Junto Project 0322: The Wanderer

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

The theme of wandering is a common one in pop songcraft, exploring a range of sensibilities that don’t always evoke listless melancholy.

“Every night I wander all by myself,” admitted blues great John Lee Hooker in 1951, “thinkin’ about the woman I love.” Contrast that with Dion ten years later, who sounded downright cheerful while boasting “I’m the type of guy who likes to roam around … cause I’m a wanderer [who] roams from town to town.” The Beatles celebrated the benefits of manual labor to achieve mental stability: “I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in / To stop my mind from wandering where it will go.”

Suss Müsik would argue that these songs are less about wandering and more to do with purposeful distraction. A true wanderer travels seemingly without intention, drawn by cognitive impulses that cannot be explained. “Even I never know where I go when my eyes are closed,” sang XTC in 1989, quite possibly the most resonant lyric on daydreaming ever written.

For this intentionally unstructured piece, Suss Müsik played a series of random, minor-key chords on the piano. Quick blasts of clarinet, violin and fake strings were added and mixed to create a sort of phasing effect. Things go nowhere for a while, like a typical daydream, only to end in an unresolved state. You’ll likely forget you ever heard it.

The piece is titled Raichle after the neuroscientist Marcus Raichle. Dr. Raichle’s work uncovers what he calls the “dark energy” of the brain: electrical patterns emitted during periods of sleep, daydreaming or surgical anesthesia. The image is a magnification of kava tea.

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