I wanted this day to have Memories as a track. But, ironically enough, I have more memories with Ritual Noise than with Memories. So Memories will have to wait. And probably get an utterly unrelated story and picture to go with it. Such is life.
Anyway. Yeah. Memories.
Those flickery bastards tend to haunt me right now. I hope it’s not my very own midlife crisis.
Although, to be fair, I tend to use them more to learn from past mistakes and progress forward in a more positive fashion than the few years before this one. So, I think, it’s just my mind using past experiences to teach me lessons I should have internalized years ago, but couldn’t for mental health reasons.
That’s how long ago this song came out.
And I still remember listening to it while driving a car, a sleepy friend on the passenger seat, oscillating between dozing off and nodding along to the beat while watching the other cars streak by on the A43, heading from a late night party at our university back to her place.
When I noticed that, I rejoiced. I hadn’t thought that she’d be into Covenant. … It didn’t take long for me to find out that she was into quite a few things I wouldn’t have thought, because I let stupid first impressions and assumptions make me think less of her than she deserved.
But this changed. Quickly. Impulsively. Amazingly.
That’s not the point of the story, though.
The point is that one night. Listening to the whole of Skyshaper, with her in my car, driving from Bochum to Unna, taking a slightly longer route to get more out of the music. To get more talking in. Because after Ritual Noise finished, Pulse started playing, and that finally woke her up completely. And she started chatting with me.
About music. About hobbies. About life, dreams, fears, the future and the present.
Cars kept streaking by, cities went by, roads were changed, the engine remained a steady rumble under Covenant’s steady beats.
And above it all, was the conversation. It took turns into less and more intimate subjects. It made us both smile, laugh and grin. It made us both fall silent and think for heartbeats. And it was wonderfully platonic. With an undertone of flirting, but still platonic at the time.
Just like a first kiss between lovers is often a fiery, electrifying event, there’s something equivalent between two people becoming friends:
That first good, unfettered, topic-jumping talk.
The one where you finally feel confident and trusting enough to just lower your shields, go to Condition Green, tell your Head of Security to take five and start /talking/. Not smalltalk. Not idle chatter. Not meaningless pleasantries.
The real deal.
Telling stories of your past. Giving the other person glimpses and looks of your true, inner self. Daring to touch upon topics that might get awkward. Asking and answering questions about sensitive topics.
And totally, utterly forgetting about the flow of time.
Skyshaper is about an hour long.
That drive managed to loop it 1.5 times. 90 minutes.
90 minutes which felt like 9 to us both.
So I arrived at her place, she invited me up, we put on some of her favourite tracks, huddled under a blanket and continued to talk.
When the sun rose, I remembered that I actually had to be somewhere that damn day, so she laughed and grinned at my absent-mindedness. We hugged and I got into my car and drove home.
Listening to Skyshaper again. Smiling/grinning like an idiot.
And a wonderful friendship was born.
This is why I’ll always have a stupidly high opinion of Skyshaper.
That one post about “intense experiences make you bond with music” rings true again: I had an /amazing/, intense experience to the whole damn album. So every time I listen to it, I remember that night. And I smile. And things seem a little bit brighter.
I feel like I need to make a, probably obvious, point here: Talk. Talk to your friends. Talk to people you like and think might become friends. Risk a drowsy morning if you get the chance to just talk long into the night, no matter how old you are. Making a new good, true, close friend is worth more than having a perfect day at work. Those blend into the daily grind soon enough. A close friend is bound to stay with you for a damn long time.
Also, and I can’t stress this enough, listen to fucking Skyshaper.
Preferably when you’re driving. Be it alone or with a friend or even partner.
10 tracks. All of them fucking /winners/.
Ritual Noise. Pulse. Brave New World. Sweet & Salty. Greather Than The Sun. 20hZ. Spindrift. Those 8 are my favourites.
And even The Men and The World is Growing Loud are excellent, even thought they hit a slightly different, more chill, spot.
So, the next time you get to drive a car while it’s dark (and raining, if you want the /perfect/ experience!), put on Skyshaper.
I promise you: You will /not/ regret it.
It really is that damn good. And it aged beautifully. (That is to say: They could release it tomorrow and it would sound fresh and feel new.)