The Hermit Seeks the Stillness is the new album from Dirty Knobs. It is twelve songs, each exactly one hour long. It is currently available to pre-order for $1/pay-what-you-want and will be officially released on September 18th, 2014. The full description is below.
It took me a long time to understand what these songs were about.
At first I had an image in my mind of an empty room. A room left to its own devices. Maybe just for a moment, maybe for decades, maybe several lifetimes. The still air slowly drifting motes of dust from one corner to another. Sunlight and the moonlight sliding across the walls and the floor. Objects settling, sighing as they slowly dissolve. Rooms full of automation that still ran, its purpose lost.
Then I read a story (http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201409/the-last-true-hermit) about a modern-day hermit who managed to live in the woods quite near to society for almost thirty years without anyone ever seeing him. He was eventually captured and sent to jail where he quickly fell to pieces.
When asked what he had learned in all that time alone, he replied “Get enough sleep.” Then:
“‘What I miss most,’ he eventually continued, ‘is somewhere between quiet and solitude. What I miss most is stillness…I’d stretch out in the water, float on my back, and look at the stars.’”
And there it was. That’s what these recordings were. The stillness. Whether it’s thirty years of it or just the world pausing for a breath for a couple minutes, that’s what I was looking to capture.
It happens to me often, if not often enough. A still moment. Where I live, when it gets very cold (much colder than the winters our hermit friend managed to endure), this is easy to experience. Sometimes, after the temperature nears more-or-less absolute zero for the twelfth day in a row and you step out into that cold, you can imagine atoms sluggishly clinking together. But there are also summer nights when frog-talk is the only sound, or the wind turns the tall trees into a white noise generator. One can try to hold on to these moments of stillness, but they always pass.
These songs are meant to be…not background music exactly. But something to change the environment around the listener. A sort of sideways transportation to artificially slow time, just as those moments of stillness are ultimately artificial. These songs are not meant to capture those moments, but to instead provide a space for those moments to be captured.