A gigantic, unspooled wrap of neon gauze envelopes me as I’m lowered into a glowing pool of water. My eyes reach toward a menagerie of pink-hued trees and bright-black stars as a brisk rush of crystal clear water completely submerges me. The rhythmic, volcanic pulse of the earth’s beating heart brings my eardrums to shudder, and I feel connected to the natural world in a way wholly surreal yet violently tangible. Admittedly, no psychedelics were involved in this experience. Rather, it’s a poor attempt to approximate (in my strange terms) the first time I listened to Purity Ring’s incredible, stirring debut Shrines with headphones. A few friends spoke of the record on various occasions during the the second half of 2012, but an all-consuming procrastination prevented me from giving it a fair once-over, no matter how ecstatic the praise. An unusual dinner party request near the turn of the new year inevitably put the group in my pathway: Each couple was required to bring an iPod with their 10 favorite songs from from the past 12 months, and a random drawing determined the order in which the playlists would be heard. Mine was drawn to play last, and I thankfully waded through an exciting stream of music that gave me a fascinating insight into each couple’s experience throughout the year. I say “thankfully” because, in all honesty, I hadn’t listened to that much new music throughout 2012, especially in comparison with the monolith that was 2011. The MOTH Collective at that time decided to take a break from our traditional focus of interviews, reviews, etc. to focus on various creative projects (explaining our oblivious absence from the local music scene, save a few random tweets and posts of various shows or videos that grabbed our interest). We recorded/wrote/labored over various sketches, ideas, concepts, and ill-conceived pipe dreams (the latter refers to me, of course) to varying degrees of success.