Have you ever found a song that’s an auditory encapsulation of an exact moment? Something so moving that when you put it on you’re immediately immersed in an experience, a mood, a feeling from not so long ago.
This summer I moved to Los Angeles where I lived by the beach for the first month. But it wasn’t one of those happy, sunny California beaches you see in the movies. The beach was moody. It was morose. It was listening to Fiona Apple and drinking red wine from a cheap liquor store while writing bad poetry. Large cumulus clouds lingered in the sky until mid-day then broke apart to let a few rays of sunlight through, but by then I was already feeling very ‘other’, pensive, and unsure. The problem was that I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the stars. Maybe back in Texas.
Living by the beach that month I swore I could hear the waves crashing in my sleep. The casual hauntings of a somber ocean and a lonely tide. I began learning about the cyclic rise and fall of seawater. If they were going to linger in the background of my dreams every night I wanted to know every wave by its name.
I woke up at 5 a.m. the morning of the lunar eclipse to find the ocean more aggressive than usual — a beach completely encompassed by fog and mist. The day before I had learned the company I moved all the way to California to work for wasn’t quite as it appeared and now their future seemed uncertain.
I walked along the surreal landscape quietly that morning wondering what this meant for my own future until I realized the fog was so thick I could no longer see in front of me. I could only stand there and let the sounds of the ocean and an otherworldly atmosphere wash over me dissolving into soft focus.
“Don’t Bother They’re Here” by ambient legends Stars of the Lid is that one strange moment compressed into a 10 minute song. It’s the experience of being awake in a dream-like state, being neither here nor there, questioning it all, feeling a mix of hope, wonder, and angst as though all that you want is just within reach—you’re so close, you’re almost there, yet you still can’t quite learn how to get what you want. But you realize somewhere along the way that’s what the journey is all about. It was always meant to happen that way. You just never see it at the time. And that’s what makes it all so beautiful.
Here’s to all the strange and otherworldly journeys we’re on right now and the soundtracks that accompany them.
(Song recommendation by Koty Neelis)