Monday, September 5, 2016

CONTAGIOUS YAWNS
“Some Places Aren’t Around Here”
(Spring Break Tapes)

Did you know that Contagious Yawns and I are best friends in the whole world? There’s a “full disclosure” I bet you didn’t see coming. Problem is, Contagious Yawns doesn’t know it yet. Maybe that would have become apparent to you the more you read, since I’m only referring to Contagious Yawns as “Contagious Yawns” and not as the artist’s real name, because you know what? I don’t know Contagious Yawns’ real name. I even went to the website, but there’s nothing. I’m sure it’s not a secret, even though everything about the rollout for Some Places Aren’t Around Here was a secret (more on that in a minute). But Contagious Yawns and I are now secret best friends because we’re both wild and crazy about 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I basically only ever refer to Arthur C. Clarke and nobody else in my writing because what’s the point? It’s all right there. No one’s ever provided a better fictionalized account of the evolution of humankind, and it’s fascinating to consider the cycles during which event occurs at some point on the timeline that accelerates the potentialities of existence. And Contagious Yawns has now provided an alternate “soundtrack,” or a reimagining of the mood at least, of Stanley Kubrick’s film. It works so sublimely that it’s impossible not to be reminded of how awed you were by the moments in the film where Dr. Dave Bowman observes the Monolith as a portal or a wormhole to a distant point in spacetime, and enters it. The Contagious Yawns brand of retro synthesizer scoring transports you right there, just like it’s intended to do.

Much of the tape generates the jaw-dropping realization of a lifeform’s place in the universe and how existence within it is based pretty much solely on that lifeform’s ability to adapt to new conditions. Waves of cosmic synthesizer will conjure those feelings in a person, and they’re welcome blasts of star stuff. The idea of technology and its danger (e.g., specifically HAL 9000 here) is also represented, as is the idea that pretty much everything outside the tiny dot of habitable real estate will kill you in an instant the moment you’re exposed to it. “Nature of Force” and “The Holes in My Eyes” have that sense of dread. Space is just crazy, and there’s no way to reference it in your own mind without understanding that you’ll die in it in a heartbeat. But by the time “New Consciousness” arrives to close out the tape, I understood what was going on, and I realized that I was yelling, “Yes! Yes!” at my computer screen because I felt the cosmos around me in ways I’ve never felt it before. The atomic minutiae was perceptible to me. All thanks to Contagious Yawns. So let’s all hang out – I’ll bring my Blu-Ray copy of 2001 and we can hang out and remember how good this film is. We can go over to my buddy CY’s house for the viewing party. (You won’t mind, will you?)

(Oh… the “secret” thing? Yeah, I got carried away by the music here. This was part of a 2-tape “mystery artist” batch at Spring Break Tapes, where you ordered the tapes without knowing what was coming. Whoever made the plunge absolutely got their money’s worth. Do it again, SBT!)




--Ryan Masteller

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