Music Monday: As Ships Pass by at Night

Ship in Fog

The soundtrack of winter is a minimalist one.


It had gotten cold enough that a thick fog more accustomed to morning sat in the river basin, despite it being a queer hour for it: dusk, but not yet dark. It had snowed recently, and so there weren’t many people out in this small, sleepy town. It was also a Sunday, and out here, things still close on Sundays. So when I climbed the stairs at the riverfront and saw the lazy river, and Kentucky beyond, the lonely barge coincidentally trudging along seemed almost intrusive, or out of place.

Mind you, I’ve seen a lot of barges in my life. They’re not particularly interesting. But something about the gentle hum of this one against the stark silence of the sleepy winter town set this experience apart. I think, when you feel are alone, you’re most likely to notice the others who feel the same.

I’ve used Loscil’s music in both theater training and yoga classes; First Narrows at least has a tendency to turn the mind’s eye inward. This is great for zoning out; use the album for Yin or restorative classes, particularly if they’re in heated rooms and you want the class (or yourself) to cool down. I also enjoy it simply for meditation; attach a thought to a sound and use it as a reminder to come back to that thought, as though it were a meditation bell.

In this track in particular, one can hear what sounds like different “voices” coming out of the harmonic darkness: the synthetic “beep” of a radar, the woodpecker tatatat striking in and fading out…they almost become as characters, or like ships, passing in the night. It’s pleasant and comforting, particularly in these colder months. And as ships communicate by their lights against the dark, sometimes it’s best to just set up your lights and drift.


Photo: kmacku/Instagram