I’ve spent all morning picking away at some automatic writing that has to do with 2008, which is always weird. I mean, it’s weird to write nostalgic writing about a period that’s two years ago, and it’s more weird to talk about it here, when you can just click on a link about three inches below this and simply read what I actually wrote in 2008. But I have the advantage of distance in that my 2008 was about 350 miles south of here, and the general feeling of LA is markedly different than that of San Francisco.
Here’s the thing: I have been listening to the BT album This Binary Universe. In many ways, this is an absolutely perfect album; it’s very technical, a total departure from BT’s typical techno roots, and extremely, extremely expressive. It’s so heavily textured, with so much going on in each track, that it’s entirely enjoyable for me to listen to. And it’s the perfect balance between music I can completely background and think about something else and something I can dive right into and just be consumed by the thoughts that come from the music.
But the big reason I like the album so much is that it’s a total time machine for me. I got this album in 2007, the summer of 2007, when I worked from home in Denver, and spent most of my free time either hobbling to various foot doctors to find out what the hell was wrong with my ankle, and going to every Rockies game I could afford, since they were about a hundred feet from my front door. And a lot went on that summer emotionally – the big break from New York, I was going to get married, I was trying to define myself – was I a writer? A programmer? Could I find another tech writing job? I was very lost, and lost in a new city, but so excited by this huge turn in my life, this new place, the ability to get in a car and drive to random new locations like mountains and barrios and abandoned air force bases and giant book stores.
I also remember that right before me and Sarah eloped in October, I think a night or two before we went to the courthouse and then went to the Bahamas, I sat down on my Mac and fired up the Mac movie maker software, and took the final track from the album, “Good Morning Kaia” and made this video for Sarah that recapped our entire relationship together, piecing together snapshots and videos from our two and a half years together. It’s sort of corny, and I am no director or editor or something, but it firmly cemented that song in my head forever.
And there’s a weird ripple effect, because in 2008, that album was such a time machine back to 2007, I would listen to it when I was struggling in LA and wanted nothing but to be back to that same place in Denver. And it always hurt me so much, caused so much strange emotional pain, but it would consume me so much I had to do it and had to feel all of it and go through the entire album from start to finish and just absorb that 74:19 of extreme emotion and go on with my new life in LA.
I remember the end of LA, one of my trips up to SF, either for a job interview or apartment hunting or to drop off a Yaris full of stuff, and I got on the I-5 to head north through the giant desolation of our state’s food basket or whatever the hell they call that no-man’s-land through the central state that’s nothing but farms. I tried to find something to listen to, and decided that I would go through the entire album, listen to it from start to finish as I was stuck in the cabin of the tiny car, driving north through nowhere and nothingness. I would absorb the entire performance and transform myself, like a shaman going into a sweat lodge to absorb a lifetime of memories and problems and touchpoints in one concentrated, hallucinogenic dose. And I did, and it absolutely etched another destination for this time machine device.
Anyway, I chipped away this morning at more writing, stuff that probably will never see the light of day, but I gave the entire album a listen again, and the thing still floors me. I can’t say much more than that, but just that this album is one of my absolute favorites. I sometimes wish I had the space and place to just listen to it every day, and pour out the writing that came from it, until I had a book’s worth of words captured. Maybe I will.