I’m revisiting the mind.in.a.box catalog prior to the release of their eighth studio album, Black and White, which is due out August 30, 2023. mind.in.a.box is unique in that their albums form part of a cohesive storyline. Let’s get caught up.
Background behind Crossroads
In 2007, Austrian music project mind.in.a.box released their third album, Crossroads, concluding the original Dreamweb trilogy. Like the previous albums, Crossroads was created by the same duo, musician Stefan Poiss and lyricist Markus Hadwiger. They took a bit longer this time—it was just over two years since second album Dreamweb‘s release. It will be five long years until the story continues, though we will get something entirely different from mind.in.a.box in the meantime. More about that in the next post.
Physical copies of Crossroads arrived with a 24-page booklet containing a short story, lyrics, and a code to unlock bonus content on the miab website. This secret download area featured three exclusive tracks, including an unreleased song called “One Day,” as well as an acoustic version of “Identity” that offers guitar from Roman Stift and drums from Gerhard Höffler, who will later form part of miab’s live band.
How the mind.in.a.box storyline progresses
Crossroads opens with the iconic line: “Two days ago I woke up under water.” We’re back in the empty hotel room where the protagonist awakened after switching over into the Dreamweb.
He starts piecing together what happened. White, his nemesis, tried to erase his identity, but his mind was saved by new characters called the Sleepwalkers. He remembers two figures, Night and the Friend, watching him from behind glass. The glass shattered.
The protagonist, still confused and struggling to recall parts of his past, questions who he is. He decides to move forward—he now thinks of switching over as being reborn. He goes to a bar called The Pi to get a drink, presumably the same nightclub from the previous album, and he talks to someone about the night he chased the girl. They accuse him of destroying their door, indicating that he might suffer from violent tendencies.
When the sun rises, he rents a room to sleep. He finally remembers his name. “My name? Black. My name is Black.”
Black starts to rebuild his identity. But he is afraid of who he is and of the things he has done. His past looms heavy on his mind. He’s having trouble sleeping, and he feels like he is being chased. Eventually he decides to leave his past behind and move forward into the future, forging a new self.
Black sees something ahead—he’s approaching a crossroads and realizes he can make his own choices. Two lives tug at him, but he’s no longer afraid.
What the critics said about Crossroads
Sputnik Music: “It doesn’t take long to realize that Crossroads is a very different album. In the opening track, we are treated with glorious synthesizers, and with them, a guitar that flows into the sound. The guitar actually appears a few times in the album and proves that the genre can use more than just synthesizers. In fact, the album features a vast amount of interesting, original ideas, and is in a word: smart.” (Full review)
Reflections of Darkness: “Mind.in.a.box created an album that combines the advantages of both of its predecessors, Lost Alone and Dreamweb. Still, there are those sounds that are already a trademark for them, for example the processed voice of Stefan Poiss to create and display different emotional conditions and moods. They really managed to bring back that unique atmosphere of “Lost Alone” in some of the tracks, and that’s truly awesome.” (Full review)
Crossroads’ standout track
This is an easy one. “Amnesia” is not just the best track on Crossroads—it is far and away my favorite song from the mind.in.a.box catalog. Everything I love about mind.in.a.box is here: cool robot voices, mindblowing electronics, deep emotional resonance, and just an all-around killer vibe. Like the best miab songs, “Amnesia” furthers the album’s themes of memory and identity while working just fine as standalone track. I feel transported to another plane every time I listen to this.