Radio Quarantine -Darkwood – Notwendfeuer (2006)

The cover photo says as much as needs to be said about the tone with this album. DARKWOOD was tagged as industrial and that may accurately describe other releases but Notwendfeuer is pretty much as folk as neo-folk gets. Acoustic guitars, strings, un-processed, somber vocals, think early Leonard Cohen singing in German and that’s about as close as you’re going to get. It makes sense that it came up as a suggestion, given everything I’ve listened to over the last few days, but it’s definitely a more organic sound. The industrial tag has no real place at all on this album. I may have to dig further to find that. And eventually I’ll get around to David Tibet, who seems to be credited as the godfather of all this neo-folk.

I can’t apologize for the mood of all this, though admittedly it is out of pace with the spring weather. All the signs of spring are here. The air is warm, sky blue and trees blossoming. All of that, but the mood is still… under a gray pall of pandemic and politics and paranoia. How’s that for alliteration? The spring mood isn’t here with it and it’s not just me. The world is out of step, or at least the Western World. We aren’t a people that does well with powerlessness and uncertainty. There is a lot of positive rhetoric but it’s coming across as hollow, which speaks volumes for how empty it’s always been. Speaking of greatness doesn’t make one great, does it? Hype is just hype.

The Derek Chauvin trial is going on a month now and I couldn’t put a finger on what it was that made it so surreal. (Chauvin is the policeman that murdered George Floyd last year, kneeling on his neck for nearly ten minutes, all captured on video.) Then I read a caption on Twitter that nailed it, spot on. It said something to the effect that if you need any clearer sign that our nation is broken, you need only view a four week trial to determine the guilt in a crime that everybody saw.

Mic drop.

Were this an isolated case in a nation of 300 million you might be able to write it off as an anomaly, but it’s far from isolated. These cases are one after another after another after another. There can’t be anybody in this country, including those defending Derek Chauvin, that believe that this wasn’t a murder. What we are witnessing with anybody defending him at all is a mass hysteria. I’m sure his defenders would like to believe that he’s not guilty of wanton, racist murder, but I don’t believe that they truly do. I believe in their heart of hearts that they are willing to throw out George Floyd as a sacrificial lamb to allay all their terror of the world around them. Let the police do what they want because… it’s not us. And what would happen if the people we are terrified of aren’t terrified of the police… and of us?

The gray pall hanging over the springtime is all the truths that people are unwilling to face. It’s powerlessness. It’s the knowledge that we are not special and subject to special protections is the eyes of gods that don’t seem to be protecting us the way we were told they were.

And for folks like me, who always knew it was bullshit? Hell, I’m just stuck under the same gray sky. I’m not afraid. I’m just not dishonest with myself. What has been seen cannot be unseen and yes I have repeated that ad nauseum, but it makes it no less true. We are living behind a curtain of depraved fear and everyone just wants to go back into the artificial light of moral certitude, which has never been certain.

Artificial light will never be the sun.

So no, I won’t apologize for the tone or the mood. It’s not mine. It just is.

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