Post by Misha
When I first heard Loz KeyStone’s early singles for this album, I kept thinking about how it’s rare for music to sounds quite so much like the thing it’s about. Written during his father’s battle with lung cancer, To Feel Love is a shimmering, jagged document of grief and forgetting.
It is all the excruciating stillness of what might euphemistically be called ‘coping’ – falling asleep drunk on the bathroom floor, wandering through whole days without having a single real feeling, an endless search for the kind of numbness that doesn’t hurt. Long periods of smothering darkness punctured at random by blinding, atonal panic. The kind of fear that invades every cell; whatever nourishment it doesn’t expel the cocaine certainly will. The wishing that if maybe you concentrate hard enough all the atoms in your body might get their collective shit together for just like one second and all go in the same direction at once, go into the air or the water or somewhere peaceful, and never come back.
It is, KeyStone writes, “an album about sex and death.”
On the spectrum of records about death, it leans much further into the darkness of The Antlers’ Hospice than towards, say, Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie and Lowell. Which is to say, there’s no looking back and finding peace here. To Feel Love takes place underwater, in the whirling now, and it’s quite unrelenting in its airlessness. With nowhere to find a breath, there’s no choice but to use any remaining oxygen to search the darkness in every direction for clues to survival.
And every so often, you’ll find one. KeyStone says, “when I’m making music, I picture what I want the music to look like and, for me, this album was great swathes of deep purples and blues punctuated by occasional glittering silvers and white. Like a great mass of dark, barren land under a starry sky.”
If you look closely, you’ll find tiny gems of solace in the music, hardly ever larger than a pinprick in the sky. The softness of the drum machines in Sirens, beating as sweetly as a heartbeat in love. How in another universe, How Is It is a dance song. Crickets chirping. The tenderness in the last verse of Speaking In Sentences:
I want to be kind
I want to be with you when you die
So we can mean this goodbye
And I will answer every phone call
Where you’re not speaking in sentences
And you don’t know me at all
Much like loss itself, the quivering synths, rolling bass, and a cacophony of samples and effects are powerful, disorienting, and completely immersive. And this makes the smallnesses, the sparkles of connection, the resolutions into a hopeful and sweet melody, all the more profound, if at the same time all the more heartbreaking.
To Feel Love is out now. You can buy it on Loz Keystone’s Bandcamp, here.