Walking along the empty road of a remote island in the Baltic Sea, I remember driving down Interstate 75 twenty years ago with the Detroit skyline on my left while a cassette tape filled the car with drums. I remember believing the world would make sense when I grew older. But it never did and it probably won’t. This is a painful lesson, one that finds each of us in its own way. For me, it arrived in hospital corridors, envelopes with death certificates, and an attic filled with my parents’ belongings. There is no figuring out the logic of the world.

These days I notice another childlike conviction, one that is stubbornly waiting for things to go back to normal. Although my rational mind knows otherwise, part of me wants to believe these strange days are a blip, that someday I will return to a life when I wasn’t mortified by my government or worrying about the strange weather or trying to fight the idiotic craving to stare into my telephone.

“We are choked with news and starved of history,” said the historian Will Durant in 1926. The poet Ovid mourned the loss of the days when humankind was “good and true,” fearing that “every kind of wickedness” marked his times. He wrote this in the year 8. There is no lost golden age.

Nostalgia might be another form of grief, which requires working our way towards acceptance and, if we’re lucky, a little bit of grace. I’m doing my best to accept that things will never return to “normal”, that there was never any such thing. The world is speeding up. The weather is changing. Life is only going to get weirder, coarser, and more unstable. This is unsettling, but it could also be liberating.

Basic Channel – Inversion

Inversion/Presence | Basic Channel, 1994 | Spotify | More information

Twenty-five years later, Basic Channel’s Inversion remains the most melancholy machine music I’ve ever heard. This is the sound of industrial decay twinned with a very human longing for faith. A beautiful piece of winterized nostalgia for your dashboard.