war, the Forevers pray to the Universal Migrator to complete the circle and restore their lives. ("Make us whole, Migrator soul/follow me home, complete the circle.")

Track listing

Disc # Title Writer Composer Time
One - Y 1. "Age of Shadows"
  • Age of Shadows
  • We Are Forever
Arjen Anthony Lucassen 10:47
2. "Comatose" 4:26
3. "Liquid Eternity" 8:10
4. "Connect the Dots" 4:13
5. "Beneath the Waves"
  • I. "Beneath the Waves"
  • II. "Face the Facts"
  • III. "But a Memory..."
  • IV. "World Without Walls"
  • V. "Reality Bleeds"
6. "Newborn Race"
  • I. "The Incentive"
  • II. "The Vision"
  • III. "The Procedure"
  • IV. "Another Life"
  • V. "Newborn Race"
  • VI. "The Conclusion"
7. "Ride the Comet" 3:29
8. "Web of Lies" 2:50
Two - Earth 1. "The Fifth Extinction"
  • I. "Glimmer of Hope"
  • II. "World of Tomorrow Dreams"
  • III. "Collision Course"
  • IV. "From the Ashes"
  • V. "Glimmer of Hope (reprise)"
2. "Waking Dreams" 6:31
3. "The Truth Is In Here" 5:12
4. "Unnatural Selection" 7:15
5. "River of Time" 4:24
6. "E=MC2" 5:50
7. "The Sixth Extinction"
  • I. "Echoes on the Wind"
  • II. "Radioactive Grave"
  • III. "2085"
  • IV. "To the Planet of Red"
  • V. "Spirit on the Wind"
  • VI. "Complete the Circle"




In the booklet, each of these vocalists is represented by a symbol.




  • As seen on the artwork created for this album, one of the pictures shows the seventeen vocalists placed in a special order. On the upper section, it shows the ten vocalists that have a Forever role, having as background a dark and mechanized planet (Planet Y), whilst the six vocalist that have human roles are in the lower section of the artwork, with planet Earth as the background. Between those planets, resembling Mr. L's connection with the Forevers and mankind, along with a white light as the background, is the seventeenth singer, Arjen Anthony Lucassen . Also, below each Forever vocalist's pictures, there are symbols to represent the vocalists. (written above)[3].
  • During the song "Age of Shadows", the section sung by Anneke Van Giersbergen displays a binary code that stands for the words "HELP" (the 0/1 part), "FOREVER" (the on/off part where on = 1 and off = 0), and "SOS" (the yes/no part where yes = 1 and no = 0).



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