The latest single by Skrillex‘ OWSLA label mates Hundred Waters comes through the speakers– I’ve been in love with Hundred Waters particular brand since my first listen- experimental art folk/pop/rock, laced with all the ingredients of stellar indietronica, yet not tethered by genre. I had seen a social media blast regarding “Particle” release earlier in the day but had queued up it for a more ceremonious moment.
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That moment had come, and so, here I am- cruising highway 65 on a picture perfect blue sky day with a literal pair of rose-tinted shades on. I’m traversing the pleasant, if not sanitized, southwestern suburbs of Minneapolis in my recently purchased Toyota. I’m hitting the road soon- checking errands off of my list, music blaring as I mentally map out my next two months. I’m preparing to take a two-month road trip spanning across what many people consider the most beautiful parts of this country- through the mountains of Montana, the colorful plains of Idaho, the deserts and ocean of Southern California, and back north to the lush and diverse ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest- covering and attending some of the region’s premiere festivals and visiting friends along the way.
The crunchy brown soil and stark barren trees of a Minnesota winter have long since given way to plush grass and elms in full bloom, but for some reason, just now, as “Particles” comes together before me, I’m noticing the change in landscape fully for the first time. All the ingredients for a perfect day are there, however, a feeling creeps over me. I realize, to some surprise, that it is an overwhelming sadness, despite the beauty surrounding me.
It’s rather indicative of “Particle”, a song co-produced by Skrillex that explores the deep chasm that separates two people who may have been meant to comfort one another, but also a song that invokes a reverent imagery of the cosmic beauty of solitude, and in turn, gratitude. Nicole Miglis, the groups’ vocalist, wields an almost animalistic tone- at times harmonic, at times nearly shrieking, over manic synth and gut wrenching bass.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEkng2Un5n8?rel=0&controls=0&w=1280&h=720]
“Particle” is all about expectations not met, to tragic ends. It’s about that person who you once considered a part of you; the person who you call a stranger now, so distant that they are just another star in some far off constellation. I know I have a person like that in my life, and I think of him. I look to the distance toward a person, a shapeless figure on an afternoon run along an overpass far in the distance. I’ve never met this person. They have no idea I’m thinking about them, and we will likely never cross paths. They are a complete stranger, and they might as well be a
person I loved years ago; a person who let me down; and ultimately someone who owes me nothing.
I love Hundred Waters’ because I so often feel that their music helps me have a deeper understanding of my own flaws.
I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. Even moments like now, with so much to look forward to, it lies dormant in my bones and tissue. Even when blessed with amazing people surrounding me and making me feel so much bigger than I am, I struggle with a loneliness, a constant divide that comes from within.
We can’t rely on people, just as we can’t always rely on the universe. There are no rose tinted glasses that can lighten the intrinsic weight that comes with the beauty of existence. I think of all the beautiful familiar places I will soon lay eyes upon again. On every rolling hillside I will surmount, and deep within the dense mystery of every forest whose outskirts I will flirt with, there lies great human suffering. It is inescapable. I could travel as far West as my feet would take me, or far off into the great expanses of space, and it would still be with me, and with every person, I meet along the way.
These thoughts rush through my brain at a feverish pace, until, as “Particle” comes to its perhaps hundredth conclusion, suddenly they dissipate. My focus on the emptiness and the darkness fades, and slowly I allow myself to allow particles of sunlight in. “Particle” immediate scope may be that of trespasses of the heart, and of that all-encompassing loneliness- but in spite of its angst and unrest, it finds catharsis in its recognition of the vastness of experience, the relative triviality of the way we treat ourselves and one another. It dawns on me that the subject of “Particle” probably isn’t just one person or one disappointment, but more likely a wandering explanation, a search for meaning in a world much bigger than we can ever pretend to know. I let the music take over, and I allow myself to feel beauty in my pain, and all of a sudden it disappears, just specks of dust in a never ending universe.
Hundred Waters dropped a new EP yesterday titled Currency. It’s a sneak peek of a third Studio Album, set to release later this year on Skrillex’s label, OWSLA. You can check out the EP here:
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