Editor's Note

March/April 2022

author
Tasha Hefford

“The idea that there’s somebody waiting for me on the other side of all this shittiness was very comforting to me at that time. It kickstarted the whole process of getting off of my ass, writing this album, and trying to stay out of trouble.”

Francis Baptiste, It’s Easier if It’s in A Song by Hina Imam 

 

There’s something beautiful about a space where nobody really knows what they are doing or what they are even doing it for. Under the romantic cloak of artistry, these moments are what I like to call ⚠ a sweet escape ⚠. It’s poetry that makes you embarrassed of your own thoughts. Music to listen to while you escape the hell-realm. Art that makes you feel powerful. Or fragile. These things circumvent a long-trained and self-consciously strict pragmatism that rules most things. You know the one. It’s what we pour all the largely shapeless bewilderment of the world into and let it congeal in the freezer until it bursts. Despite everything — no yolo — people are still capable of making art that is brilliant and life-affirming and ⚠ deliciously escapist ⚠. Disorderly feelings call for similarly untidy songs. I will die on this hill! 

In this issue, writers take that shapeless meat and stuff it into a mold of their own devising. Who are the artists we cover? Who are their people? What’s in the work they make that listeners emotionally connect with? How do the relationships of artists with artists, artists with listeners, and artists with art intersect? The way these creative networks interface, connect and care for eachother is what we cover most. It reminds me this is what makes things suck less. It actually makes things really fucking good. 

 

1 very harmonically dense uncategorizable sound,

~T

January/February 2022

author
Tasha Hefford

 

“I’ve been destroyed by life and I feel fucking good!” – Pardoner, Came Down Different

 

Happy 2022 fellow lurkers,

There’s no easy way to describe what it is this issue turned out to be. Let’s start by acknowledging we’ve made it through another year of Susan Sontag’s Illness As Metaphor. The gauntlet of idioms such as, “Strange And Uncertain Times” and “New Normal,” to flatly describe a year fractured by precarity and dread, have run their necessary course. What we have now is a real knowledge of what it’s like to live at our limit. I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but there is a certain level of ‘i’m fucking done’ that moves the needle from life as a multi-player sport, to transcendental-Cartesian levels of “fuck it, I’m just going to manifest a new car.” Absolute doneness leads to that kind of magical thinking. A squirrel drops a kleenex on your doorstep and it doesn’t have to mean something, but it probably does. This is not a very deep way to start, but here me out. A small thread I’ve pulled from this year is that chaos orders us. That the mental kettle, the one that surrounds you with unease and dread, is something worth unraveling. It doesn’t have to, but what if it did? In Clara Dubber’s review of Eric Tkaczyk’s  /ˈsent(ə)nəl/, they do just that. Dubber writes, “those points of friction, those chapped, chafed points, indicate where we can loosen our grip.” Artmaking at it’s limit can be a warning and a celebration. In Amanda Thacker’s interview with Dust Cwaine, they likewise conclude, “Darkness has a habit of encroaching this way; subtle until devouring. Cwaine is no stranger to this phenomenon, but so too are they acquainted with the chain-breaking resurrection made possible by periods of darkness.” This “chain-breaking resurrection” Thacker refers to does not happen when one is feeling optimistic and powerful — it happens when you reach a limit. When you’re done. And it feels like shining light on shapes in the dark. 

 

Anyway, here’s wonderwall. The January/February issue takes the temperature of 2021 and makes it a little more spiritually percussive for the year ahead. We welcome the direction of new Associate Editor Fabio Schneider, and cover one of my favorite albums this year — Anti-God Hand’s “X.” as R. Hester writes, “what is illustrated by his pained screeches and wails throughout the music is the difference between the performance or description of a feeling, and actually emoting it.” Which is to say, what we found most exciting this year was the music (and art) that didn’t want to be an escape. It found a way into the fervor, not out. It let darkness become magical thinking. We find respite in our “Dreams dashed,” as Dora Dubber explores in the cancelling of Shindig. We wrote these things at the end of our rope — but it feels ok this time. It feels fucking good! As Jess Driscoll writes in “x-files map of vancouver,” “When I returned to the Lower Mainland, after a year on the east coast, all I could see were the mountains. They were bigger than ever, and closer, I’d swear. They were right there in my face, like they knew I’d been missing them. And then they faded back, like the rest of the city of my youth. I came back to Vancouver on the other side of 30, and I didn’t need to be here to prove myself anymore. I was ready to move on.” 

 

Like the little poisonous animals we are,

~T