Deakin Sleep Cycle

[Self-Released; 2016]

Styles: psychedelia, healing music
Others: Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Sonic Boom

I‘m not going to write about the music. I’m going to write about mountains.

A few days ago, I climbed a mountain. It wasn’t the tallest mountain, and it wasn’t the toughest climb, but it was difficult and time-consuming and occasionally painful to reach the top and come back down. I did, however, reach it, even after I considered stopping several times due to my asthma, my aching legs, and my general exhaustion. But even when I still had hours left until I would be able to end my walk and bring the experience back home, a powerful will carried me on. When you feel tired/ There’s more left inside. A fellow climber asked me, as I rested on a rock, whether I was going to the top. “I think so,” I said, because I didn’t know how much more I had to go or how much breath I could summon to get there. He eventually turned back when we reached snow. “Next time.” He was so close. You’ve stopped your own climb/ On the verge of every end.

Doubt is most powerful in the midst of the biggest moves, because it is often only fear donning the mask of reason. You always find reasons you’re frightened/ So frightened/ That you won’t go in/ And reason may fight you/ So even then/ Don’t wait. We know what fear makes molehills into, but what about mountains? Doubt makes mountains into walls. It makes walls into prisons, prisons into death, death into everlasting pain. Please stop repeating your terror/ You choose what you see. It magnifies obstacles past their limits, transforming them into impossibilities. Life, if it is anything, is an exploration of possibility, and yet the mind so often finds ways to block us from our own potentiality. I find/ Spent my time fearing age/ And retreating from answers to questions I’d asked/ In each passing stage I poked myself blind. Holding power is work. And though we might hold no illusions that we have power over the mountain, we have power over ourselves to overcome the mountain, temporarily. If we would, we must work. With enough labor, it’s even possible to climb its walls. Simplify, define your goals, and watch them grow.

Creation is a mountain. Some mountains are tougher to scale than others. Sometimes you stop halfway up to bivouac, and sometimes that happens because of some accident or force of nature or impassable rock. Sometimes you trap yourself at a beautiful view, unable to move forward, captivated by a single moment, ‘cause [you] hold on to things that dearly need replacing. Sometimes the summit becomes too overwhelming, and you forget that half of your experience is left to go. Sometimes you get to the bottom and can’t let go of the experience, or your pride about it, and you wander around at the base, delaying your return home. Sometimes we attempt to relive the experience with pictures, pictures that never quite capture the majesty of the achievement as it was happening. Sometimes we forget about all the other mountains.

You keep moving, even as you rest, because rest is either in service to the motion or the experience of climbing. Motion takes time and energy. But both of these things are only breath. We are already in motion. Whether that motion directs us up the mountain or through the valley below, we move. And we control the direction, whether we allow other forces to move us or generate our own impetus. I can’t see I’ve lost my voice I need direction. We get stuck in patterns — the blazed path is easier to follow. But we can reach higher places. And in the exercise of our strength, we become stronger.

This is my last review for Tiny Mix Tapes (for now), and that’s partially because Sleep Cycle has inspired me to move on to the next mountain. Like Sleep Cycle, it’s late; life delayed it, but so did I, because the descent from the mountain is often the hardest part. It’s also surrounded by doubts that will linger like mist, even after I hit the submit button. But they too will dissipate as I move past them. Can’t see past the edge of what’s gone but I’m hoping I’ll try. Sleep Cycle is an album about confronting those doubts, about climbing that mountain without dwelling on earlier difficulties, or timeliness, or imperfections. It’s about realizing what you want. All my life I have traveled in needs/ Now I’ve found what I crave. It’s about breathing so I breathe my way down/ And I breathe my way deeper. Its brevity should be a signal. Decide you’re light, ‘cause brother it’s time. Our time is always running out. That crushing never-ending change is so full of love. That is all we have time to do — to love, beginning with ourselves. See my hands/ They’re stretching much further and stronger/ They’re holding my life to the fire. And so I go to seek it on other holy mountains, having gathered much here and given what I could. I hope it helped.

Links: Deakin

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