“YES, you ARE a fucking idiot… but that’s OK, you’re human, and that’s where the beuaty of humans lies, in their duality. Know that you are fallible,and continue with that knowledge and make it work…”
Synchestra is released officially today. I’ve had it for a few weeks now, thanks to the joys of review copies and press credentials. As much as it’s not music for everyone — Devin’s music, across the board, is very much a unique experience, not narrowly confined within genre boundaries, and often requires a lot of chewing before swallowing is safe — I cannot recommend this disc highly enough to the general public. Of all of his albums to date (including his “alter ego” Strapping Young Lad and the sidework he’s done with Steve Vai, James Murphy, and so many others), this one falls second only to Terria, which I’m not certain can be topped.
Of course, one of the reasons that I’ve always been enamored of Devin’s work is the lyrical content. The music is brilliant; I think Devin and I both pull from many of the same inspirational wells in that sense, although Devin is far more willing to experiment and wander than I’ve been when writing and recording (to good effect, I should add). And though the music keeps me coming back, year after year after year (was it really nine years ago that I got Ocean Machine?), it’s the lyrics that provide so many anchors initially.
Devin has struggled with bipolar disorder over the years, and his lyrics really reflect the progress of his journey. And while it’s not surprising to me that I can find common ground with him in his lyrics, bearing that bipolar joy as I do, it does surprise me to see, time after time, a roughly parallel track in our outlook (at least, my outlook and his lyrical presentation).
The most striking track on the new disc is Triumph — musically and lyrically. Pixellate is a close second, though the lyrics (on which Devin is commenting, above) don’t jump out at me as clearly. But Triumph feels to me like the culmination of the first three tracks, about which Devin says
“The story is about finding certain answers to life questions as a result of going too far – ‘be careful what you wish for’ and the way that reacts with a sensitive mind. Humility… ‘I blew it… but there’s nothing I can do about it now, so let it roll.'”
And just as I’ve been finding a better peace with life, moving forward, I put the disc in my new car and hear the lyrics to the song, against a grinding palm-muted guitar that explodes into rhythm and cinema, “Knowing I’ve known more than half my share…” There’s still bits and pieces of lyric that I can’t quite make out, but even so, I feel a connection to the song, a safe haven in the meaning and the feeling.
“A subtle realization. ‘One word – collective.’ There is a sense of relief in letting it roll, an apprehensive joy, things from the past culminating in a genuine present… peace is made with the past. Brave enough to make a step.”
Not since Daniel and I stopped talking have I always felt like people understood what was inside my head (which probably has a lot to do with the fact that, outside of Daniel, I’ve never communicated a lot of it very effectively; in all honesty, I’ve probably not given nearly enough credit to a lot of people in my life who deserve more on this topic). Not that Daniel necessarily did, either; in fact, I think a lot of the time, when it didn’t jibe with what he believed or expected, what was in my head was summarily dismissed.
I’ve realized for a while that I have a tendency to only really want out of life the things that I feel like I can’t have. I think that Melissa was, at least to some extent, a product (victim) of that subconscious trait; I’m 95% convinced that Neely is as well. Any bets on Jessica? That’s a sucker bet, by the way.
But it was only recently that I started to understand that maybe that’s true of other aspects of my life: career, hobbies, friends, family. The things in life that I’ve beaten, or won, or proven (at least, to myself), I can leave behind. No more challenge there. It will be much easier to never make another film after Muckfuppet, because it’s turning out to be everything I expected it to be. If the Exhibit(s) ever split up, I may never play again, because this is what I wanted from music. I’ll probably always be a writer, since my expectations and hopes from my writing will probably never be met. I’ll probably always have a soft spot for Neely, since that’s never going to happen.
And maybe that explains why I put Daniel — or more specifically, the relationship and connection between me and Daniel — on a pedestal. Because it wasn’t really there, nearly as much as I wanted it to be.
And I owe apologies ot many people, after all this time. Wade and Richard and Andrew and Kevin, for not (rightly or wrongly) giving them enough credit; for Melissa, and Maria, and far too many others, who were prizes to be put on a shelf of memory and forgotten in the light of the next challenge. And to Daniel, even; the connection had to be severed, for my sake, for me to grow and accept myself (and, if pushed, I can even say in hopes that you would learn and grow yourself), but perhaps not in the way it was. I wouldn’t change any of it; I think everything that went down needed to (and I certainly won’t deny that there was a lot of it that I really enjoyed). But I do regret it, in some fashion.
Maybe there was a point at which Daniel did get what I was going through. And maybe Devin and I are leading parallel lives in a lot of ways. More likely, I’m finding anchor points, creating connections, in order to feel connected — just like I did for fifteen years. And that’s okay, either way — the important part is where I am, where I’m going, and how I take all that has come before and apply it to all that comes ahead.
This is me, letting it roll. Brave enough to make a step into a genuine future.