SevenDoors

Many electronic fans will have first been introduced to Sevendoors by his appearance in the second highest viewed boiler room of all time. Christ, what a mix that is. It should be added to the GCSE curriculum. Here a spectacularly debonair Solomun is in and amongst the crowd, making hand signals that only a don could pull off, glass of wine at the ready, doing what comes naturally to him- mesmerising everybody. After doing this for an hour, he sticks Movement of Whale On and everyone claps, whistles and bounces around in utter jubilation, launching them deep into unknown waters. The track is so rich, and fluctuates all over the place, it’s deeply uplifting and laced with a grandeur semblant of a herd of blue whales, leaping out of the water, and then dancing off together into the vast expanse of the ocean.

SevenDoors certainly has a unique source of inspiration that makes him quite extraordinary. We all know the slow, long and hollow calls of whales that reverberate through the ocean. There is a whole library of these sounds that can be found on Youtube, which demonstrates how useful people find these to be, mostly for the purposes of stress relief, relaxation and meditation. But SevenDoors saw a new potential altogether. His music attempts to take the whale and bring it into melodic techno.

Almost all of his tracks are named after species of this creature. Tracks such as Orca, Mesplodon and Bowhead all shine with SevenDoors’ cetacean style, and abound in his own unique sound. But my favourite by the artist is Albeiro, released on Get Physical, which seems to have gone quite unnoticed. It’s less soothing than the other tracks, and has heavy, dark overtones guaranteed to make you want to get up and have a little dance to yourself wherever you are.

I will always be thankful for SevenDoors for this powerhouse of a mix which made me understand he is not merely a producer. Every single track on it is an absolute anthem from the latter part of 2016 and he blends them together with excellence. It includes Mano Le Tough, Tale of Us, Trikk, Locked Groove, Hunter/Game, Recondite and many other producers who are bang on the money these days.

SevenDoors has mastered the balance soulful and hard techno, and excels at performing both. For example, check out his contribution to the Soulful Techno Podcast, which is a delightful, soothing mix for all the family to enjoy, contrasting to the harder and darker cocktail of dance-floor bombs above.

I was quite surprised to discover that SevenDoors is from the UK, as sadly he rarely performs here and goes largely unappreciated. I hope he comes back to his native land sometime soon. Don’t forget your snorkel.

Music

I’ve recently came to the conclusion that music is my favourite of the art forms and the one that I find most indispensable. If I’m ever in the depths of despair, if something seriously bad was to happen, I wouldn’t be taking refuge in a novel, or even poetry. I’d most likely be listening to music, over and over again.

I’ve never learned an instrument or had any real skill in the crafting of it, but I’ve always been a voracious listener. As a confused peroxidey teenager, I’d listen all the time, downloading individual tracks on Limewire; breaking laptop after laptop, feeding music into my Ipod. Each song like a collector’s item and listening to them over and over again as I cycled round the village on my mountain bike, finding my way in life, on my own little journey, accompanied by its own eclectic little themes- anything from Keane to Klaxons. I’d listen as I walked home from the bus stop, contemplating the latest social scandal I’d got myself into with my mobile phone, the latest insipid girl that I pined for and all other imbroglios. If I was to listen to Jack Peñate now I’d probably feel like I was 15 again. Best not to.

I think people have a serious problem in that they don’t see the value of it. Music is free for everyone, and accessible whenever you want it. Discovering it is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Music punctuates what’s going on in your life at the time and gives it both meaning and significance. Meaning and significance which is perhaps much needed as we are arbitrarily generated and propelled into the agonising vortex of life briefly before it consumes us for all eternity, dispersing our peripatetic atoms across the Universe. It’s no wonder that the non-believers listen to much more and better music than the believers do. You don’t need god to get through it all, when you have music. Just ask Neitzsche, he realised this nearly 130 years ago, and this was before proper techno was being produced.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich himself.

It adds order to the chaos, it joins up the dots and provides your own unique life with it’s own unique sound track. What’s more, if you search hard enough and you want it, you’ll find music that will help you reach places no body has ever reached before. At whatever unique place you are in life, choosing to listen to (presumably good) musicyou are giving your brain the chance to interpret sensory experiences in a way that nobody else has ever had the fortune of doing before. And these experiences will turn into memories that you can look back on fondly, whenever you want at the touch of a button (just not Mr. Brightside please, okay I understand it was a good track but it’s dead now, get over it).

The act of listening is very easy, and never time consuming. It’s effect on the brain is immediate and it can accompany and enhance almost any situation (other than eating and reading, and arguments with family, I find) and can be enjoyed by thousands of people all at once, in one location. Also there’s so much of it, electronic music is constantly developing due to the infinite library of sounds that can be created and used in tracks. Readers of my Rise of Intellechno will understand that a lot of that blog was a joke. But behind all good jokes, lies an element of truth. I wholeheartedly believe that this new techno is the best shit there is. Probably the best shit there has ever been, it’s music for body and mind, and it’s becoming more and more popular by the week. Whether you choose to take my word for it or not is up to you.

Similarly to if you want to read good books, you’ll be confronted by the paradox of choice if you want to listen to the best music. You might feel paralysed by how much of it there is and choose not to risk failure by trying at all.You’ll listen to some stuff and not hear anything, though it might later turn out to be the work of your favourite artist. Just get over the hurdle. You’d be a wallowing imbecile and a waste of space if you didn’t simply get over it and immerse yourself in at every turn. One of life’s great tragedies is missing the boat. To stay at the port would display appalling sloth and arrogance.  You must aim to always get on the boat because you don’t know where it might take you.

My friends and I don’t get each other Christmas presents. But if one of them bought me a pair of trainers one Christmas or a PlayStation I’d be extremely grateful. But in reality, if throughout the year that person was to share music with me, give me artist names that I can discover and delight in for the years to come, and give me license to develop and refine my taste then that surely is the greater gift and the richer source of pleasure. And one which we can all make the effort to give for free.

If we were able to rationally ascribe a value to music, based on the enjoyment it provides, it would be somewhere between reasonably expensive- highly extortionate . But because it’s free we foolishly set it aside and merely shrug our shoulders if we allow the best of it to slip the net. And what’s absolutely reprehensible is that we shake off recommendations provided by our friends- that’s the equivalent of me buying you a pair of shoes I think you’ll really like based on your preferences and you never even bothering to take them out of the box. We also covet music as well, which is greedy. If for whatever reason you miss or lose a track you should feel like you’ve lost a piece of your life.

And no, that really isn’t hyperbole.

♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬♩♪♫♬

You will see that the Music category has returned to the LordoftheReeves menu above.

 

White shores and beyond- the perpetual anti-climax

Nothing is ever as good as you hope it will be. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but after experiencing a lot of life, one has to accept that everything eagerly anticipated, on occurrence, is ultimately destined to be a disappointment. This is the attitude that many of my friends now take, they expect failure, and therefore make lifestyle decisions in favour of the familiar, the comfortable, the easy. They think they’re being clever, in limiting disappointment, choosing the reliable old damage-limitation approach. You must protect yourself from the perpetual anti-climax at all costs!

Conservatism.

This is a stance I’ve desperately tried to avoid taking all of my life. And for reasons that I still consider to be entirely valid. Having this position of scepticism is bad for a number of reasons I can think of, because

  1. It precludes being adventurous, achieving high goals, doing interesting things, taking risks. It makes life boring.
  2. Life itself would be not worth living unless it is something that can potentially continually improve with time.
  3. It’s arguably a highly cowardly perspective, as it is a form of giving up in the face of adversity.
  4. There is simply far too much to be lost, and so little to be gained. Every day is a thousand failed opportunities. Understanding the extent of these missed opportunities would be agony to our minds if only we knew what we have missed due to our habitual laziness, cowardice, stubbornness, arrogance and ignorance.

I’ve been an idealist, a romantic, a panglossian fool. I’ve written the scripts in my brain and then the play never happens, or if it does happen it’s a twisted, dull simulacrum of what I intended, and all of a sudden I’m starkly reminded that I’m not a character in a 19th century Russian novel or a TV series (that probably doesn’t even exist anyway but I still wholeheartedly believe in my chimerical brain I will probably write, star in and recreate in my actual life). I finally  decide to speak to the girl in my seminar who seems nice, handsome, dresses cool, appears to have a personality, and she answers my questions as briefly and abruptly as possible, gradually quickens her walking pace and says “Dave, is that you?” then takes the first opportunity she can to escape out of the nearest fire exit.

Another instance of disappointing reality vs Utopian dreams (and the former resoundingly crushing the latter into a thousand pieces)- last weekend one of my friends’ vast, lovely house was vacant and available for a gathering, which I allowed myself to be optimistic about for weeks. Ooh yes! We can get the decks, put them on the vast expanse of work surface in the kitchen and my little friend who knows how to DJ, the only person who listens to the same music as me, can plug in his USB stick of meticulously curated IDM tracks (yes, intelligent dance music is actually a genre [and overshadows the deceptive and meaningless blanket term ‘techno’ which is no good to any of us]) and we can all take the right drugs and all dance together and all really get down to someone like Joris Voorn or Solomon and everyone will smile together and it will conjure ‘one of those moments’ – the moments we constantly seek.

The night before this was going to take place, in a drunken state I sent a long and grotesquely mawkish text to all of my friends who were coming, emphasising the importance of the occasion. It encouraged attendants to honour the occasion, treating it as if it was a proper rave with an emphasis on dancing and loads of other things I can no longer remember, as I deleted it from my phone as soon as I got the chance. And deservedly, the next day I was under heavy scrutiny, at risk of being righteously lambasted by anyone and at any second. The execution was despicable, but behind the horribleness, was hope.

What eventually transpired was a complete disaster, descending into mindless techno- warfare and nothingness. My mate with the USBs decided he ‘couldn’t be bothered to DJ’ and was nowhere to be seen, preferring to dissolve into a bag of coke for the evening. A couple of my friends played some nice stuff but truth be told, it was never what I hoped for. In a flurry of contempt I ran over to the cutlery draw and withdrew two of the largest knives I could find and threatened to stab him if he continued to play music.

Following this we were scattered across the house, no one knew where anyone was, there was a couple or a threesome in the dark corners of every bedroom. There was no certainty, and no unity. Many lost interest in the night altogether, some whom had travelled from far and wide to attend, and decided to leave early, preferring the comfort of their own beds. The rest of us continued to do what we were doing. It was a good night. But nowhere near good enough.  And it’s not like that’s anything new. And that’s why it’s so sad. Sooner or later, we will have lost faith altogether. Imprisoned, destined to re-enact the same dissatisfying, mechanical routine over and over again. Disappointment after disappointment. When I suggested we should perhaps invite other people to parties like this another one of my wiser friends put it well the other night when he said, ‘we can’t even socialise with each other, let alone with other people’.

I could chuck this experience in with about 5 holidays and about 3 festivals, about 3 friendships and my University experience, all of which I felt this same tedious level of dissatisfaction having finished. I’ve learned from these miscalculations. Other than a few fragmented memories of ‘happiness’ and momentary triumphs, these are mostly valuable as learning curves for me. Stark reminders not to get carried away by the rhetoric of the hedonists. Cook from Skins is not and never will be a real person. Drugs, aren’t what they purport to be. It turns out that all this idealism is is a desperation to escape, to escape one’s own life and become somebody else. And when you realise that that’s exactly what you’re going for,  you’ll realise how bollocks all of this truly is. The question still remains, should we want more or should we want to be happy with less? Is there a middle ground? We’re lost, even if we don’t realise it.

I don’t know if any of this applies to you, your life might be joy after joy as your Facebook profile suggests, with those photos of you smiling like a crocodile in your graduation robes, or standing by some idyllic beach clutching your partner’s waist like you’re indestructible, or sitting in some swanky bar with a colourful cocktail in your hand with an umbrella sticking out of it, experiencing wonder after wonder, you might be loving every single chapter of your life more and more as it unfolds. And if so, congratulations! But I fear that the reality for most people, is more akin to my anonymous character who wanders across the Island of disused electrical appliances, alone and lost, constantly telling himself that ‘it will happen’, when he knows full well, deep down that it won’t. But he hopes nonetheless, clinging to the slightest possibility that it might. If not, he’d be off to B + Q for an extension lead (toaster, bath, post-it note, biro, goodbye).

We, the hopeful are no different from the devout in that we delude ourselves with the improbable. Without doing so, life would be intolerable. But what if even this is a delusion? I should stop over thinking it and realise life is fantastic if we just sit back chill the fuck out, and enjoy the finer things. Like listening to Kiasmos or reading Larkin, taking the piss out of a horrible friend, watching Peep Show, walking through the woods, eating a delicious bowl of cereal with raisins in it, standing in the away end at football matches, taking the dog for a nice walk, playing heads and volleys (according to the proper rules) or just that massively liberating sweaty feeling after a workout when you’ve got a slimy back and soaking wet hair and the endorphins are swimming around in your brain and you’re free because you don’t have to exercise anymore for the entire day! These things will always be there and then, and then…

And then the  grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

What? Gandalf? See what?

White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Well, that isn’t so bad.

No. No, it isn’t.