Radio Quarantine -Kikagaku Moyo/幾何学模様 – Mammatus Clouds (2014)


Just for context:

Mammatus clouds are pouch-like protrusions hanging from the undersides of clouds, usually thunderstorm anvil clouds but other types of clouds as well. Composed primarily of ice, these cloud pouches can extend hundreds of miles in any direction, remaining visible in your sky for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes at a time.

I’ve experienced these once or twice that I can recall, but I didn’t know what they were called. It’s a heavy phenomenon. It looks like the sky itself is about to collapse.

So… a musical representation of the weather? Maybe, but KIKAGAKU MOYO is tagged on Bandcamp as Space-Rock and Psychedelia. Why not? We’ll take it. It’s definitely mind-bending and like so many other albums, takes on life as the volume is increased. Apartment living isn’t really volume-friendly but even just a little bit adds some chills. And it’s nice to know that sounds like this are still being made, even if it’s in Tokyo and not someplace where you can readily hear it played live.

And just to clarify, these are heavy sounds. They have their own gravitational pull. It’s not chillout music for the Xanax Generation. This is not hippie music. The clouds are not wispy and breezy. They are icy boulders and they will tell you, the storm is coming.

It’s a weird vibe and I mean the week itself, not the album. It’s Wednesday and feels like a third consecutive Monday with a full week ahead. I’m not able to pinpoint any cause for the vibe. It’s just kind of heavy. Remember that brief window of relative calm after the inauguration in January? It wasn’t going to last and everyone knew that but it was there for a couple weeks and some of us exhaled a bit for the first time in a year or more. There has been forward movement, or at least movement, towards opening everything up. A lot of people have been full vaccinated and I am among them. Businesses are opening and curfews are lifting. There is something missing though. The mood should be lighter. People are talking about progress but few seem to believe the words that are coming out of their mouths.

Let’s take a brief look at the news though. There have been a good number of mass shootings. There have been horrible incidents concerning police and people of color. Anti-Asian hate crimes are on the rise. The hateful rhetoric in the news and online is still flaming hot. There is name-calling and finger-pointing and conspiracy theory and accusations. It’s like the primary concern of the pandemic is fading a bit but everything that was exposed while we were all hiding in our homes is still there and it’s a lot harder to ignore. It’s right there in front of us and it’s not going away. Read in a Dennis Hopper voice: IT’S SOME REALLY BAD SHIT, MAN!

It’s some really bad shit. It’s not new so I’m not saying that this is what this strange, dragging vibe of the week is about, but it sure as hell isn’t helping. This is The Un-United States of Dystopia. Don’t tell me you don’t feel it. And that’s what digs at me in sharp pinches. I hear people talking about hopeful things but they don’t sound like they believe it. It’s like they’re trying really hard to convince themselves that things are okay.

It’s funny. If I don’t feel okay, I say so. The absolute truth of it is that I am okay most of the time, even when I don’t feel okay. My feelings don’t generally warrant conversation or concern, but I say so. Not that anyone wants to hear it, but I’m not going to lie. That’s not my style. It’s probably why I spend so much time alone. If you tell people that you don’t feel okay it reminds them that they don’t truly feel okay so they avoid it. It’s not about pushing away negativity either. It’s about being honest. When there are dark clouds overhead you get a fucking umbrella. When we need umbrellas, I’m going to say so.

Oh, by the way, don’t forget your umbrella today.

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