I’ve Been Thinking A Lot About Dying Lately: A February Mixtape

(Photograph by Nicolas Guerin & Desmond Muckian, November 2012. )

philip seymour hoffman

“We’re all hurtling towards death, yet here we are for the moment, alive.”
– Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Synecdoche, New York (2008)

February is a month to be grateful, a reminder to take your losses with your gains. For my part I’m simply glad that I’m alive, wake up every morning and make choices, regardless of how limited they are. I also understand that this can change.

The title of this post is taken from a line in Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, and like many others I’ve been thinking about loss and death over the past ten days. Aside from trying to process those feelings I’ve been challenged by them in my work. In short I’ve been writing a lot about dying too, as well as how it makes the living feel.

These are the songs that have been coming up from this brief period of time, some of them directly addressing the subject. DM Stith’s “~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~” reworks the final lines of “Something Of An End,” a song written about the death of Shara Worden‘s sister. Others (hopefully) sum up one of my favorite Chan Marshall lyrics: “Let sadness not be attached to your name.” I wouldn’t wish that on anyone who suffers death. It’s too simple and isn’t true.

I also wanted to anchor the pieces with the spoken word. I ended up using some of my favorite voices: Waits, Bukowski, Kaufman and, yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Download Ok here (via Box)

1) Tom Waits – “Laughing Heart” (from Bukowski: Born Into This, 2003)
2) Jon Brion – “Ok” (from Synecdoche, New York, 2008)
3) Elliott Smith – “2:45 a.m.” (from Either/Or, 1997)
4) Angel Olsen – “Lonely Universe” (from Half Way Home, 2013)
5) Erik Enocksson – “The Joy Of D.H. Lawrence” (from Farväl Falkenberg, 2012)
6) My Brightest Diamond & DM Stith – “~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~” (from Shark Remixes, 2010)
7) Ane Brun – “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” (from It All Starts With One, 2012)
8) Perfume Genius – “No Tear” (from Put Your Back N 2 It, 2012)
9) Jon Brion – “Ok (Fraser Clubb Version)” (self-released, 2012)

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