An awful night of strep throat induced fever dreams are probably not necessary in order to appreciate Ewigkeit’s new record “Back To Beyond”, but it certainly made my experience unique. I’ve been living inside of this album for a good few weeks and thought I understood it, but a head full of prednisone, amoxicillin and raging germs can make you experience something totally differently. I fell asleep with the album on repeat on Friday night and lay there for 15 hours hovering between this world and another, far more terrible place.
Salvador Dali once said, “Give me a rag covered in paint thinner and I’ll draw you the real world.” I’m not sure what he meant, or even if he even said that, but I can relate. I have traveled beyond the stars for a few hideous hours, buoyed on waves of cascading keyboards and tragic light. The reality of space is more ghastly then you can possibly imagine.
Poets often comment on the night sky and all of its beauty. This is because they are delusional. Outer space offers nothing more than horrible disfigurement and immediate death. A short stint in the vacuum of space unprotected by hundreds of pounds of survival gear would turn your lungs into piñatas. If your body were sucked into a black hole, you would be turned into something vaguely resembling angel hair pasta. If you came within 20 football fields of a star, every part of your body would be incinerated in blast of heat and agony. Where is the beauty in any of this?
Sure, space is silent and peaceful. So is a coffin. When I think of the tranquility of outer space, I am often reminded of that horrifying scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where astronaut Frank Poole is released into the nether reaches of nothingness. He spins and spins and spins. Forever. No hope of rescue. An eternal death spiral.
People often make the unfortunate mistake of confusing calm with peace. A bear can be calm, but it sure as hell isn’t peaceful. The ocean seems so relaxed and unburdened when looking at it from the shore, but if you spend a minute below its veneer of peace without the proper equipment, you will spasmodically thrash your way to waterlogged annihilation. Death waits for us everywhere, even on greeting cards.
As we stare into the seemingly idyllic vastness of space, it is best to remember that the universe is nothing more than a giant death-making machine for those of us who are tethered to the very specific circumstances that permit life. The universe only tolerates our species, regularly reminding us of its profound disinterest in our well-being.
“Back To Beyond” is a good way to come to terms with the reality of space. Its soft layer of elegance hides a core of shrill, furious brutality. The illusion of breathtaking serenity is perfectly juxtaposed with the cruelty and violence of the night sky . It is a stunningly gorgeous vision of despair in perpetuity.