Hey everyone! I’m so glad to announce that I am, in fact, going to keep sharing my favorite music with you all throughout the fall and winter. “Sounds of Summer” may be on hiatus, but “Aural Autumn” is here to fill that void. As you might expect, this is a series in which I’ll talk briefly about some of the most moving and inspiring songs that I’ve found while hanging out on YouTube.
Over the past four years, no other band has shaped me as a person quite like Hammock. Through grad school, my father’s death, and the passing of two dear friends, I’ve found my way back to their music time and time again. No band, not even Deftones, has taken root as strongly in my soul and heart. Maybe that’s because this duo seem to have cracked the secret to turning raw emotion into timeless music.
This Tuesday, I discovered a bonus track from their 2010 album, Chasing After Shadows…Living with the Ghosts. “Tunings” swept me up while I was writing, and I haven’t been the same since. This is the most existential bonus I’ve stumbled across in years.
There’s an underlying melancholy that I’ve come to associate with Hammock, ever since I first heard their song “East” about three years ago. While many of Hammock’s songs are ethereal and soar above typical yoga music, there’s always an ache in their melodies, a certain saudade that somehow captures the uncertainty of the future, the heartbreak of the past, and the sacredness of the present, all at once.
In my writing process, I’ve found that coming to terms with both my bereavement and my hope for a better future is a lifelong process. All of my emotions have taken on a profundity that feels as deep as space. Some days I have to take a step back from The Virility Project or Stalder Press to Handstand just to curl up in a ball and cry things out. This song is like a hand-written letter from an old friend, encouraging me to hold tight to my sense of self and not feel guilty for being so unraveled some days. Whenever the reverb of the guitar chords first fades in, I find myself falling fast but softly into a well of memories, many of which are painful but also alive with love and honor for those who can’t be here with me today.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank Hammock for bringing songs like “Tunings” to life. This is an elegy to all the tragic times that I’ve endured, as well as a testament to the persistence of my creativity and resiliency in the face of my own doubts and shortcomings. There’s a peace that just can’t be put into words here, but I’m okay with not trying to hold on so tightly to it. I can tell that said peace is here to stay for at least a little while.
I’m a writer. I love what I do, and I know that this will always be my passion, just like making music is Marc Byrd’s and Andrew Thompson’s passion.