Month: January 2017

10 Minutes on a Magical Psych Rollercoaster


Image from Flickr user napkinshoe

Halfway through a track on Ty Segall’s new, self-titled album, I begin to make out the structure and flow of this hodgepodge of a song — a musical journey through some of the Sixties’ best psych sounds, along with some modern tweaks and twists. Clearly this could not have been made at an earlier point in recording history, what with the repetition and reverb echoing here and there.

Or maybe it could have. I’m not very knowledgable on music history, as a cursory exploration of the muddle of thoughts in my brain would ultimately not pull up much.

At this point, the guitars are flashing in and out, almost to a stop but not quite. They slow and meander and take their sweet time, filling out the amorphous blob that this song is. The hi-hat and drums kick back in just as soon as they fade out. The interlude comes back into auditory view… a pre-coda coda, in a way. The rhythm guitar gives the impression of sounding like light piano flourishes now and again.

Fade out more and more, only a soft reverberation lingers before the next explosion of distortion pops in.

“I want you to wake up // I want you to see.”

How very appropriate, Ty. Not the first to make a call to action, certainly not the last. Moments where the real world — as much as “real” is an epistemological category when knowledge is obfuscated and misdirected as “alt facts” — puncture my enjoyment of media, especially music, drive home the idea of a connected universe of nearly infinite points. Nothing is outside the scope of anything else, and the ripples are felt everywhere.

This foray is a moment in time; what moment that is becomes hazier and hazier the more one listens, but you can feel the anxiety and tension amidst the bright guitar work. It’s the image of huddling underneath the shade of an oak during a bright spring day, trying your hardest to draw inward, and look away.

I can’t look away, and I don’t want to. I see all things on a continuum, because there is no denying the influence of one event or ridiculous piece-of-shit individual on everything else. As monumentally fucked as we are and have always been (since the moment our ancestors’ non-conscious decision to stand upright? I think so.), this isn’t our first rodeo.

A later track, “Thank You Mr. K,” has a sense of urgency about it — take the keys, take a ride, tip your waiters and servers because they do a hard job and get little back in this capitalist hellscape.

Complaining and bitching are strong tactics, when used properly. I can make out the edges of my role and ability in the resistance to come, and I can’t sit back and rest on my laurels of “Oh, I’ve read Marx and can fathom the forces that allow labour and accumulated wealth to flow upstream.” Knowledge is a weapon, information and language are left and right fists that punch a neo-Nazi, bodies are the warzone.

There isn’t time to wait; get going and fuck shit up. Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, Economically, Existentially. We can make their life hell. We have to.

I create this Audio Cocoon series for myself, for you, for a moment’s rest from the wild world outside. Shroud yourself in linens and musical fabrics whenever you want; emerge ready to fight back.