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Catharsis Unearned

I write this with my knees weak, as if I walked a hundred times the mile home. My eyes are wet. I’m grinning from ear to ear and I don’t quite know why. I’ve had what most people might call a religious experience. In my case, I guess I can just call it a musical experience. It’s almost like a seizure, the chills from enjoying music escalating to something else. Except it’s not just one seizure; it’s a series. And I don’t know if it will stop.

I don’t know if there are other contributing factors to my current mental state, but I can point exactly at a song that I listened to. I think back to listening to it yesterday for the first time and I am reduced to tears of joy. This song won’t have the same effect on you, but I can only try to describe what it did to me, inexplicably, hacking my mind with its bizarre melody and shaking timbres. The song was Dirty Boy by the Cardiacs. Although I’ve always enjoyed music, making it and consuming it both recorded and live, that song has burst a terrifying dam in my mind. I am loving music even more than usual; it’s bringing me to the brink of exploding, and I’m loving it.

As I listened to the end of that song, I was quite literally in shock, with my stomach churning and my mind trapped in a soul on fire. I can’t describe it. I will only fail.

There were clearly going to be problems, I told myself, when I almost had a nervous breakdown from the shivers when listening to Neurosis’s Prayer, the first track on their Sovereign EP, at work the next day. I was almost completely immersed in it, revelling in the spiral shades of its crushing riffs. “Your mind is a conduit. Your mind is as vast as the universe. Rest in this, in the clear light of existence. This light is divine.” I had to stop listening to music for a while so I could properly concentrate on actually working.

While walking home, I stumbled to a stop during Inuit Promise, a song by Hum that I’ve probably heard near on a hundred times. It swirled around me. Rationally, here and now, I can say that there is nothing particularly special about that song. But because the Cardiacs had opened a hole in my mind, an ecstatic flow of emotion is now available to crush me at a moment’s notice under any music, new or old. Pure catharsis flooding through music, life refilling, mind healing clarity, stalling out the now in a smooth crystalline halted drop of indescribable love.

Yikes. Sometimes I do wonder if I am leaving the planet, losing my mind, going bonkers. Maybe I’m just suffering the onset of some pre-flu hallucinations; or maybe, the day has finally come where my mind leaves me in this shell, grinning crazily and shaking. Well, friends: it’s been nice knowing you. I’m going to put a record on.

categories: writing music