Apart from the dysfunctional distance my family often harbors, I find myself missing most nights where my father, sister, and I would go on walks around our neighborhood. We’d wander to the nature preserve, which hasn’t been “preserved” in years. Trains rarely came through town anymore, and if they did, they lumbered so sluggishly we could outrun them. We’d skip from track to splintered train track. We’d walk to Oakwood Cemetery, find families of the deceased, and create stories from their names. The sky swirled with neon pink, and by the time dusk came, we were rarely bothered by the dark. Mosquitoes were much more irksome.
This week’s record, “Scis,” by German electronic music group Oval, colors the streets and walls of a city with its meandering, glitchy atmosphere. “Scis” is a record that moves, travels, and finds its destination before knowing exactly where that is. Despondent to direction, Oval undulates through lush electronica, minute minimalism, and static compulsion. You don’t know where each song will end up, but that makes wandering through “Scis” such a delight—even its most harsh sounds tend to glitter.
Though I don’t travel as often as I’d like, there’s always something tantalizing about discovering a new town or city. Within the first few blocks of its perimeter, I try to memorize everything I see. This consistently fails; however, I find some comfort in knowing that people who have lived there for years, even their whole lives, may know of places they have never visited in their own hometown. I can say the same for myself, even to the extent of having walked every street in my parents’ neighborhood but two; I can still remember which ones. With the electric warmth of another city’s lights stuck behind my eyelids, I wish my sister and father were next to me. Seeing a Portland sunset, a Virginian sunset, an Indianapolis sunset, the sunsets of everywhere that are all but etcetera.