Embrace the dark

I think most people know that the brain is almost completely consumed by the processing of visual information. Whether we’re walking, driving or dancing our eyes are always moving and their physical relationship to objects is constantly changing. How our mind deals with all of this still baffles scientists. 

While our eyes are busy all of our other senses suffer, especially The Soft Lights’ favourite thing – listening to music. The hard light of day is kryptonite to our ears.

I’m attracted to the dark. You probably figured that out by the look of this website. The arrival of dark mode in OSX was a thrill. Don’t get me wrong, I love a sunny afternoon sailing on the sparkling blue sea but eventually I get the twitches and need to be back in the dark to create stuff.

My soft-lit black walled studio is a simpler world. Less distracting and deeper.

I think there are older reasons why it works for me too, primal reasons. In the time of Barney Rubble the dark held terrible dangers. Can you imagine being lost in a howling ancient forest, no moon, no iPhone to light the way? While your eyes take a much needed break, your remaining senses are on crack.

Not only is there a heightened aural awareness in the dark, there is also a healthy dollop of fear which I love to consume. A wrong decision is perilous. A weak chorus will leave me at the mercy of the predators lurking in the gloom. The dark makes me stronger. If I worked in a room with a view of sunny groves of olive trees and golden pastures I doubt if I’d be truly alive in a musical sense. Those Italian hillsides could certainly inspire me but I believe that it’s more interesting artistically to sit in the dark and access my impressions of them – meta-tagged by my brain in ways we may never really understand.  

I can stretch these analogies to dark chords and sounds. I love those too – though in the interests of public health and happiness I’ve tried to cut back these days. It’s the dissonance I enjoy, the danger of the sound. Their harmonic structure is precarious, we want to resolve them mentally into a more satisfying shape. It’s the thrill of the hunt. There’s danger there, a sense of the ancient. 

I could probably ask my therapist about these gloomy tendencies one day, there’s a reason they call depression ‘the darkness’. 

But for now I will embrace the dark.