Omeed Norouzi – Spirit CS (Lime Lodge 2018)
Atop South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona live a couple dozen antennae of different shapes and sizes. They blink red from many points, creating an assemblage of light high above the flat expanses and rolling foothills of south Phoenix. At night, and especially after a dust storm, you can look up at the mountain and pretend a swarm of co-autonomous, oscillating light-creatures is watching over the valley, like a single, intelligent expanse of lightning bugs. Really, though, they are there to protect two complex infrastructures, one for communication and the other for transportation, from interfering with one another. Looming over the desert, these antennae and their blinking lights are a constant reminder of both the encounters we pursue and those we avoid with nature.
When I’m driving around Ahwatukee, the quiet suburb of Phoenix where Omeed Norouzi made Spirit, I use the antennae as a point of reference. Were it not for them, it would be fairly easy to get lost in Ahwatukee, which curves around the mountain according to its own logic of sprawling self-similarity. While driving around the suburb can be ensnaring, walking around the quiet, beige communities of its foothills is even more sinister and mystifying. It’s a place with a way of dissolving the boundaries we tend to construct between human and non-human nature. Coyotes stroll indifferently through quiet cookie-cutter neighborhoods. The howls of their faraway friends alerting one another to the discovery of fresh meat create intelligent, geometric assemblages of sound, not unlike the swarm of red lights towering above. Here, unlike practically anywhere else I’ve been within Phoenix’s borders, stars and satellites shine through the thick blanket of dust and light.
Omeed has a special relationship with music. At times, it seems like it submerges him in a wordless ecstasy. Other times, it frustrates him. At these times, it’s as though he hates it and wants to ignore that it exists. I think this relationship has to do with, or is a part of, a broader relationship with order. Music is a convenient thing, because it helps us make sense of other things. But not all things are supposed to make sense. Music creates a barrier between us and the noise of which the world is full. Omeed doesn’t want to lose his relationship to that noise, to the nonsense that lives in everything. He strives to be at peace with it.
Sometimes, when a thing has the potential to affect us emotionally, we call it “human.” I think this description usually misses the point. Spirit moves me with a force that is more than human, and more than our specifically human needs for order and separation. It makes me feel the weight of the human as well as the weight of something more. The burden of experience in peace with the freedom of things.
I love Omeed, and I love Spirit. I hope that this music will mean to you something like what it means to me.
Edition of 50
Design by Collin Fletcher