Review Summary: faith without hope is dead
Comfort is an integral part of life. Without it, we can't continue, and with too much, we can't progress. The infinite complexity of humanity insists on unpredictable, individual variation for each method - ideas like love languages, introversion/extraversion, and basic personality types disregard this depth. This means that even at its simplest, we cannot consistently predict what will make people feel comforted. For example, I typically feel uncomfortable when I am around people who are clearly and vocally very upset. And the harsh, aggressive masculinity so often integral to metal makes me want to leave every time I hear it. So when Mitch Jones (a Twitch streamer) angrily rants about being misunderstood and used over a Deftones sample in the midpoint of this mix, or when the slow and dazed "Sad Am I, Glad Am I" droops into the furious screamo cut "Closenessless," I would expect to feel repulsed, but I feel warmed instead, the same feeling I get (and would expect to get) with the pulsating house of “Make Love” over the emotional ambient “Einerkh,” a blend natural enough that you wonder why Daft Punk didn’t do something similar in the first place. These different sounds surround me with angels instead of demons, reminding me that I don’t really know the difference. This mystery is key to Long Dark Summer
. Lyrics of songs used in this mix focus on deception, confusion, and a consistent lack of understanding. Much art focused on this aspect of living (The Stranger
, Dean Blunt's works) simply drives the participant farther down that dark rabbit hole, insisting "life is impossible to get" over and over again. It's hard not to argue in the face of such powerful, emotive feelings that the conclusion of art, and perhaps life itself, is nothing.
The thing that separates Long Dark Summer
from the rest of this art is that it latches onto hope within this bewilderment. It moves in waves, like typical (if not universal) emotion, screaming and mumbling, kinetic and potential, harsh and plush. It makes sense that the primary genre of this mix is ambient, because life is, but it also makes sense that it is not entirely ambient, because life isn't. Despite being so emotionally cognizant, it does not find a point to all of these ups and downs. The conclusion of the mix is: "It's not joy, it's not happiness, it's totally unwarranted, it doesn't happen when I, you know, have any reason for it to happen, and I never know when it will happen. And when it does though, I think it's what I live for, and I guess that's a form of religion…I don't care if it's a chemical snafu or whatever it might be, I love it, I love it when that happens. I might be driving a car and it will just hit me…It's beyond well-being or contentment or anything like that, it's just overpowering bliss and I don’t' know where it comes from. I haven't had one in a while, I'm not sure how long, but I know that I will again. Someday." This sample, layered over Martin Stig Anderson's powerful Inside
soundtrack, showcases a belief in a better future despite no knowledge or guarantee. There is something to be said for faith in darkness, and Ana Caprix says it, without ever implying a false cognition of something to be done to produce light. This will not work for everyone, but for me, it is the ultimate comfort. Comfort - and further, happiness - may be impossible to truly and objectively isolate, but there is a clear goal here to help the listener confront their discomfort and continue on.