Our Side by Side series returns with newest signee Sheherazaad's stream-of-consciousness essay on Anne Müller's Heliopause.
Anne, having worked historically on some of my most favorite albums, has a solo body of work that leaves me feverish, awe-stricken, and ever - newly nostalgic for her known signature sound.
I have a bizarre way of describing music while composing, and this language came to the fore while sitting with Heliopause. Here is the untechnical, ludicrous account of my brain matter when I heard her album.
I hear caverns. Worlds morphing.
I see empires building and advancing. Civilizations stretching towards a crescendo.
Ancient ship wreckages creaking and groaning mountainously on the ocean floor, waiting to be resurrected, for their great epics to be continued.
I hear ghosts. Ghouls and trapped spirits full of Want.
Suddenly, there is a moany stringed being, masquerading as a “good” cello. All the beauty in its failed attempts at assimilation.
This same “cello” furiously beginning to dig at itself, contorting and doing small backflips, slurring its speech, swaying like a sloppy drunk towards an Instagrammable sunset.
But falling into small crevices along the way, then being swallowed whole by one.
At last the cello begins to step into its true, eccentric selfhood. It’s not a cello at all, actually, but some other entity.
The ghosts from 1 emerge from freshly cut grass, barreling at light speed in dazzling twirls towards the solar system. Somehow, I can hear their primal need to evaporate.
They gain momentum.
More momentum. I hear their collective whistle and grunt as they ascend, granting them a glistening humanity and a touch of rowdiness.
I suddenly think of rose thorns, hopping off their stems for a moment, crooning a melody about being mercilessly misunderstood and bastardized through the epochs. The thorns’ glamorous sermon, their one moment of transient Stardom. I hear it all.
The last coils of Ghost dissipate, their final transition “complete”. There is Death. “Ghaib hojathe” (English: they disappear) into a white night sky.
But things continue, forever and always. Things die, miserably, and reawaken in another form, nothing created or destroyed. So we enter a realm of this kind of remembrance here, and we’re flying.
The wings of now-gentler-ghouls, glide us over new worlds still, dimensions we cannot fathom as we see them, so we mostly don’t see them. The wind is polite and gentle as it supports our impossible flight.
Suddenly, we’ve been dropped. We’re falling in percussive increments down, down, into the soil, burrowing through layers of the earth. Passing by creatures yet undiscovered and hidden in the trenches of the planet. We burrow past the fabled inner tiers of earth, which have been mythologized for centuries by every living and forgotten culture.
We accept our Fall, and are pulled with ferocious magnetism towards the hottest inner core of the planet. The earth’s fiery center.
Here we enter Nothingness. There are little bats of Nothingness which appear, and we hear them microtonally wafting and beating their furious wings with sounds of rhythmic Nothing. There are almost - human voices that occasionally haunt Nothingness, which melt into a lullaby Nothingly. Nothingness both shrieks, and is pristinely silent. It is both pretty and sordid, like a beauty influencer. On the Seesaw of Nothingness now, everything slows to a molten pace. Nothing Angels come and present themselves, angels contorting into angles. The bats return and beat their wings, creating more vacuum, more Nothing.
The angels siphon sweet nothingness into my bones, like sweet elixir, or poison. Or both. I cascade into the lack of anything, feeling my blood and eyeballs become, Nothing at All.
Here, a curtain call of mania. I’m jiving, as spools of electric, neurological wiring come undone.
Frenzied, acid - injected, classical insomnia.
The Hunted engulfs the predator. They buzz together and hump. The Chased takes chaser. The colonized twirls colonizer.
Panic at the Disco. Panic in a Beehive. Undulating, pulsating. Bees with little fang bums shaking and gyrating.
Heaven shines through, peeking over the madness. Because God wants to glimpse at her impossible, sarcastic project. The Lunatic.
She touches the curves and edges of her manic, feral little creations who can’t see or feel or fathom her. Because they are lost in hysteria, in war cry. Lost in the guttural, endless Giggle of Life.
Everything spins faster and faster, until we’re at par with Earth’s rotations per second. A fade out of squeaks, bubbles, and final giggles, since we don’t care anymore what comes after this, if anything.
But it becomes clear that it’s Time for the Reckoning. An Atonement.
Glittery drops of Reality fall on my cheeks, bringing me back, reinstalling me to where I began.
Everything is the same, and importantly, nothing is the same. In my periphery, I see worlds within worlds; I hear a Hoo. I hesitate to blink, less I crush a small gnome hiding in my eyelashes.
There is the insistence to wake up. To have hope for Fuck’s sake. The low growl of life kicks up ashes, and I can taste the grey, burnt old life with my tongue and eyeballs. The growl turns to low howl, the primal call beckons me to stand up and take charge of Existence. My bloody existence, your bloody existence, who have been waiting patiently, agonizingly, like helpless children.
But also Me, or You, as we know, isn’t real. Except in the silly fabricated lies we feed to ourselves and our little ones. The truth is so much better than that. And because we’ve listened, we Know.
Will we remember, though?
· discover this stunning album