In the Heartbreakers series, we look at the dance floor tearjerkers that make your night special, whether that's at the height of your high or the plateau. Electronic music has the power to break hearts and this is an appreciation of those songs that get us all misty eyed. We've previously featured entries by the likes of Todd Edwards and Mark Archer, but today it's the turn of Vice writer Tom Usher.
If you are like me—which for your general well-being I hope you're not—then you may have spent a large amount of your life looking out of a rainy window the Sunday before work. Surveying the detritus of the night before, looking around at a bunch of friends and people you don't really recognize. But you think may have bought some packet at some point in the night, so it's cool that they're still in your house at 11 the next morning, and listening to Pachanga Boys' "Time."
If you aren't familiar with the 15-minute psychic expedition that is "Time," then I'll let you in on some background info. It was a lowly B-side on Pachanga Boys' Girlcatcher EP, released on German label Hippie Dance, way back in 2011. The Pachanga Boys, for the uninitiated, are Superpitcher and Rebolledo.
Yet, all that said, fuck the facts. "Time" may as well have been a collection of notes released by ominous yet benign futuristic wizards stationed on the edge of the universe crafting comforting tech-house for us mere mortals here on Earth to enjoy.
From the moment it starts, you are warmly welcomed aboard the good ship HMS Emotions by Captain Basskick. Then as the first drop hits, a piercing mechanical call rings out, calling for departure. You feel the lurch of buoyancy as you swoosh off into the universe, pulled on out by the haunting calls of an intergalactic siren's song. Now you're up in the air and you've had a chance to relax, maybe even eat a bag of psychedelic peanuts. As you look out the window, the sounds of an imperious organ dreamily weave in and out of synth chords ripped straight from the heart of the Blade Runner OST. People won't believe the things you've seen, attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
Then, and only then, do the ominous yet benign futuristic wizards that live on the edge of the universe grace you with their message. You hear a faint static on the intercom and an incredibly important yet completely indecipherable message rings out in your ears. Four words, "Lost, Track Of Time."
Then, as you drift along the melodies, a sudden burst of natural introspection occurs. You begin questioning not only yourself but the very fabric of reality.
Who is time?
When is lost?
What is track?
Powerful, all encompassing questions that frankly we as mere earthlings are not yet able to comprehend. But goddamn it sounds epic, like you're hurtling towards a new plane of consciousness at light speed.
Next, after coasting through the cosmos for a bit, you realize that the engine of the drums has stopped. As you float weightlessly on a bed of uplifting and familiar sounding synths and organ, you hear a new rhythmic chant emerge, cuddling you as you soar across the stars like the baby in the bubble out of 2001. The chant says: "As Time…Goes…By", and repeats, until everything fades to black.
By the end of the song/mystical excursion, you've fully contemplated your whole life in chronological order three to four times, possibly more depending on what drugs you've taken. It's one of those songs that doesn't make you want to cry because it's particularly heartwrenching in any way, but more makes you want to cry in the way you wanted to when you were 11 and first observed the sheer overwhelming size of the universe and your tiny, infinitesimal place in it.
See, I never really used to be into longer tracks when I was younger. I was into punchy, three minute or so tunes. The kind that dive in, rattle around, and are then out of your consciousness leaving you wanting more.
But after listening to "Time" all of that changed. This was a new kind of musical experience for me. A track so vast, extravagant and ambitious, that by the end of it you feel like you've listened to a mix rather than just one track. Yet over the course of 15 minutes you never lose interest. At times you may zone out and wonder whatever happened to your ex because you think you loved her and her hair always smelled nice, but then you're back in the room again, soaking up the atmosphere like the complicated, sensitive sponge that you are.
It's both triumphant and lonely at the same time, which is why I think it probably resonates so well with humans in general. After all, that's the best and the worst of us all over—simultaneously the proudest and saddest creatures in the whole universe.