notes for 'on the horizon: 2018'

on the horizon: 2018, as heard by joshua

i'm writing this up in-flight, somewhere over the pacific ocean. as is my standard technique for jetlag mitigation, as soon as our wheels left the ground, i set my watch for the time zone of the current flight's destination. this gained me five hours today, bringing me from 'you're about to watch a heartbreakingly-beautiful sunset over the crater you ran up before dawn to watch the sunrise today' to 'you are about to increment to the next day'. this feeling no longer surprises me.

'what makes us human' played during that last paragraph. it was a song that i did not think i liked at first, but it clung to me while i was scraping out those words from my increasingly sleep-deprived fingers. i shouldn't be so sleepy because i should still be operating on pacific standard time and 24 hours ago i was barely finishing my last dinner with my parents. however, i'm sleepy because my mother and i were up until 2am having what i think was a good, albeit emotionally charged, conversation. then, we got up three and a half hours later so we could race the sun to the top of le'ahi.

'start again' is playing now, which i also didn't think i liked so much when it came on. but it's a feature of my ear that if someone somewhere likes it, i probably will like it soon enough.

if there's a commonality to all these tracks (so far) is that they are highly sonic, almost synesthesic (i occasionally get auditory/mouthfeel synesthesia; this is very apparent when i am tuning a piano because i experience those tones almost more as a taste than a sound), in a way that affects my sensory perception more than a more intellectual engagement. they are, in short, more about feeling than about thinking, to me.

i'm typing this with the lid of my laptop closed over my knuckles, my eyes also closed, because they are tired. several people around me are watching movies, so glints of light flick over my eyelids in a way that is almost like static meshing with the noise in my ears. when i use my laptop with my eyes closed like this, the space feels uncomprehendingly large, as the visual edges of the screen no longer contain what i'm entering. for brief periods of my life, i have trained myself on using a screenreader so i could have this experience more effectively. there is a very strange feeling that i can only get by sitting on a bench in the park, looking around at trees, runners, skies, insects, while slowly fumbling through my computer using only touch and sound.

i am not very good at this, but my clumsiness doesn't seem to detract from my enjoyment, especially knowing that it is a choice and not a necessity.

i try to do a lot of things without my sight. i tie knots by feel, sometimes, and can check them by feel as well (though not confidently enough that i won't also give it a visual check, for safety reasons). i shower with the lights out when i neeed that dark space. i enter my house at night with none of the lights on, crossing the stairs and the rooms with full trust that all objects are where i expect them to be and that i know the distance between the walls. maybe it's the years of having to load and occasionally process film in pitch blackness that gave me this appreciation for the seemingly infinite space i can reach just by closing my eyes, an apparent superpower that i frequently indulge in. maybe it's that there's a sense of exhaustion i get from the chaos of interpreting the visual world that just shutting it out, even if that removes many sources of information from reaching my brain, is a powerful gesture for me.

i cannot control the progress of this plane between these two locations. i take on faith that this process will work, because it has worked enough times in the past, and there's a general society-level understanding that this process is fine.

these songs are doing a job of opening a part of my brain because they shut out other parts of my brain. sonically complicated music makes my auditory center work in a way that drowns out other noise that my brain makes for itself. the noisier the music, the better it will do. i start each track skeptical of whether or not i'll like it, but by the end of the track, i can't get enough of it.

i didn't expect acid jazz to show up in this collection.

i should sleep through the rest of this flight so i can have a better day tomorrow.

11 January 2019 08:35

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