Shipping News - Actual Blood.
Down a wormhole, I ended up hearing this song tonight for the first time in what has to have been a decade. Maybe more. The hair on my arms stood on end; it’s as starkly chilling, shatteringly evocative as it was then.
I’ll tell you a little about this song. I ended up hearing this absolutely heartbreaking song for the first time in 2002 on a mixtape given to me by a friend whose heart I ended up breaking. A kid I knew but had grown away from had recently died very suddenly and tragically, and these five minutes kind of crystallized some of the emotions I was feeling: the misplaced regret and powerlessness that comes from not being able to help, to save him. The elegiac sorrow of a tragedy maybe two steps removed from directly being a part of my life. That distance. That shattered feeling of being drawn back to the town I grew up in.
I didn’t go to the funeral.
You know, I didn’t actually see the wreckage of the accident, but I see it very plainly when I hear this song. I know what it would’ve looked like. It haunted me for a long time, and I suppose to some degree, it still does. I borrowed the last bit of lyrics, the “open your eyes, come back to life” part, for an Ampere song that I wrote as a 20-year-old awkwardly responding to those very complicated feelings of guilt and regret and helplessness that came along with that moment of loss. It was a hard song to play, at first. I guess its importance and urgency sort of waned for me after the repetition of playing the song just about every night on just about every tour, which - when I thought about it - was also difficult to sit with.
Anyway, Jason Noble died in 2012. I think I remember maybe hearing that. 2012 was a weird year (they’re all weird years) and I didn’t really pay too much attention to news or music or any form of entertainment. Anyway, this is really the first reflection I’ve given that fact, and it’s way overdue. His music, from Shipping News to Rodan to Rachel’s and beyond, has been with me for a long time, most heavily concentrated in the years 2001-2003, which were huge years. Formative, even. I guess I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I heard this song tonight, and it set me to thinking about a lot of things.
About death and mortality.
About my friend who died and how long ago that was.
About how important those years of 2001-2003 were for me.
About how important a mixtape can be.
About Jason Noble and how, though he is gone, there will always be this song. And “Quiet Victories”. And there will always be “The Everyday World of Bodies” by Rodan.
But mostly about how it’s possible to never really die.