Long, long time ago in Mexico, I woke up on a beach in Puerto Vallarta. My head was hurting and I was nauseous. I had gone south of the border to have some fun, to take a break from my complex, draining life but instead, I had taken it upon myself to attempt to drown my sorrows in drink. And just like the old joke goes, the bastards had learned to swim. It’s easy to laugh about it now but I must have spent about six weeks on that beach, staring into the surf, trying to figure out what to do with my broken life, sometimes in the day, sometimes at night. During one of those sessions on the beach, I met someone and before I knew it, I had a big decision to make. I might have been on a vacation but the real trip I took during those weeks was the arduous journey I made inside my head. And if somebody had made a soundtrack to complement my thoughts, that soundtrack would have sounded a lot like our track of the week, “Clarity” by Ellipsis.
“Clarity” is the first track released by the Music to label. So it’s not just a cool track written and produced by our own very talented Matt Jenko, the curator of the “Music to Save the World” playlist; it’s also history in the making. With the release of “Clarity,” Music to is no longer merely a community of curators assembling playlists, it’s a community of curators backed by a record label, offering them a chance to make their playlists even more unique by augmenting them with original tracks. That’s pretty cool – at least in my book.
Unlike any other track on “Music to Celebrate Life,” “Clarity” is an instrumental. It doesn’t have words but it does speak to you – especially if you have ever done some serious soul searching. I love the different moods the song takes you through. Listening to it is a rich, lush and expansive journey that doesn’t necessarily lead to any destination. By the time you’ve finished listening to this song, you notice you’ve stopped what you were doing and if you are like me, you find yourself reflecting on your life, especially your past choices – the crossroads of your life, if you will. This track might have been released with the essay-writing playlist in mind but to me, “Clarity” is about travelling through your conscious and sub-conscious, embarking on a mental journey of your life.
Speaking of a journey, nearly eight minutes long, “Clarity” is more a suite than a song. Yet, it sticks together really well. The track is dominated by crescendos and diminuendos, both of which are used to full effect. This is music that’s written and produced con fantasia. “Clarity” doesn’t adhere to any set song structures, nor does it have a clear hook it keeps returning to. Like your conscious, it’s always moving, never still, never returning to the exact same place it’s been before. In other words, it’s like life: it doesn’t have a rewind button.
Here’s a thought, I sure know I could have used such a button more than once over the years. Or perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered. As they say, the best predictor for future behavior is relevant past behavior. And in case you are wondering, staring into the surf didn’t help me one bit. I came close to making a life-changing decision but in the end, I chickened out. I went back home to my broken life that I ended up reconfiguring in a few years’ time anyway. And the girl? Well, she was something else altogether.
But back to the track! In case you belong to the large majority of us who wish that a rewind button existed, here’s what I want you to do. Go to Spotify and listen to “Clarity.” You won’t regret it. And once the track is playing, don’t just listen but rather, let go. Close your eyes and imagine this: a starry sky, the ocean breeze gently caressing you, a Cuba Libre in your hand and an empty beach…well, almost empty anyway.
You can also find different write ups of Clarity on the following playlists:
You can learn more about Ellipsis here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.