Sound, light! … words on paper … over-heard speech … the cat??you saw it … a dog … you realized! Sensations??out of context??grow new limbs. They cease to be actualized items, no longer real forms. By removing time and space from perception, impulse experience soon becomes entirely determined by individual personality. Walking through campus, you will daydream, your dreams passing unnoticed by others as your unique sense impressions pervade your personal imagination. The girl who sits next to you in French with the thick ankles and misplaced lipstick??she says hello, but from you??no reaction. Behind your eyes a haze has risen, cloudy thoughts circle. And more often than not, you watch your own feet walking; but shoes, very rarely, are interesting. Leather and laces do not transfix faces. So why? The pose is of thought and the subsequent dream …
A land thick in dream, an island of long gothic nights or sweet white days, Iceland celebrates its most famous natural landmarks, hot springs in the shadow of power stations. Water and metal, essentially. Or more essentially, Mother Nature??Daddy Mechanics. Thus, Icelandic music gave birth to Bjork, a crazy pixie with developed flair for combining Mother and Father to create pieces combining sharp, mathematical percussion, classic melody and a clean singing voice. Sigur Ros, a band representing another aspect of the Icelandic sound, exhibits similar pixie tendencies; however, unlike Bjork, the group does not conform to American linguistic expectations and sings entirely in Icelandic. Nothing is comprehended.
But the power of misunderstanding should not be misunderstood. On the quartet’s second major release, Agaetis Byrjun, roughly translated, “The Lake That Angel Drank From,” music and vocals combine to flesh out tone. Here, understandable lyrics aren’t present to shove listeners toward one particular emotion. Every tongued word heard can mean anything. I, for instance, have a favorite song in which a drowned man sings with the fish and mermaids that have come to take him to the dark watery heaven away from the murderous world behind him. It is only an image, but it illustrates the full capacity of my personal imagination; this music allows my mind to wonder without the restraints of language.
All art, all books, all television even, should become like this. Expanding the metaphor to encompass stationary, I envision Sigur Ros as a rich, white, textured, oil-free note pad, the kind that gives way to an artists’ creative nightmare??a clean slate. A beautiful one at that. Returning to dreams.
Over Christmas I lay in bed after revolving and falling like a rock in a nightclub. The room dark, an environmentally harsh hush fell as the CD rotated in the tray (the early morning quiet, too heavy for bass-wracked eardrums). “Olsen Olsen” started up as I fell into a state of rest, but in over-exhaustion my body remained awake. The music pervaded my senses and I started to visualize dream-style without physically sleeping. I saw the wettest, greenest garden ever to keep me awake. In the leaves and rain a red red red balloon bobbed through branches, the string held by an evasive figure in gray. I could hear the wet gravel crunching under my soles, the music vague as if whispered over heavy breath. I turned the corner and that miserable-looking boy from the cover of Angela’s Ashes stood in grayscale amid the green grass, trees, bushes and, most striking, the red balloon floating on the string, limp by his head.
The dream means nothing, it’s just pretty, little bullshit. But those are dreams.
I am not a crazy person, yet I do expand spiritually when I get the chance, which is rare. But the plane on which Sigur Ros allows you to run is a good, good place. No guides, no understanding, free form free association, a base for something more rewarding than ten incomprehensible tracks on a shiny circle.