On the way to work this morning, for no reason whatsoever, I had a Primordial song stuck in my head. Well, maybe it was because I saw the Irish post-black metallers a couple weeks back and their stuff at its best is just catchy enough to resonate that long after they’ve got off stage, but still, there was no real impetus for it other than that. Just a song that came up on the mental jukebox’s continuous stream. And there it was.

When I got to the office, did I lament the fact that I had this Primordial song—it was “Empire Falls,” from their 2007 album, To The Nameless Dead—superglued to the inside of my skull and spend the rest of the day with its chorus running on endless repeat in my head like some demon unexorcised? Hell no. I fired up YouTube, streamed the whole album in HD and moved on with my morning. An hour later, when it was Devin Townsend’s “Pixillate,” released the year before on the Synchestra album. Once more, I typed in the words—I didn’t even have to spell the title the whole way out—and there it was, the vocal layering of its apex as glorious as I remembered from the last time I actually heard it, probably a few years ago at this point.

I bitch a lot about the future we live in, about how the only innovations of the last 20 years have either been needless crap—your iPhone—or new ways to buy said needless crap—the Facebook ads telling you there’s a new iPhone. No cure for cancer, no cure for AIDS, no astronauts on Mars, but go ahead and Google anything and there’s an Amazon banner showing up on every website you see from then on with that thing in it, even after you’ve already bought it. No hoverboards, consumer rights, civil liberties in the toilet, people killing people with robots—even taking into account the leaps and strides of the gay rights movement—unquestionably the greatest American social advancement of the last two decades in this country—the whole thing is a surreal 4G horror show.

But man, it is really, really satisfying to be able to think of nearly any song that might come to my brain, be able to type half the word and have it right there, no hassle, no questions asked. I’d trade it in a second for a stem cell Alzheimer’s cure, or for a finished map of the human brain, or for an affordable car that didn’t spew poison into the air, or hell, for reasonably functional transcription software, but if it’s going to be a case of making the most out of what we’ve got—the ol’ lemons into lemonade bit—we could do a hell of a lot worse.

It’s not changing the world, and it’s not by any means colonizing Mars, but it’s making the morning a little easier to get through, and that’s not to be overlooked when it comes to overall quality of life. Sometimes the best parts of existence seem to come from happy accidents, and since that seems to be the entire mechanic by which evolution works, it’s fitting somehow that this benefit of the age of “instant gratification” should pop up more or less as a byproduct of the much larger, much lamer idea of streaming videos of cats and people jumping off things they shouldn’t be jumping off, etc.

However you choose to do so, I hope you find something to dig on in this week’s issue, and I hope that once you make use of the ease of exploration this day and age has provided, the impression lasts longer than the journey itself. All the best.

JJ Koczan

jj@theaquarian.com

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