I write a lot of things in my head when I’m just going about my day. I have for a long time, and sometimes a few jots end up on social media, but not much these days.
This week I returned to Mirabou State’s 2018 album Kingdoms in Colour. It’s all listenable, but track 3, Turnmills, hooks me every single time. It scratches an itch between Thom Yorke and Aphex Twin with maybe a louder pop sensibility. It is great on a car stereo or on my HomePod, but where the song really shines is on my noise-canceling headphones where I can hear the nuance of the samples layered with re-interpretation.
One of the things I love about electronic music is there’s so many beautiful synthetic sounds that are like head scritches for the soul.
I’ve queued the track Iris by TR/ST, from their upcoming album The Destroyer, Vol 2 to play next while I write this. It is much darker electronic, tapping into my memories of music that was much too loud vibrating my entire body in a smoke-filled, alcohol soaked club. Where Mirabou State is like a soothing balm, TR/ST is like Icy Hot. It’s not romantic, but maybe that’s where I am right now — where having contrary sensations simultaneously, being pulled apart by choice, feels like freedom. Stompy rhythm, unintelligible, sounds coming close and then somewhat submerged, bright overlays of retro synth. My hairs stand on end, and my heart feels lifted. It’s halfway to an ecstatic experience.
It’s easier to talk about music than much else.
Next track, Omnis Mundi Creatura by Helium Vola – a stompy dark track which was a favorite to fling my arms and dance furiously when I was a regular at Nocturna at Smart Bar/Metro in Chicago back around 2002 or so.
I was a assumed as a goth before I considered myself one. The title is a little flippant, even, because I’ve come to realize it is really only shorthand for understanding a larger subculture/philosophy if you have a sense of the music that surrounds it. I was reminded of this by a therapist leading the cancer caregiver support group I was in this past week. The fundamental misunderstanding that struck me was the assumption of pessimism, which is not entirely untrue except i the sense that I would call it more realism and a compulsive unwillingness to deny the truth of our inevitable decline and decay.
I’m trying to (note: next song, Dark Angel by VNV Nation) hold the truth of our human fragility in the same space that I hold the hope and curiosity that makes life worth living despite that. I don’t seek to deny the truth. We’re very good at propelling ourselves through our lives denying our fragility, and maybe that’s the way it should be, so we’re not anticipating the 20 story crane falling across the roadway we’re driving on an otherwise average day.
And that’s what I’m trying to capture, except my 20 story crane has not fallen yet.
Writing more of this would be too much. Too much of that soft-underbelly us dark souls are hiding behind our dark eyeliner and spiked jewelry. And my 30 minutes of writing is up.
Ending song: Fearless by VNV Nation
“I am not alone, I am not afraid, I am not unhappy
Such a stupid ritual to have to say to myself everyday
I’m not alone but I found my answer and set myself free, I’m not unhappy”