[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com

Artist: Venus Hum
Album: S/T
Year: 2001
: illumine [ɪˈlu:mɪn] (tr.v): to give light to.

Of course, then we have to define "light" itself.

Light is necessarily multiplicitous. It is both wave and particle: no definitive answer, ultimately, you choose its interpretation. I listened to this song CAREFULLY for the first time, and the quiet ambulance siren at the beginning that I only hear with the headphones -- it sets the tone, so completely. Transitions and movement and maybe a beginning maybe an end, who really knows: you choose. You decide where to go with this song (with everything). Light, in all its indecipherable ambiguity, means that the power to decide is personal.

I'm serious when I say that one day we should revisit this theme, to see how perceptions have changed, how we'll reinterpret. This time around: I initially had quite a few thoughts, including a few songs I may post later. I looked at bubbly instrumentals; I searched "light" and "sun" and "bulb" in iTunes; I rejected a few on the basis of lyrics and music not quite matching, and I was on the bus and skimming "Artists" while listening to shuffle and then -------
The opening pulses of the beautiful Illumine, the birdsong-like sounds during the chorus, and that was that -- it was decided for me.

I can't remember if you know Venus Hum, but oh my god how much do I love them. Their particular brand of electropop and powerful female vocals is something I've never encountered quite the same way (and I listen to a LOT of female-fronted electropop). It feels more honest, in a lot of ways -- more human, like the robots and synths they're using to make the music are their friends. Okay that sounds crazy, but it's in her voice: it feels REAL.

And, god, Illumine -----------
I was introduced to the verb via the song and it quickly found its way into my personal vocabulary. To give light to. To be active in the process of lighting up a room, a text, a heart. When I used to write, a lot, this was one of my writing songs. Not because it's background music, as many good writing songs end up, but because there is a creative impetus hidden somewhere in the makeup, in the bars and rests and time signature. It is pressing.

This song is pure spring, but not the budding sunlight people usually associate with the season. Illumine, perhaps ironically, musically feels like a song about the middle of a spring NIGHT. There's a certain coldness to it, despite the honesty, despite the rawness -- the synth-beats make me think of refracted crystals: clear, but going in a million directions. (Also, re: clarity: "I can see now with clear eyes." Every time I hear that line I look up from whatever I happen to be doing, almost instinctively, and take in whatever happens to be around me. It feels definitive.) When I hear this song, I feel like I am looking up at a sky full of stars -- or maybe the stars are completely absent, because ----

I think the point of the song, if you want to go all form = content with it, is that you have to create your own light.

Shake out the nighttime,
shake off the uninspired mothballs,
feel that explosive clarity,
light goes in a million directions and you can't really intentionally channel it, just like you can't channel the concept itself, or music, or writing; it will take you somewhere different every time.

So it's the middle of the night.
You're in the dark, this song comes on, in all its contrasting crisp emotion.
You can't channel the light because it doesn't exist,
so you make it for yourself.
You write, or you dance, or you shift just a little in a direction you've never been before, and ---
you give light, to something.


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March 2014

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