Canyonlands and Crystal Castles

You know when your music tastes don’t seem to match up with the shifting seasons or your baseline emotional state at a particular time in your life? Right now, no matter the daily oscillations between rest and awake and all the emotions that populate the in between, my life feels beautiful in every moment. Does that sound trite? Perhaps my glasses have gone from rose-colored to pepto-bismal opaque?

Doesn’t matter. Things are good. Even with school ramping up only to abruptly fall away into the paradise of summer, and even with increased responsibility at work that sometimes creates a little more stress than I’d like, things are good.

In a roundabout way, that brings me to my trip with Jonathan to Canyonlands and Moab over spring break. It was a short trip, but a gorgeous one. I loved every minute of it, even when I couldn’t get the camp stove to light without nearly causing a wild fire, or when I forgot to pack my lunch prior to our 16+ mile hike to Druid Arch. We left a day early, too, due to unrelenting sand blowing into our tent, making sleep next to impossible. That is the nice thing about car camping—no obligations, no worries… you can pick up, come, and go whenever you please.





If a song could encapsulate this trip, it would have to be Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome.” Nevermind that I used Kodak Gold for those shots above.

But the sweet melodies of “Kodachrome” aren’t always enough. Recently, someone pointed me in the direction of Crystal Castles. Buzz bands don’t always resonate with me, but this was different. Their music makes no apologies. They aren’t just catering their brand of electro to ravers, although I’m sure ravers eat this stuff up. The songs I’ve heard shear straight through you… an electronic barrage of sound with sometimes soothing, sometimes piercing vocals by Alice Glass. Their latest album is the one with which I am most familiar, and their singles Plague and Wrath of God are dark and aggressive—nothing like my state of mind these past few months. Even their softer Affection is a desolate synth mélange standing in stark contrast to just how pleasant things have been in life lately. The only part of my days that it seems to match perfectly are these accounting marathon homework sessions where I like a little music, but nothing that would make me break into song.

And yet, at the risk of poorly juxtaposing two wildly different elements of my life, please go have a listen. Have a few listens. They are worth the jarring first couple of listens where you ask yourself who could ever like this stuff.

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