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  • Writer's pictureMario

The Lobby | Depression 'n' Music, Pt. 1

We’re slumped over on a hard, wood table with the lights shut. The darkness that laminates each wall of our humble cabin is oppressive, vindictive, a magnifying glass on where we are perched. There’s no surreal bullshit, no overly exaggerated messy magical realisms or dadaistic falsities at play. It’s raining indoors, though. Likely within your head, isn’t it?

Whirs of ventilation occupy your head, then drowned by sound, brewing hate for the human race only to then ruminate your truant fate, and thus you ruinate your blue. It’s straight to the point in how eager it is to abide by the process of killing your thoughts, qualms, quarrels and conflicts, to then swap them in with the ambassadors of their own artistic fruit ‘n’ journeys. You’re slumped over, your rugged hands clutching an empty bottle whose alcoholic contents could be many or zilch depending on the reader, the saltiest flavour present in the room rolling down your cheek. You’re catatonic and at a sonic arrest courtesy of whatever rings through your headphones, stereo, phone speakers, anything that transmits the beautiful nonsense of noise. You don’t know how much longer you can kiss another day goodbye.

Regrets flow inward to your psyche, the wall providing a return-to-sender. Your own existence is put to trial through your doubt, you’ve got a feeling as beautiful as the dirt between the archaic tiles of a turtle’s shell. So, it is to be drowned away, flushed into the bowels of your own obscured psychological nooks to hopefully be forgotten, and your new self vindicated. You sit there on your self-assigned throne of plastic, with a song ringing out in your state of vulnerability. Its excavation project grows more brilliantly in the face of success, now having transcended your ears and into your soul. Enlist a cope however you see fit - a cigarette, a drink, a comfort snack, a drug, a razor, a friend, a punching bag, the self-prescribed elixirs of your own nostalgia, and then music. There’s a certain chance that the artists that committed their own collected sounds to preservation have experienced similar ruts and ravines within their many mentals. The grey clouds above the grey matter are overarching and present above all, only minimized or contained but never eradicated. It looms like death, and I think we’ve found where the rain is coming from.

Maybe you ought to slowly stand your sorry ass up and get ready to head out into the familiar wilderness of civilization, or at the very least open up a window. Let’s check the weather. It could be raining lame spits of water from disappointed clouds, looking down at the ugly nature of how the rain self-destructs in the faceless presence of pavement. “What’s the matter with you cascade of worthless little H-2-Oh-no-the-ground-so-I-may-as-well-die-with-no-sense-of-glory wishing well fondle fodder, splatting on the ground with no rhyme or reason or regulation? Where’s the grace, the bravado, the song-inspiring swagger, anything? Wet stones, all of you!” Did you hear something?

Or what if it’s sunny? God damnit, now it’s even worse the more you think about it. It’s a direct contradiction of your own mood. Each ray of light seemingly endless but as numbered as the beats from your old heart. Better not think about death too much, I suppose? The warmth hideously collides with your cold malaise and bitterness, self-misanthropy propelled and maintained in monstrous momentum. It’s all deadly anyway, skin cancer and whatnot. So we close the blinds, that’s okay. Wait, let’s open those blinds one more time and check.

What if it’s all thunderous and torrential? Well, in that case, it’s all too loud for you and your music. Imagine what kind of a disturbance it would be if a spire of lightning crashes onto the ground near you and startles you out of your skin tissue. Peace and quiet has never felt so appealing. You need this time to yourself, not to repel all of these horrendous emotions, but to bask in them until their welcome is formally worn as old sandals. Afterwards, they’re to be tossed into the arenas of what has already been. Fuck the weather, let’s close the blinds.

These conditions must be right in order to enjoy our own curated perfections. Music, sweet music, whisper or shriek, calm or frantic, ring out in the head and portray a more affable state of never having been. Let the out-of-tune saloon piano cough its dying moments into your ears in the most impeccably sorrowful and beautiful mannerism you have ever laid your ears upon. The crooning of cracked souls, the yelps and breakdowns of broken-down post-punk manic maestros, the soft guitar and plateau of being offered by all the most tender folk greats, the great crater left behind by the noisiest of explosions, the rainbow of blood painted by the greatest modern melodramas. It’s all here and ready for consumption, for harvesting, for appreciation. Maybe there’s a chance they’re all here for you.

Some of them empathise with you through brute force in the form of depressive contents, some of them lift you up by offering a way out in the form of the most beautiful textures of their genre, some of them just want to make you drop an anchor on your head and call it quits in one dramatic impromptu Pollock. Shit, some of the songs may as well portray such events and do all three things at once. The greatest language we understand on this alley of the universe, one that understands us greater than we will ever understand it, has somewhat proven one of its ultimate capabilities. It brings you the closest you have ever been to death, as magnificently as the flow of time itself, but makes you feel more alive than anything else. It is the medic of the soul and the drug of the fool, whatever that means. In many fell swoops but another life brought back from the balance, music curls its perpetually omniscient and generous claw. For you, it may be the single most important moment of your life. For music, it’s Tuesday.

It seems a lot of the most acclaimed music to have ever been recorded follows the fray of the mentally defeated to drag the victims into its reality-eluding shelter. Melancholy, loneliness, depression, defeat, submission to the universe, existential dilemma, the ever-aware pursuit from death and the inevitable result, grief, terror, these are all little universes explored by whoever is willing to embark, no matter the instrument or quantity of people involved in the expedition. The results have the potential to reign supreme within the realms of emotional honesty and strength, the kind of psychological prowess that can birth artistic genius. Rarely is there compromise, and there is never a room for an impasse in the realm of sitting in a desired recording space and talking about your feelings.

The fruits of such labour are keen to go down in history, and the troubled emotions invoked by them that provoke the resonation of whoever stumbles upon such work often have no issue leaving a permanent cave painting in the listener’s psyche. The memory lasts for as long as they are allowed existence, and in some occasions the listener can find themselves indebted to the music for what such organized sound has done to impact them. There’s millions of such patrons, and it isn’t crazy to consider myself among the sort. Such artistic possibility is one of the universe’s most impressive features. Its face is pretty, too. All it takes is just one good, well-placed note within the spacetime continuum that is unique only to music, and a tear can be birthed from an eye.

I will not be surprised if this becomes a series of writings that culminates in the review of one of/or two albums. There’s two albums I find myself indebted to in potentially equal amounts, but I’m unsure if I’m going to perform a 10-pager on one album, or the other. If I ever do both, polish that anchor and hoist it up with a well and hardy rope to where it ought to be suspended: above my ambitious but ultimately unremarkable head. It must be some place above. Expect a review of an unrelated album on the upcoming Tuesday, however. Let’s hope Jessie Ware made something decent.

  • M.


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