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.
My script for the short film The Apologist went unrealized due to a terrible spate of writer’s block that crippled me day and night. I couldn’t conjure a muse to lift the crushing weight of a boulder blocking that part of my consciousness that seemed so accessible in recent history. No joy, or hope of rescue, was to be found in the records that I dearly cherished; the walks that I took in the early part of the evening that once fueled my creative fires with great effectiveness went without score. Throughout that time, I could only stomach a few records in whole: Cube’s Can Can In the Garden, Jessica Pratt’s debut, and A Winged Victory for the Sullen. I feel personally indebted to those works for guiding me through the particularly difficult bits, wherein I felt trapped in a vacant room that had been stripped of all its character. It was only secured by a simple lock, but I lacked the faculties to work out how to pick it, so I resigned myself to stay.
I found myself at this pivotal moment with a Rye Old Fashioned in hand, comfortably swaddled in my favorite cardigan, and bathed in the sweet laughter of people I love dearly consuming delicious food and libations. An ethereal tone drips out from the stereo that’s completely unfamiliar, yet it feels as inherent to my being as the thinned blood coursing through me in real-time. It completely absorbs my attention, and I inquire as to the who/what/where/when/how of the track, and my worst fears were confirmed in an instant:
“Yeah, that’s ‘Crawlersout’ by Purity Ring… that record I’ve been telling you about”.
My initial reaction was unabashed disappointment, being that I didn’t feel I had the capacity to give the record the attention it rightfully deserved. The rest of the night went by in a lovely manner, but I was haunted, so I resolved that the only means to exorcise that feeling was to play it front-to-back with no regard for the outcome. With that wonderful temporary warmth wrapped around my psyche, I cued up the album on Spotify, and immediately I felt a gigantic, unspooled wrap of neon gauze envelop me as I was lowered into a glowing pool of water…
Shrines served as the magnet that drew me back from the edge of a chasm I didn’t fully understand. After seeing their brilliant live show at Plush, all the weight I felt melted away in a wave of pulsing lights, fog, and incredible sound. Every record I’ve heard since feels new, being captivated by the sounds of Rhye, Blue Hawaii, Gang Colours, Holy Other, Goldroom, James Blake and many others… all informed by my deep, unconditional love for Shrines. The complex, spinning clockwork of these electronic sounds have helped to rediscover my voice, and it’s filled that empty reservoir with words that were gravely absent for so long. You’ll be seeing some changes around the site, but what I hope you’ll ultimately contribute to is a positive conversation about the sounds that define your experiences in modern life. To mark the reintroduction of MOTH to civilized society, I made a playlist that encompasses my feelings in much more enjoyable terms. Put on a good pair of headphones, lay back, and allow the movies that dance around on your eyelids play out in spectacular fashion. With love, Justin.
Here’s our Spotify link: MOTH: Sunrise/Sunset