felicita hej!

[PC Music; 2018]

Styles: impressionism, minimaliminalism, bubblegum bass
Others: the ambient tracks on Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, Hounds of Love Side B, felicita’s

Lonelily the child drifts into sleep. Lonelily the mother cradles her.

Let us not dare to peek past the curtain of the child’s sleep; let us leave the dark allure of its mystery as solemn and as secret as the pact of our prehistory that in order to breathe in the day we resigned all memories of the night to the tide and rush, the silent stirring of our blood. Let us not dare to disturb the mother’s silent soliloquy in which she rehearses all the world’s violence that the union with her child should provoke; let us leave the spirits prowling in the shadows of her vigilance for her alone to confront, as she keeps at bay the resounding emptiness of insomnia from encroaching upon the space that she clears for her child to return to from unknown, noctilucent depths.

Alone the child drifts from the rocking of her mother’s arms into the rocking, rocking swell and surge of sleep’s dark, somber waves. Alone, alone the mother cradles her child, keeping vigil over sleep’s soundlessness — and this lullaby that she whispers, to whom is it addressed? And who can hear it?

The lullaby the mother shares with her child — but an irreducible chasm severs their isolation — they each hear differently the sound that touches them differently. The closest they come together in the night’s embrace is also the concert of their separation — the lonesome mother offering up the child alone to night’s terrors. To follow this lullaby as it entwines itself with the child’s sleep is also to reenact the mother’s fear of its loss. Where their separations meet is the cathartic break with which the mother assuages her fear of loss while also accomplishing this very loss by sending the child alone into sleep’s dark, rocking waves —

— or the moment in the traditional Polish lullaby “Byl sobie król” that felicita refashions into “marzipan,” where, in this story of a loving family that is ravaged, eaten, and sacrificed, the curtain falls; no blood was spilled, because they were made of sugar all along. Yet what of the child who still in the telling is lost? And what of the mother who, telling it, is absent from the tale?

What reshapes bodies to abet their loss is at the very limit of touch — and what else is a limit but the very space of touch, where bodies, even in their separation, can be touched as bodies without consuming their otherness? This touch is tenderness, but is it real? Or, rather, might there also be space for tenderness in the virtual? For touch perhaps — what is tender is tender to the touch, after all — for touching and, moreover, for being touched? Or, rather, might there be space in the virtual through which touch can emerge as the horizon of a whole new world, and from the ever-fluctuating, irregular dance of interpretation new bodies arise and touch upon new worlds?

At this limit, hej! opens up to the disappearance of its own sound. Like a lullaby that seeps into the night, losing itself in the unknown dreams it stirs with its sadness, hej! unravels the loss of personal histories at the limit where they can be touched (as they that made you) and, touching (you whom they gave to you), they can be lost. The chasm of separation that is at the limit of touch is touch itself — a ballet on the beach, bass lines mingling with the sleep’s soft waves, a scream from afar, this shimmering impressionism — which is blindingly sparse as it slips past its margins, shedding its excesses.

However, palpable in the sound of hej! is the plastic production that in most PC Music releases obscures what severs real from virtual, superficial from sincere, instead exposing that the uncanny excess of the latter grounds the former’s dominion in our minds. Never has this excess been so touching, so tender, never has it been as truly touched upon.

Wavering voices blur with tintinnabulant strings, as “marzipan” blurs what of the lullaby has been lost in the night with what it now loses in it. Or, in “soft power I” and “II,” delicate piano melodies that wouldn’t be out of place with what I might hum after dreaming confused suites of Debussy’s Children’s Corners waft above sparkling percussion, wash among erratic, thudding bass. Or the submergent luster between the note that opens “hej!” and the distant scream that follows. While the one reaches out to the lost identity of a child, the other gathers the loss of a tradition and folk cultures that shape children in lullabies as in sleep into the opening of a limit, a virtual rupture in the real, where ghosts touch and, touching, are touched too.

Lullabies are sung lonelily and we hear them each perhaps alone, but neither they nor we are lost in the world that can open in the utterance of hej!) (hey… !

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