I’m in a funk. Most of the reasons have to do with COVID. This last week, we hit the astronomical milestone of 500,000 deaths. That number is tragic but what’s even more deplorable and weighs on me heavily is those losses could’ve been significantly reduced if during the previous year we had responsible, empathetic leadership. It feels like everyone around me is getting vaccinated, while I’m left behind. (This sparks junior high memories of pining impatiently for my first kiss or being picked last for dodgeball. Completely digressing; a ball being flung at an awkward, thirteen-year-old girl’s head is wrong on so many levels. What a ridiculous game to encourage with hormone exploding teens.) Anyways, I know it will be my turn soon enough but it’s hard to witness a somewhat return to normalcy by friends and family while I still must isolate to ensure my well-being. Yet, the dichotomy is I’m a bit freaked out about society re-entry. I’ve settled into this very bizarre way of functioning. (Could this be how prisoners feel after years of incarceration?) Finally, I’m lacking motivation around writing which makes me crazy. Overall, I’m feeling emotionally spent, a bit anxious with a hearty splash of blah. It’s not a good combination.
At the height of my emotional distress, I listened to “Duality,” Jake Rudin’s project NTHNL’s track from his new album “Tranquility Studies (Vol. 1).” The five-minute instrumental tune is characterized as ambient with meditative, hypnotic qualities. Ambient music originates from a mix of diverse genres such as avant-garde, folk, jazz, world sounds and even classical. Hence, the track’s title is perfect, illustrating complimenting yet somewhat contrasting musical varieties in its strong jazz feel yet still trancey in its peacefulness. “The release functions both as music and as a type of therapy for accessing specific states of mind.” It promises to be “apt if you would like to purge yourself of a certain feeling or mindset.” I didn’t read the publicity materials before experiencing the song. (I often don’t in order to develop my own, unbiased take.). The arrangement starts off organically. Instantly I breathe a bit deeper. Really kicking in, I feel freer in its wildness while the natural sounds provide a soothing element. I’m still not entirely myself, but Rudin’s music delivered on its promise, shaking me a bit out of the doldrums. What’s even better is the track did it without being that weird New-Agey stuff that often dominates the genre. Take in some of Rudin’s good vibrations!