Life is made of small moments like these
(Above & Beyond)
“Whenever we hear, sounds, we are changed, we are no longer the same, after having heard certain sounds, and this is more the case when we hear organised sounds, organised by another human being; music.” – Stockhausen, Karlheinz
William: Jamie XX (Loud Places – ft. Romy), Eastern Electric Tent, 22.17 Sunday
Underground lines run tracks from the auditory to the anterior insular to the pre-frontal cortex. Shuttling between hearing, feeling, emotion and hearing, feeling, emotion, it tickles you until you are exhausted. Thousands of nerve endings like open wires. Your mother always said you were “a hyper sensitive”. It prickles and plays with your memory, it manipulates you like an insecure pretty-boy, such a high value assigned to a simplistic set of notes, unlikely promises and unrealistic dreaming. You can’t turn around, even though you want to, urgently, can’t bear to see her register it, not register it, her. The vocal bites meaty chunks from your guts, from your soul, and you wish you hadn’t come, that you had never known her, that you had never passed comment on her knee-high socks, that you had never broken up, that you had never. The melody is plotted for you, within its lines, the structure weaved across and she always said you were too analytical, too literal, but she didn’t know what you were feeling. Right now it is that ability to disconnect you crave, to sever these ties, to save yourself.
K: Above & Beyond (Small Moments), Eden-West Stage, 00:23 Friday
Black, white, white, black, the keys, those ivories but probably plastic, humble and clean. You quake in it. Skittles ricochet in the basket of your rib cage. You feel like you could shit yourself. Thousands of tiny white tears fall, tracing paper fluttering in the air like helicopter seeds, layers, coatings, fractals of light and atoms of dust that catch and flicker and fade. You twist your wrists amongst them and they stroke your arm hairs on their way through, regroup inside the vast and sticky nest on your head. You’ve never seen anything like it. You forget about everything, as if your mind’s been wiped, all those nibblers that like to chew, those dark patches across your heart are gone. There’s nothing but the warm and comforting light, the whiteness, a brightness that leaves no room for anything else. They blow against your thighs and kiss your knees, mix with powder and settle across the floor. You want to seal this tight in a bottle, harvest some of the jigging and swing-dancing energy erupting inside your womb, hold on and keep it forever. You pick a little rectangle scrap out from your hair and press it hard against your lips.
Claire: Red Hot Chilli Peppers (By The Way), Main Stage, 22:52 Friday
The strumming starts, a blue light surges with the sound, turns blocked bright against the roar of twenty thousand mouths and back against its maker, casting long shadows of kings in stilettoes, four pillars, four gods. They were the first band you ever really liked, the first band you ever saw live, Hyde Park baby back in 2004, you were just a whippet, pre growth-spurt and tits. The lyric hits and kicks you in the stomach, disrupts the acid. You ran “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” into that vomit coloured carpet and those four high walls, somewhere to bury that pre-adolescent angst, your teenage bedroom and your entire world. Ripped wide denim by the thorns from their tongues, you were fierce and scared, the raw and vulnerable rose. It was your everything. You turned it up to drown them out. At thirty seconds the stereo blaster with the Tipp-Exed tape deck buckled and shook the peeling posters, the pin badges in their freshly sterilised home-piercings, fire in your throat and a wetness behind your eyes. Twenty thousand walls decomposing into piles of rubbish at a strum, a kick, a bellow. You stand outside your pile of rubble; naked and listening.
Ben: Goldie – Metalheadz (Kemistry), Hell’s Hospitality Arena, 03:33 Saturday
Sore shafts of stinking light pool and flood the vampire pit, a bloodbath rising and you move within it, kicking salted earth in loops about the top of your dust-ridden socks, heart skipping its own Amen Break. There’s something pure in the vocal that shoots through your being and lifts you up higher, moving your head to look and see that every single fucking star is burning a hole in the blanket of your existence. It’s vast and very close. That noise is flying, touching every branch, raver and festival fox, into your outstretched fingers and through to the very core of you. The elements of sky and earth transfuse, taste fresh and smell like morning dew. The light is lit for basking lizards. You move as if you could move like this forever, carried by some celestial being who twists your arms with complete fluidity, pumps air into your legs and keeps you floating. A spirit of Hell. Your place is here. It is infinity, in the constant sea of calm and unchanging recurrence, a flow has formed and you are playing your piece. Engulfed within the red, in this seemingly random and erratic skank, there is meaning and precision. It connects all things.
Natalie: Jamie XX (Loud Places – ft. Romy), Eastern Electric Tent, 22.16 Sunday
He played the album in the car, in the bedroom below the blankets, through the mini rig outside that time the lake was frozen, in the bathroom through the steamy glass in the shower. All winter he played it. Until it became entrenched, until it became the soundtrack and you hardly heard the words. Then nothing. Now it’s summer, standing right outside its context, and everything is different. New syllables and inflections you never heard before build alternate meaning, the question an angst-ridden challenge. You tried to shut it out, padlock the door with a heavy-duty bolt, banish and exorcise but how can it hold? Why are you here? Your legs are weak and malleable like Play Doh, your breath is short and thin. Why is breathing so easy and then so hard? The matted fronts of people’s hair stick in your eyes. There’s not enough air for us all, it’s stale, regurgitated from other people’s lungs, you start to panic. You look around for something solid, something to hold on to. You hear the tuneless voices, the sound of shuffling, the rain on the fabric wall and it reminds you that other things exist. This isn’t all there is and that helps you breathe.
Rosa: Run the Jewels (Run the Jewels), Other Stage, 19:45 Friday
Heat gets all up in your grill, temperature rising as you bust a gut, make shapes in that field that no one’s ever seen (or fathomed) before, more sides than a fucking rhombicosidodecahedron. You lick and sniff the perspiration, BO secreted and dripping like tears off your eyelashes. This is better than you ever imagined it could be. You throw your arms out to the sides and let some other hard-as-fuck phantom take you over, two gun-fingers to the sky, ripping holes in the cloud cover. You are straight outta somewhere and hella ready. Your limbs are wild things, your voice is extra killer and, because nothing is ever like this at home, you kick the world in its face. You can hardly see them, dots even on the screen, could be anyone, but you can feel them. You’ve listened to them before but it never felt like this, jarring and bouncing inside your hometown walls. Now you’re sparring. There’s no grace needed because no one gives a single fuck, just explosive words with fiery grunts and blistering gestures. You don’t even know what you are saying, but you are saying something. You’ve shifted. You are changed. You are empowered. You will remember this moment forever.