Many, many people have social anxiety, OCD, depression and paranoia in “regular” times. They need to self-isolate for periods of time. Draw the shutters, lock the doors, turn off the phone.
Some get prescription medication from their doctors: anti-depressants, Xanax, Valium, etc. Some get street drugs: opiates, hash, weed, edibles, mushrooms, whatever it takes.
But there is music to soothe the soul. There are a few passages in William S. Burroughs’ writing where he prescribes music (and kief) to alleviate the junk sickness, the most self-isolating of conditions.
And so in the current situation, I go back to a few tried and true musical elixirs: Pharoah Sanders, Eno & Fripp, Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley, Harold Budd with Cocteau Twins, etc. But the one album that always does the trick is Dream Theory In Malaya by Jon Hassell. The repetition, the drones, the tones, the other-world feel of these songs, these pieces, always takes me to that place I need to be. Is it a place in the desert (a Thomas Merton place) or a place on Mars (The Martian Chronicles)? Sort of. It’s a Dream Machine area. The place of Burroughs cut-ups and Brion Gysin paintings. A place of walking in-between worlds.
It is a place I can breathe and relax and put the music on an auto-repeat loop and that lets me isolate in a world filled with “connection”.
At many moments during the day, the only thing I want connection to is the music…