Radio Quarantine – Years of Denial: Body Map (2019)

I’m stealing this promo quote from the Bandcamp site for Years of Denial:

Years of Denial joins Pinkman Broken Dreams and deliver an EP with four devilish and cataclysmic electronic body tracks. The duo’s sound combines influences of deranged experimental music with vocals surrounding themes of isolationism and dark romanticism. The outcome is stunning in its very own way, as the music creates a deeply immersive atmosphere, and is abundantly vigorous to keep dancers on their toes and moving from the night’s darkest corners to the dawn of day.

Body Map is dark. That’s all there is to say, really. It’s not exactly pretty but it’s beautiful in its own right, for all its sinister tone.

There’s a Western, quasi-Christian proclivity to deny darkness and to treat it as “the other” and work to banish it. Still it seems to creep back in. Whether it’s music, or film, painting etc., there is a dangerous edge that fascinates us. I do say that it seems to creep back in. The fact is that the only place it’s creeping back from is within us. It’s part of every one of us. You can’t escape it any more than you can escape your own liver. It’s within us. I won’t go as far as to say it’s our true nature. That wouldn’t be accurate, but it’s hard to deny that it’s part of our whole nature as organisms and its part of the world as the world itself is a living, breathing organism that we are each a part of. We are drawn to it the way we are drawn to or repulsed by our own image in the mirror. We are not pretty, but as a whole we are beautiful.

We can, at least in the interest of survival, devise mechanisms to rise beyond the horror in us but it doesn’t remove it entirely. We can invent conventions like society and religion and community and imbue it with rules of behavior but even those rules begin to disintegrate in the face of hardships and catastrophes like famine or disease… a zombie apocalypse as it might be portrayed in fiction. We are drawn to such fictions because they reflect the truth. They are part of what we see in the mirror. Things fall apart.

“I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony; but chaos, hostility and murder.”
― Werner Herzog

People speak a lot of harmony, but most often in the context of banishing parts of our darker, savage nature. That’s the failure of the religions and philosophies that externalize what they describe as evil. It’s not about banishment at all. That’s an impossibility. It’s about balance and balance is the definition of harmony. Harmony is as much a pursuit of peace between warring sides as it is anything else you may want to call it. And you’re going to have to know as much as possible about that part of your nature if you’re going to know how to balance it and what to balance it with. The idea that it can be excised is a lie. It’s the ultimate in futility. Cut off your leg and see how much harder it is to find balance. See how much harder it is to survive.

The externalization of “evil” is perhaps the greatest disservice of the Middle Eastern religions. That’s the plain truth of it. The word “evil” itself is a falsehood. It’s not a demonic external force. It’s simply the opposite of civil. The externalization of our meaner instinct also informs how we view any bad feeling. It informs how we treat depression and other mental illnesses, by visualizing an “other,” a force that keeps us from feeling good. There must be a place outside us to place the blame for anything that doesn’t feel good. The truth is we’re not always meant to feel good. There wouldn’t even be a “good” without a “bad.” For example what is any addiction but a dire compulsion to banish any bad feeling at all?

And of course I’m rambling, but this is yet another part of the thread. It’s more about examining who I am and who we are.

Our true nature. So what are we? Are we good or evil? I’d say we are both, as individuals and in groups. Civility is as much a survival tool as it is connected to any morality. The other instincts, the darker ones, are sometimes vestigial remains of other survival mechanisms. They are both us.

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