Yet at the same time it is always being born, always new, emerging just as rapidly from that complete unknown we call the future. Thinking about it almost makes you breathless. This present moment never comes to be and it never ceases to be, it is simply our minds that construct the continuity of thoughts we call time.
In the beginning…
After Laura passed in 2005, I dove into my music to help work through grief. Ultimately, that didn’t help, but that’s how I felt driven.
The first album I put together was “We Waited For A Subtle Dawn”. It was compiled from music I was composing while taking care of Laura and some of the grief I experienced afterward.
Odile from Evening of Light said this:
…emotions seem wholly absent on this release, which is unforgivingly cold and harsh, rather than sad or mournful.
It’s true. But, I was working through anger. Grief simply hadn’t manifested in a softer way yet. I was 29. I was in no way prepared to handle this heaviness that burdened me, and rage is what I knew at the time.
It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
Some time passes…
In 2007, I crafted “I Swear By All The Flowers”. It was how softer tones of grief manifested at the time. It wasn’t explicitly about Laura’s passing. It was inspired by it. The composition was largely about letting go, and more specifically how I couldn’t. Or how I wouldn’t.
One of the things I’ve explored in therapy is the trauma of all the events. It snowballed. I remember my grandmother warning me before Laura passed to prepare for it mentally. That was great advice but I simply didn’t know how to.
January, 2019. One day I climbed up the trail to Tom’s Thumb. The next day I had a stroke. Surprisingly, they are not entirely connected. Rehabilitation has been uphill but I can’t stop being exhausted. All the time. My arm is stiff and the entire right side of my body is some degree of numb. There seems to be no reprieve.
The fallout was bad, really bad, but there have been upsides. As I improved, my mental clarity improved dramatically.
16 years passes…
It is not an understatement to say that the time was lost. What happened? What did I become?
In 2005, I was exploring writing an album dedicated to Laura that was more explicitly about my grief. I still have that album in my fingertips, with many unfinished Ableton files scattered on DVD backups. I could never quite get it to congeal.
I was exploring design options. One artist Laura liked, whose style REALLY captured what Laura was driven by, was Madeline von Foerster. I reached out to Madeline to discuss her painting me something that I could use for cover art. I thought it might help inspire me, help push me forward
In the exchanges, she told me of another client she worked with and it took them 12 years to put the material together. At the time I thought… “12 years! No way!“. Here I am, 16 years later and I still haven’t wrapped it up. ? At this point, I don’t know if I ever will, but I am sure I will try again.
In November of 2004, John Balance of Coil passed. I would normally find such news sad, but I didn’t personally know Balance so the impact would be minimal. But Coil’s catalog has been profoundly inspirational to me. Plus, on November 13, 2004, Laura hadn’t been out of the hospital from her bone marrow transplant for long and I was in an emotionally fragile state. It set the mood for a few years.
A few years prior, Coil had released an album as Time Machines, which was intended to cause “temporal slips“. I was putting this playlist together when I revisited this piece, and my theme was discovered. I then built the whole playlist around finishing with this piece.
Not to suggest the playlist sounds like this. It doesn’t. In a way, this piece is the end of a long journey through space and time, the paradox where immortality meets entropy.
Building this playlist has been cathartic for me.
I put a lot into it, what I normally put into my own recordings. I put together a soundtrack for an immortal exploring time and the universe, with no boundaries, trying to find a solution to their grief. My inspirations were “The Fountain”, “Watchmen”, “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Sandman”.
Much like anything else, you can make of it what you will. At over 3 hours, it is one of my longer playlists. I don’t tend to put a bunch of tracks by the same artists and value shorter playlists. This one kept growing and growing. I hope you enjoy it.