ESSAY // Moment Manipulation, Musical Alchemy

[originally published in The Work Magazine, Issue IV, July 16, 2011]

Moment Manipulation, Musical Alchemy

Author: Elizabeth Baudouin

This past January, I spent two weeks attempting to pack up my Brooklyn apt, but it didn’t take.  Every time I pulled out a box, I would stare at it for about ten minutes then walk away. Truth be told, this was my seventh apartment in seven years, and I still had a closet full of unpacked boxes left from moving back to New York the winter before. 

I’ve never been good at moving on, but I’ve never been able to stay put either.  Mostly, because I don’t want to stay put long enough to actually deal with the emotions paired with moving on. So when it was time to come back to Los Angeles, I naturally over-scheduled as to avoid sorting through my shit completely. 

But something changed when I heard Marina and the Diamonds “Obsessions (oOoOO Remix).”

Everything stopped. My breath stopped. My heart stopped. I stopped.

Marina’s vocals poured out of the speakers like smoke entering directly into my lungs and I was sedated. Hypnotized, I stared at my computer for thirty minutes, not blinking, song looping, entirely under its spell and completely out of my body.  

The purity of her opening vocal delivered a punch to my stomach. Then the synthesizer came in and shoved a shot of adrenaline directly into my chest. I was either going to collapse or explode. I was so raw and exposed, that about a minute and a half in, all the emotions of every heart break flooded to the surface. All the longing, all the withdrawal, all the anxiety, and definitely the night sweats.

I started bawling around play seven. Intensely bawling, for about four more plays.  And then I stopped. And I packed. For three straight days, I packed with this song on repeat and was able to move on.  

Emotional alchemy.  oOoOO’s remix of Marina and the Diamonds holds up a serious mirror of truth you may or may not be prepared for. It forces the core right out of you.  Something I don’t think Marina could have achieved on her own.

The original version of “Obsessions” perpetuates my spin cycle. When it comes on I just want to buy the world a coke and dance down the aisles of Gelson’s celebrating indifference and high fiving obsessive-compulsive disorder. Does she still love me?  What’s her problem? (What’s my problem?) Who wears that to the grocery store? Tomorrow’s meeting has to be perfect. I have no idea what crackers to buy. The blue box. No wait…red.  No wait…blue. Fuck, I forgot to change the laundry. 

It’s incredibly sprite and bouncy. Kind of like a baton twirling but with more neon, which seems to be the standard Marina and the Diamonds formula for success.  I’ve always appreciated the attempt to release her inner Bjork through music video production, but overall, her music doesn’t really do it for me.

Enter the oOoOO remix of “Obsessions”… now, this is magic.

It’s like Marina went for a walk in the forest with the original version, took a very awesome wrong turn, and ended up outside the witch house doors ready to get spooky.  

I picture the process of this remix like a midnight séance. Where oOoOO tie Marina to a tree and channel all the forest’s spirits to come crawl around her and extract the heart of her musical gift in slow motion. Her voice becomes a wave of echoes that oOoOO seamlessly weave into intricate reverb elixirs to be delicately poured through a vintage synthesizer and melted all down to smoke.

It’s truly mesmerizing.

Some may say this remix is the musical equivalent to the homecoming queen sleeping with the hot Goth girl smoking behind the lockers with safety pins in her ears.

I say it is so much more than that.

Marina and The Diamonds x oOoOO = the potion to protect our peace.

And it’s so easy to lose it. Life is loud. Sometimes we need help.

Which is why we listen to music in the first place. To feel something we don’t know how to feel. To say something we don’t know how to say.  To go back to a place that feels better than this place.  To connect on a level we need a little help connecting to.

 

It’s moment manipulation.

 

Let’s make this moment better. Let’s feel this moment deeper. Let’s forget this moment completely. Let’s remember this moment forever.

Before the noise starts up again.

And that’s all it is. Noise.

Noise to block the truth of what is really going on.  

Noise to create layers of false protection.

Noise to nurture the ego. 

Noise to keep the most beautiful parts of us quiet.

This is what oOoOO so brilliantly understood about Marina and the Diamonds. He strips away all the circus tricks, gets to her essence, and marvelously gives us a four minute and twenty-three second glimpse to what life is all about.

It’s about love.

It’s about space.

It’s about achieving a state of present that seems almost impossible.

 

Sometimes we need a witch doctor to step in and teach us that.  A greater element to manipulate our way being and send us on our path.  If you don’t know what that is yet, I encourage you to just stop…and listen to the magic of Marina and The Pagans.

 

 

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