My buddy once sent me a song file with the sole description “If they ever open a disco in space, this should be its national anthem.” In addition to being the best description of a song ever written, it was the perfect frame for the song.
At the time I was living in one of the nicer places I’ve ever called home. It was a 4th floor apartment in a nice building. A studio, though on the bigger side, on the north east corner of the building. Windows in two directions, even one in the bathroom. The window facing the street was fogged, which is common in that city, but the larger one was clear as day, looking straight at a building so new it was not yet fully occupied. My desk faced that window, with a couch up against the long wall behind it. The bed was against the north side of the room with the fogged window above. The room was heated via the floor, which was novel for me, but the standard way in Korea.
It was right after I moved in that I received this message. The girl who had lived in the apartment before me was super clean, and I had yet to crap it out. It was perfectly decorated and extremely comfortable. It was paradise and it was all mine. Winter had come to Seoul and the window above my bed let in a thin waterfall of cold air, I’d bundle myself in my thick duvet and lay under the cascade of cold while the rest of my body was warm. It was instant relaxation.
On this night, per what I presumed from the description, this song needed to be listened to loud and in the dark, though out of concern for my neighbors loud would have to be via my headphones. When night fell, I showered and crawled into bed. I pulled a chair over and put my computer on it. I turned on the visualizer that iTunes had at the time. I tilted the screen up hoping the patterns would be reflected as a sort of poor man’s aurora on the ceiling. It didn’t really work, but it was close enough- with the reflected lights of passing cars and sparkles from the snow covered city below, it worked well enough for my purposes.
I pushed play and was immersed in a flow of notes. I guess if this is presumed to be a national anthem I should stand, but that seemed a bit too much and my bed was way too comfortable. I floated on a cloud of sound between the window’s cold jet stream and the floor’s warm front. The sound was perfect, a beautiful blend of highs and lows, nothing compressed. The tone of the singer’s voice was rich and the faint patterns on the ceiling danced in spectral glory.
Even today, years later, I can close my eyes and see that moment. Feel the cold on my face, the warmth on the rest of me, and the pure joy of jamming to a great song for the first time. Strange what memories we hold sweet and dear, but some of the best are those that can be instantly recalled with the first few notes of a melody.