Organ Tapes Into One Name

[Genome 6.66 Mbp; 2017]

Styles: eulogy
Others: Mount Eerie, Bladee, Elysia Crampton, Uli K

Death is real: my friend Thomas died last August. What’s weird is that we’d already rehearsed his death around five years ago when he was diagnosed with leukemia. I walked with my mom from my house to the hospital in my brand new Asics to get acquainted with death. A proximal glance, a glimpse — or perhaps more a whiff than anything. Thomas’s room smelled like fucking ass, formaldehyde (or whatever body bleach they use) and catheter suffocating the otherwise sterile space. He had been a chubby dude, a brat, with that Justin Bieber bowl cut all the popular-adjacent kids (kids who had kissed someone, or at least tried) sported. But, in the hospital, he was greenish and as thin as me. His hair was gone. We talked about Flight of the Concords until he had to vomit.

Thomas survived cancer. I saw him not long after the hospital visit, his cheeks a little fuller and his Etnies back on. We reminisced and he showed me “Tourette’s Guy” videos, those videos of a guy in a neck brace verbally abusing his wife and throwing chairs at his children that I will not hyperlink here. I giggled with apprehension until Thomas looked at me and said to chill, that it was okay to laugh: he had Tourette’s, so it was cool. Remember the Justin Bieber hair flip I used to clown him about? Tourette’s. Fucking of course. The only thing I had on him, the only thing I could get him for. Of course, the most compulsively lovable person I’ve ever known had a compulsion of his own: the god damn Justin Bieber hair flip.

Thomas and I met when we were both about 10. We sang for the Royal School of Church Music, a bizarre offshoot of the Anglican Church that convened in Houston, Texas. I don’t know what it was doing there. I don’t know what I was doing there, either; my dad has called himself a “god-fearing athiest” ever since I was old enough to ask the question, and my mom had never expressed any denominational affiliation beyond wearing an inherited cross necklace so she would stop getting mistaken for being Jewish (she’s since stopped). During practice, Thomas was so infuriatingly disruptive, so incredibly annoying, taking 20-minute shits, cussing at the director of the choral program (a total asswipe, in Thomas’s retrospective defense), drawing dicks on my “Adam Lay Ybounden” sheet music. Real devil kid stuff. But he sang so well — so, so, so, so, so, so well. Jesus Christ. It was like atonement or something. Like Mormon Tabernacle stuff, coming out of his God damn potty mouth.

I was enraged, but I was also enamored. You couldn’t not like him, even when he got our choir’s trip to Atlanta sidetracked for snitching on two handsy choristers (I wanted to go to Steak n’ Shake so bad, but we couldn’t because of that little pit stop). You couldn’t not like him, even when he got to sing the solo for the 5:00 service on Christmas Eve. It was perfect, his notes pure and intonation impeccable. I probably cried, because I used to be a crybaby (a character flaw of which Thomas was kind enough to alert me). I stopped buttoning the top button on my uniform and let my collar hang crumpled like his. I even let myself say “badass” a couple times (as opposed to “badbutt,” its less elegant relative of whom I was once fond). I had him over a couple of times. We didn’t have much to talk about and his mom wasn’t picking him up for a few hours, so we played The Sims. Then we listened to Basshunter, and he showed me that Zombie Nation song they now play at MLS soccer games.

Thomas died last August from a heroin overdose in his home when his mom and stepdad were on vacation. I still don’t know how to mourn. I mean, the dude cheated death in Middle School just to die four days before his 21st birthday and 14 days before mine. His digital interment came with everything but closure: ugly posts from an estranged father on his Facebook wall, harassing Thomas’s faultless mother and calling those who defended her “promiscuous sluts;” messy posts from someone claiming that Thomas had hit her up to chill just a few days before — he really did just do that a couple days ago, hit her up to chill — that’s so crazy, isn’t it? He hit me up, he really did, and that was one of the last things he did, which was to hit me up on my Snapchat, which is _____, add me so we can talk about Thomas kk; and of course the gut-wrenching tags from his mom every couple weeks with another unearthed picture or scribbled note he left during his short life. Precarious life degraded (deep fried) through digital detritus: slow swords, absolute wreckage, ungrievability. Fuck cancer and fuck Facebook and fuck heroin and fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck death.

You are my angel [and without] that I’d be hella sad.

Love you like I []ever did.

It’s okay it’s okay I’m still breathing.

I don’t have anything to say about this new Organ Tapes record other than that it let me grieve for Thomas. I love you, Thomas. Rest easy, my man.

Eureka!

Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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