Radio Quarantine – undertheskin: NEGATIVE (2019)

Revisiting the 80s again, by way of Warsaw, Poland, through undertheskin and N E G A T I V E I’m considering the hauntological aspects of the COLD WAVE bands and sounds. There is enough evidence, even from my limited explorations and posting of music from all over the globe, that it’s a vibe and genre that never stopped resonating with people. But while the Soviet Wave I’ve explored earlier is melancholic and dark in its own right, it still portrays a time of hope, of a collective Utopian vision for the future. The Cold Wave is quite different. It’s definitely nostalgic but not in the same way. The vision(s) playing out in the music are far from utopian. While Soviet Wave is nostalgia for building, Cold Wave is more nostalgia for collapse. Does that make sense? Maybe better words will come to me. Cold Wave seems to be more about exhaling and letting go and resigning oneself to the fall. Sometimes, as it happens in real life, there is relief in resignation.

I’ve no preference for one sound over the other. That changes from day to day depending on.. moods? In the end, music is music, and there is a sound for any mood you can conjure on any day. I think the Cold Wave, beyond portraying the darkness in the world around us, is resignation to the darkness in each of us. It exists. It’s there. Why continue to fear it? Why not confront it or even embrace it? Sometimes it’s easier to wear the inside on the outside. Denial has never done any favors for any man. Pretending we are shiny, happy people, though some days we may feel that way, is just dishonest. When you play that you run the risk of not being able to look in the mirror.

Some wounds need to heal in open air. If you insist on hiding your scars you can’t let anyone get too close because they will see.

Am I overthinking all this? There must be a reason this music resonates in every country and culture. If anyone has any better explanations, please enlighten me.

This group, undertheskin, is carrying me through the morning, in the meantime.

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