Last week, one of my friends invited me out to the beach, to which I hadn’t gone in at least a few years, and I was finally given the opportunity to catch up on reading. My selection of choice for the beach was, of course, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, a true-event-based fictional work describing Gulag labor camps. I figured a novel about struggling to maintain dignity in a tedious, cold, oppressive, and cruel environment was sufficiently fitting for the beach. The day after my arrival, almost prophetically, I caught the flu and was forced to stick to bed like the true hermit I’ve always been. Although the hosts were incredibly hospitable, my field trip on planet pleasure was inevitably cut short.
Without enough strength to read, maintain prolonged focus, or get out of my temporal chasm of doom, my mind drifted towards my immediate surroundings. The most pervading of such proved to be the air conditioner adjoined to the wall. It’s droning white noise was cemented to my eardrums during the hours that I was forced to rest, prolonging my stress. After much forceful listening, though, I started finding rhythmic content in the aforementioned gallop, even musically and mechanically evolving patterns. “Cold”, the first of two tracks on Thunder Perfect Mind
, was very much parallel to this experience; at first seemingly ubiquitous samples of dogs, hammers, and everything in between were beamed into my ear and I found fleeting moments of rhythmic intensity, harmony, and mechanically driven expression. Repeated pulsations embellished such samples as to create a frenzied orchestra of sorts which interacted continuously throughout the track, leading to angular quasi-polyrhythmic phrases that hypnotized me thoroughly. Such hypnosis would be suddenly broken by aggressive and unusual sounds, such as breaking glass or screaming babies, bringing the dense rhythmic phrase to a screeching halt only to start again but in a varied, evolved manner. As a matter of fact, the first half of the recording accurately reflected my fever dreams; although the “music” I was entangled in droned on, there were moments of violent and unsettling prompts that shook my comfortability under the sheets. Nightmares and subconscious fears were momentarily brought to my immediate attention.
The second half of the album, “Colder Still,” reminisced my brain’s futile effort at thought under exhaustion; quite literally the sound of a burden. Such piece, although still dense, felt almost funereal in approach. Yet again, samples were thoroughly employed, but on this occasion to create a heavy atmosphere with sparse rhythmic content and enthralling soundscapes. Resonant wails in the distance created a suspenseful aura that successfully put me in a reflective mental state, which was capitalized by the eerie spoken word and tribal drum segment towards the end of the album. Although very tiring, I was appreciative of the second half of the record as it made me feel as if my thoughts actually had physical weight for once. It made my metaphysical existence materialize to an extent, at the cost of my energy.
On my way back home, after the trip cut short, I found myself deeply satisfied. Although I was sick through most of it, I found time to experience and meditate upon my subconscious. As I healed, I felt more prepared to face my immediate existence. The same can be said for Thunder Perfect Mind
, really. Like one day in a Gulag labor camp, it brings forth conflict, cacophony, bitter frost, and noise. Although burdening, it proved rewarding in the long run. Looking back at both experiences, I can’t help but feel like the cold was strangely refreshing amidst the intense heat that pervaded me.