Electronic artist Lo Five navigates us through the terrain of his latest album Geography Of The Abyss – a world conjured from meditative states and internal discovery. Illustrated through adjoining artwork made specifically for the record, the Wirral-based producer touches on the hurtling potential to travel even when in the most static of states.
Geography Of The Abyss travels across the terrain of the inner self. It’s a continuation of a theme I’ve explored and tried to make sense of through pretty much all of my music.
I’m endlessly fascinated with the nature of consciousness and memory, how one colours and shapes the other. I’ve been practising meditation on and off for around 15 years now, and I guess that sort of inner journey of self-inquiry has been expressed in some form on this album. I see the record as a kind of a mirror image of my own experiences of meditation.
The album is made up of a series of live jams rather than piecing it together on a computer; building these repetitive loops that I could get lost in late at night, just by focusing in on the music and tuning into feeling, or as close as possible. Taking this approach, the album and its production is pretty much the same as meditating; focusing your attention on an object that’s not your thoughts until your ‘self’ falls away. This happens naturally with any activity that requires long periods of simple concentration, like painting or knitting for example. It’s like a mini holiday from your mind. Therefore, the album has ended up a more contented and intuitive record, rather than something cerebral or wholly conceptual.
For me, meditation is about suspending that inner judge we all have inside of us, the one that forms opinions of situations, others and ourselves. In theory, it’s the perfect vessel for severing the ties with contemporary capitalism and the continual drive towards individuality. But we live in a world of increasing levels of judgement and opinion. Just look at Twitter. Capturing attention is the name of the game and we’re increasingly giving our attention away to causes that don’t necessarily help our mental well-being. It comes at a price to ourselves. Binary opinions on social media have been effectively gamified, offering rewards to extreme views that stir up negative feelings, rather than rewarding open-minded attempts at understanding and compassion. This direction society has taken has real-world consequences which may appear harmless and trivial on the surface. In reality, they are quite subtle and insidious, especially when amped up by the people in charge. Narrow-minded judgement and opinions are obviously divisive and isolating, so it stands to reason that a practice that offers the dropping of this act of judgement could be something that offers some sort of exit strategy from the current state of affairs.
In my view, there is a strong relationship between the tangible and the mental. They share a similar geography and are often bound by the same contours. What are we but the sum total of our experiences and memories, which are formed in real-world environments? There is a contrast with the familiar and the unknown within the album’s artwork [pictured], as there are nods to local landscapes, as well as places I’ve never been. I liked the idea of framing the album as a journey through the familiar/unfamiliar, both of which can be just as familiar to one another when the context of the self is removed.
Beyond the glitchy silhouettes of places and spaces, and their abundant energy, the realities of their origin are quite lame, really. They’re merely screenshots from Google Earth, edited and manipulated to appear as though visual discoveries of my own internal Mars Rover. However, the source material shouldn’t stand in the way of the conceptual journey they represent. I like firing up Google Earth and picking random far-away places to wander around. Places I’ll probably never visit. They all come together to form a virtual exploration that the record encapsulates.
As with the recurring theme of the record and my previous releases, making music is about discovery. That exciting eye-opening feeling of experiencing something new for the very first time. That’s absolutely the attraction for me. That’s where the record tries to position itself. I guess travelling holds the same attraction, not that I actually do much of that in the tangible form. Nonetheless, we’re all on a journey, and anything we make or do is a reflection of that journey. There’s always an element of escapism to the music and especially this record. Not just escaping my current environment and situation, but escaping myself.
Geography Of The Abyss is out now via Castles In Space.