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Suspension-Solution

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For years, I’ve relied on my friend Matt to make me hip to new music (since all of my playlists are basically, eternally, 90s alt/pop). A few months ago, he invited me to a private listserv of sorts where he routinely shares an album or a playlist, along with a few words about his selection. He’s a new dad, so what I can only assume were the intervening weeks between birth and “hey, I not a total walking zombie anymore,” the listserv went quiet. It’s back up and running—and thank you baby jesus—because we’re in the midst of watching the election fall to pieces, and this was exactly what I needed.

The beautiful thing about the listserv is that I would almost never select these albums for myself, yet Matt makes the recommendation, I listen, and then I’m glad I did.

After some nudging, Matt has finally turned his private playlist into a TinyLetter mysteriously called Suspension-Solution. And now more people can now enjoy his musical genius. Whew.

While you’re waiting for the next edition (which comes out soon), check out a few of Matt’s recent recommendations below.

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

“You start to get a feel for where [Justin] Vernon has always wanted to go – he’ s really put down the guitar for most of this, has become very connected to auto-tune, plugged in samples and his computer, and still plays the same old slightly detuned piano he used for “I Can’ t Make You Love Me/Nick Of Time.” This record will end up on many year end best of lists.”

Kishi Bashi – 151a

“A violinist by trade, it’s a multi-faceted album with acoustic instruments, loops, interesting sounds, some auto tune (in a good way) …You’re going to swear you’ve heard some of this before – and you have – but it’s still interesting and fresh to me.”

The Bad Plus – It’s Hard

“When i was in college radio, once per semester i would dedicate an entire two hour show to nothing but covers. I tried to not be obscure with the songs, but sometimes finding bands would go way into the depths of the music library. If i were doing that show today, I would likely just start by putting this album on, pressing play, and walking away.”

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This is 32.

This is 32.

As I sit here on the cusp of 32, it once again it feels like a season of change. I found myself uncomfortably remembering 23 when first degrees had been acquired and second degrees were in progress, and it was just short of the time when everyone would move more permanently into adulthood.

At 32, I feel that shift again. We begin to settle reluctantly into our understanding of who it is that we will be in this life. We take the long view now. We plan out retirements and watch investments crawl along. I wonder what life will be like under a new presidential administration because I have lived long enough to remember “before.”

At 32, I don’t feel comfortable at all. The gravity of how fleeting all of this is has settled firmly in my consciousness. Every decision has more weight, more meaning than before. This means that I call my dad just to tell him I love him. This also means I calculate risk constantly, incessantly.

In these days, I find myself appreciating the nakedness of youth just as it slips out of my grasp. I find ways to hold on to the optimism, even as the rest of my body forgets. I laugh out loud at how ridiculous I must sound asking 16 year olds about Snapchat, or unabashedly riding shopping carts down aisles. I cry at Cherrios commercials and Dove commercials…and Gatorade commercials. I think these are things become acceptable again when I am 60.

For the first time, I am watching other people’s children grow in front of me, instead of beside me. They each pass childhood milestones they cannot grasp, so I am their witness. I wonder about the decisions they will make and what they will think of our generation, because I understand for the first time that it will not be the same as my own.

I am finding deep appreciation for intangible things I’ve long taken for granted. For the sheer genius of democratic government, for the incredible systems we have created to deploy infrastructure, protect people, ensure international relationships. I’m hungry to pause all of my responsibilities and learn more.

I’m a little sorry that I have not mastered anything yet, but that has allowed me to experience many things—even if as a novice—and to appreciate them all the more when they are done skillfully.

What I do know is that over time I have cultivated a small community of people that I love and appreciate, and I understand that love and appreciation more fully than ever before. These people quiet my insecurities and fears, they celebrate my victories, they are a mirror for all the best and worst parts of myself—and for the first time in my life, I let my guard down for them because I know their presence in my life is not fleeting.

32 will be a quiet birthday. I have a tradition of greeting the sunrise in solitude and pausing to acknowledge the sunset. Tomorrow I will give thanks for the sheer joy of my days. For all of the people who have contributed to my journey. And then I’ll set about the task of figuring out what comes next.

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Let’s say, for a moment, that the character of a city has an effect on its inhabitants, and that it sets the frequency on which it calls out to the migratory. People who are tuned a certain way will heed the call almost without knowing why. Thinking they’ve chosen this city, they’ll never know that the city chose them. Let’s say, for a moment, that the literal situation of a city can leak out into the metaphorical realm. That the city is the vessel and we are all merely beings of differing viscosity, slowly taking on the shape of that into which we are poured.

– Jessa Crispin, The Dead Ladies Project

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