Octet – Deerhunter – 2007

Octet MP3

Sometimes I get kind of panicked about how little of what I have wanted to do with my life I have actually done.  In that state, I can hardly take any action that gets me closer to doing the things that I want to do.  It’s sort of self perpetuating at that point, because then I get even more panicked that I haven’t done anything with my life and now I definitely can’t.  It’s sort of easy to sit at that point and wonder how the hell I am supposed to move forward.  I would guess that the most dismal failures of my life have been me sitting around wondering how to get out of this state of mind.  I have pissed away a lot of opportunities this way.

It’s kind of like Hamlet in a way.  I hate Hamlet.  Everyone knows what Hamlet should be doing next.  He is the only one suffering the indecision.  Everyone in the audience knows what he should be doing next.  But for whatever reason he is incapable of taking action.  Even if death is his fate, at least he would die having taken action.  But he just lets everything build until the whole thing just explodes on him.  I hate Hamlet because I have spent so much of my life being like him.

But this song isn’t about a character flaw or blown opportunities.  It’s about the actual panic.  The actual feeling that causes the inaction.  There I am sitting in some indescribable nothingness unable to hear my own thoughts.  If I could hear myself think, maybe I would actually get up and do something.

Ghosts sort of drift in and out of the room, each with their own motif.  They all have something interesting to say, and I am listening.  They speak in metaphors and puzzles and I am sure that I manufactured their thoughts in my own head.  But none of it sounds familiar.  I want to follow one and see where it goes but I am too afraid.  Their exits seems to suggest a very large population of their kind.  That’s too many metaphors and too many puzzles.

But still, I am fascinated by the idea of writing something that truly captures this state of being.  I could sit and contemplate it all day.  I thought I was always trying to escape the anxiety of my end, but it occurs to me that I am comforted by the presence of my own death imagined in thousands of original sequences. I want to fully contemplate each of them.  I want to savor every ounce of that panic.  I identify myself by this anxiety.  I count my heart beats and breath deeper.  Sounds more like satisfaction than desperation to me.  Most of what I know about myself has been discovered in my fear of death.

But ultimately, I am those ghosts.  “I was the corpse that spiraled out…  Into phantom hallways…”  The vocal is sort of woven into this tapestry of sound and it waves in the wind like a flag.  That voice never escapes itself.  It never knows that it is itself it is trying to escape.  The voice cries out of the smoky ripples on the surface of the seer’s cauldron.  It is paralyzing and fulfilling.  So powerless and ethereal and self-determining all at once.  There will be no disappointment here.  I will get exactly what I expect.

I find this feeling nearly impossible to write about, and I suppose that’s why it’s being said with music with hardly any lyrics.  Hell, I really don’t know that this is what the song is trying to express, but this is what it makes me think about.  Truly, Octet shouldn’t be removed from the concept album, Cryptograms, that it was created for.  Cryptograms is brilliant overall and maybe I should write a book about what Cryptograms means to me, but the song Octet makes me get up in the middle of the night and check all the doors and windows.

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