Happy Occident is a detox. When you’re here, the anxieties of life melt away, and thank God for that! These are uncertain times, so it’s even more important to show love to oneself and to others. Be kind.
In one sense, listening to Happy Occident is the practice of self-love. If you’re feeling frazzled by pressure and temptation, please tune into it. Step in and immerse yourself, and you’ll come out feeling better. Step away from corporate life and cultivate love.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has turned from fiction to fact. In the novel, set far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. People would walk around like zombies, looking for their next hit. Sound familiar?
Modern society creates a number of pressure points. Smartphones can be addictive – that’s their intention. Same with the apps and their vivid colours and pop-ups and vibrations. There’s also the ego-flaunting of social media; the shallowness of hookup culture; an over-sexualized society in which general decency and waiting until marriage is looked upon with distaste. Promiscuity is celebrated. Self-help books plaster over wider problems, offering quick fixes that never heal underlying wounds. Television news feeds fear. From instant gratification comes gluttony and a loss of self-control. And modern day music videos concentrate on looks over musical talent, sexualizing artists in order to sell. Is that empowerment, exploitation, or degradation?
MTV doesn’t even play any music anymore. Enough said.
Healthy bodies usually have healthy minds, and it works the other way, too. But young people are growing ever more depressed. Society does little to help. A 2016 article on mental health from UK news outlet The Guardian stated that, ‘…it’s exhausting to live in a society where asking for help equals failure’.
“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.” ― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
Marinade in the meditations of Slow Meadow and you’ll slowly start to feel more at ease. This is the equivalent of a mental shower, requiring a change in life, and a change in tempo. It requires a settling down, a more sedate state of mind and a turning from the old ways; repenting from the poison and instead choosing to sip from this fresh water.
“The album is like a waking dream of ideas strung together in a nonlinear fashion. I have been thinking more about what it means to be ‘Happy’…happiness is often nothing more than a false promise used to sell something, even ideas. I dwell on the utter failure of that word, especially in comparison to something like the Greek word ‘eudaimonia.’”
“Artificial Algorithm” brings in a strobing electronic melody, and when that drops out, the violin (brilliantly played by Ellen Story) enters the space. When the electronic melody returns, they both live in harmony together. The electronic melody dives down, splashing into its own reverb and swimming in pools of clean tone. Every track is bright and clear.
“Blink”‘s artificial intelligence muses on nature and material life. Everything passes. Strings and light ambient swells sail over “Drifting Phonetics”, and “We Can Only Love Through Suffering” further instills a feeling of calm. The music really is a meditation, so join the detox and keep breathing the fresh air. (James Catchpole)