Quote

"Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call. Go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign because it might never come. Don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really."

- Harvey Milk (via br-okenpromise)

(via andwithouthope)

Text

There’s something very frustrating about not being able to do what you love. Trudging through mediocrity, staring challenges with someone else’s name on them in the face. For weeks, I have felt my skill set diminish, abolished under the weight of work that does not align with my passions. My utilization, allocation, whatever term Big Brother wants to put on it, is draining me to a point where I find it hard to move forward. The essence of my being is creation, but what happens when you despise everything you create? What happens when the joy of art has been obliterated, replaced with bottom floor asks? I was put on this Earth to tell stories, and I can’t do that with an X, Y, Z keyframe. 

My heart is heavy with regret, with a deep sense of unimportance. I don’t feel recognized, respected. I am an outcast in a workforce I’ve called home for two years. My anger towards superior forces, the hierarchy that keeps me in Boston, the money that automatically belongs to a bank in Des Moines, is overwhelming. Trapped is the only word to describe this feeling. 

Every day brings me closer to an untimely end. Every day I’m denied the ability to do great work, to stoop to a denominator I never let exist before. Stepping outside myself, I’m ashamed at what I’ve become. Unable to move, feet in concrete, paralyzed by a fear you don’t want to imagine. 

Every day I wake up and I beg for someone to put me out of my misery. There’s no other way out of this. 

Text

Am I letting life pass me by? I’m 24 years old, I have, all specifics aside, a decent job. I can pay my bills on time. I have friends, each unique and special individuals. I have passions that motivate me and my dedication to those passions leads to a lot of late nights dancing on vodka soaked floors. Yet, there’s still something missing. Perhaps it’s fear of missing out, but lately life passes through me as a series of brief moments instead of a continuous stream of memories. 

A lot of my friends and aquaintances find themselves going out constantly. Never ending Facebook posts lead me through their endeavors, conversations about DJs and meet-ups and dinner dates and “Oh my God, that was an awesome night!”. I want to be out there, drinking, clubbing, rolling, laughing, forgetting where my ID might be and being overwhelmed with sensations. Yet more often than not, I’m opting to go from work to home, make myself a simple dinner and watch the night unfold in front of a television show, a work project or some combination of the two. 

$120,000 in loans hang over my head, threatening every expenditure, forcing me to question the legitimacy of every purchase. How far can I go in the name of fun and good times? How much am I hurting myself by putting all my memories in one or two baskets?

There are things I’m saving for. Massive tours, massive festivals, a move to Los Angeles or wherever work finds me. Is that an excuse? Am I being responsible by biding my time or am I going to regret these decisions in ten years? I can’t afford to live in only the present; my thoughts wander too far into the future. 

Text

image

I think it’s about time I explain this.

For those not in the know, “Allein” is a progressive house track by Swedish DJ/Producer Eric Prydz. Released in 2012 on his Eric Prydz Presents Pryda album, it borrows samples from a popular track by Polarkries 18 called “Allein Allein”. The lyrics are originally in Swedish.

Wir sind allein!
Allein allein, allein allein (Allein allein, allein allein)
Allein allein, allein allein (Allein allein, allein allein)
Sind wir allein?

And in English:

We are alone!
Alone alone alone alone (alone, alone, alone, alone)
Alone alone alone alone (alone, alone, alone, alone)

Are we alone?

The first time I heard “Allein” was last year, on I believe a Saturday in May. The 5th or 6th. Above & Beyond played it on episode 423 of Trance Around The World. I was sitting at home, working on an animation project. Then, as the tune began, the world just stopped.

It’s a beautiful song that could only be written by the mighty Pryda. The simple utilization of a looping vocal, the soaring build, the repetitive melody built on with various levels of instrumentation. A typical Pryda tune that in a week became the number one track on every DJ-hosted radio show. “Allein” has massive crowd appeal. It elicits cheers, lifts you up, urges you to sing-a-long. But for me it’s evolved into more than that.

Throughout my life, I have been plagued with an intense sense of loneliness. After graduating college and saying goodbye to the world I knew, events unfolded that left me teetering between a depressed existence and admittance of death. I lost friends, couldn’t find new ones, creatively frustrated, perpetually heartbroken and had a passion for dance music with no one to share it with. I was angry, so fucking angry, and so full of hatred for myself and the people around me. Yes, I thought about suicide and have a few extra scars from the whole ordeal. The apex of my turmoil was loneliness. A painful, soul-crushing, debilitating loneliness you have to experience to understand.

“Allein” came into my life at a time when the shroud of darkness finally began to disappear. There’s only one person I can credit with this achievement. A few run-ins at shows became “Hey, do you want to see this DJ with me?” and turned into what I believe to be one of the healthiest friendships I’ve ever had and will continue to have. Combined with a few weeks of incredibly rewarding and career-changing work and a week in Vegas I will never forget, for the first time in what felt like a decade I felt okay. The world was no longer painted in shades of grey and black, but full of color. I wasn’t alone anymore.

Every time I hear “Allein”, the depressing isolation surfaces. It echoes back all of my anguish and my pain and my second-guessing, my self-hatred and my questioning of existence. The week after week of going work to home, an outcast, stuck in a cacophonous rhythm of defeat. The melody propels me through the darkest parts of my life and while each call of “allein allein” puts nails in my hypothetical coffin, it also sets me free.

Euphoric builds usher a swarm of memories full of joy, friendship, family and hope. I relive every instance I’ve heard a DJ drop “Allein”. At EDC when I ran so fast towards the chants I almost fell over, at Kaskade when I dropped to the ground, my knees weak from the assault of emotion, at Roseland when my sister burst through the crowd, grinning ear-to-ear, finding me just as the first notes rang out, at my first Eric Prydz show, IDentity, when my jaw dropped and my body wasn’t quite sure what the brain was doing, singing each “Allein” with enough force that I was probably hoarse for a week.

All of these moments, all of these memories, this overwhelming amount of conflicting emotions hit me every time I hear “Allein”. Crying is the only thing I can do. It’s happened every single time I’ve ever heard the song. It’s a reaction I have never forced and have never been shy about hiding. “Allein” is as much a part of me as any Nine Inch Nails track, perhaps, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, more than anything Trent Reznor has ever done.   

I need “Allein”. It’s a reminder that no matter how alone I am, how depressed or how full of hate I may be, there are people in my life who care about me, who share these special moments with me and do not want to see me fade away, who do not want to see me alone.

Text

A majority of the people I know have either heard or owned Neutral Milk Hotel’s In An Aeroplane Over The Sea. It’s the quintessential indie album and guaranteed to be any true hipster’s record collection. Several years ago I bought it on vinyl knowing nothing save it’s relevance and influence on music. Not having it in my collection seemed a greater sin than spending the money for something I barely knew. Jeff Magnum is the brain behind Neutral Milk Hotel. His lyrical work is devastatingly honest and he sings with the raspy whine, the kind of voice you’d expect to come from an old Southern man singing on his porch. For a while, Jeff has been touring by himself, though it’s my understanding he mostly plays Neutral Milk Hotel. This past Monday I had a chance to see him (fittingly) at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence, RI. 

Opening for Magnum was a group called The Magic Tapes, a 90’s band who occupied the same musical sphere as Magnum back in the day. My friend told me a story about how one time they played in her friend’s living room. It was bare bones but layered, involving the typical instruments like guitar, bass and drums, but also trumpet, a set of pipes that looked like they came from an organ, a banjo played with a violin bow and various keyboards and organs. At times someone would play a crash symbol on the ground with a stick attached to their shoe. They had a giant metronome on stage. There was a TV that “sang” a whole song. The leader of the gypsy troupe told a story about a man who’s sense of rhythm could change the mood of a room from sad to happy based on how he added to the natural percussion of life.

When Jeff finally arrived on stage the crowd erupted. From my seat in the balcony he looked like Forrest Gump, circa the run across America. A dark rimmed hat, long messy beard, unkempt hair. He wore a sweater which looked like every sweater he wears in his promotional pictures. He sat in a modest chair with a rack of five or six guitars to his right. There were two lights focused on him. They never moved or changed in intensity. That was the whole show. A man and his guitar. A man and his words. A man and his fans. I’ve never seen a show so minimal, so stripped to its barest form. The audience sang along with conviction and passion, every word clear as day. Jeff’s voice rang out through the decorative venue. I’ve only listened to In An Aeroplane Over The Sea once, but the tracks from that album were instantly recognizable, drawing much greater crowd participation every time. There were moments he would talk back to the audience or respond to a joke. This connection to the crowd is uncommon for him. My friend said this show was the most comfortable he’s ever seen him, being a man notorious for his nervousness and lack of comfort while on stage. Near the end of the show, for the first encore (and I believe the only encore), the lead from The Magic Tapes, Julian Koster, came out and they played a song together. He played a hand saw with a violin bow.

Here’s the setlist in case you are interested: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/jeff-mangum/2013/lupos-heartbreak-hotel-providence-ri-13db2d5d.html

Jeff only performed for an hour and fifteen or so minutes which was more than enough. Despite never being attune to his music, there were three or four moments when tears started to fill my eyes. The combination of his distinct voice, the acoustic guitar and the crowd singing his words back to him was a beautiful sight to see and hear. Not bad for a Monday night.

NEXT UP: TIESTO @ University of New Hampshire, 2/22