One of the standby questions that friends ask when they’ve finally run out of other things to talk about is sometimes “What’s you favorite song / band / album ever?” This is often posed at midnight when you’re laying on the hood of your car watching the stars and drinking cream soda. You think about it for a long while before answering, but the pause – the silence – is completely comfortable, such as old friends are.
It’s a tricky one for me. I couldn’t even point to a favorite genre nonetheless a band or album. A song? Man.
But it occurred to me today. This is one of them. This is a song that I’ve had on my iPod since like, the first iPod I ever had. This is a song that, no matter how many hundreds of times I’ve heard it now I keep noticing new sounds and subtle nuances. This is a song that was released for free by Wisp who – in my humble opinion – is probably one of the consistently best IDM artists out there. This is a song for the sad days when you just sit by the window and stare out, not thinking about much as all and a song for working on your favorite project. This is a song that, whenever you notice that build finally coming up you’re just compelled to turn your headphones up to 11.
This is a song that guided high school art projects and some of the first designs I ever did for real, paying clients. This is a song that played as I sat in the backseat of my parents’ car as we drove through dusky, winding mountain roads to visit grandparents, in that surreal state of half asleep and total complete alertness that accompanies long travel. This is a song that was there for me when I first heard Steve Jobs died, and Twitter was just an unending list of personal sentiments and endearing anecdotes. This is a song that, if you close your eyes just travels up and down your spine. The fast break at odds with the patient builds and flows, the sounds with their own attitudes and stories. This is a song that, as a previous girlfriend describes, is me: spontaneous and unpredictable, but never feeling like it would randomly disappear. Just sort of there. This fog hovering over the valley; observing, watching, comfortable, secure.
There are patterns to it’s madness, and if you hang around long enough you can start to make them out, start to see what makes it tick. Break down the sounds and watch them evolve. Conway’s Game of Life. And I think it’s somewhat unapproachable at first – IDM isn’t for everyone – but there’s a certain smile behind the initially rough edges.
I have many songs like these: those that have lasted over the years and have never annoyed me with overplay, but this is one of them. This is one of my favorite songs ever.
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