I was busy crafting another four tunes article the other day and was possibly less diligent in my file maintenance routine than normal (I didn’t save it). Somewhere between me leaving my laptop and returning with a glass half full of inspiration (and tonic), the laptop prepared to update itself and rebooted, seemingly annihilating my document in the process.

Let us for a minute remove the notion of loss and replace it with (dubious) scientific theory. I have to consider the possibility that the document never existed at all, maybe the time that was spent clumsily chattering my fingers across the keyboard in search of some enlightenment didn’t exist either. Perhaps the very fabric of time was bend out of shape by a gravitational instability and I did nothing but adopt a statuesque repose of serene oblivion and inner peace, whilst everyone else busied themselves with their evening. Or maybe I just wasted my time typing a document for an hour and then carelessly lost it.

I had for a fleeting moment, a recollection that I was crafting platitudes about the French, which is slightly implausible but not entirely impossible. (I am a fan of cheese and holidays). Who knows. Or indeed cares. The work, if it did exist, is lost, life must go on. Although, as is my leaning, it is worth marking the occasion with a haiku.

Searching through Windows
Monsoon skies shed endless tears
Word’s failed me again

Someone pointed out the other day that these articles frequently touch on the subject of aging. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I suppose I do tend to think about getting old more often at the moment. Partly because my body is starting to show signs of general misuse over time, which makes the whole aging experience more tangible. Perhaps also the nostalgia of digging up some of this old music is influential. It’s also true that my subconscious is quite capable of breaking through the bindings of control and opining into my physical world.. I will try to be more oppressive of my inner voice in the future. But for now let’s leave the door open.

Loss is linked to aging in many ways, predominantly because, like many things, as we grow older we experience more of it. As we move through life, loss is a rollercoaster ride. From the minor irritating inconvenience of losing a pen, to the devastating swinging left hook into the soul of losing a friend. Indeed our language is littered with the concept of abstract loss. losing patience, losing faith, losing your mind, losing time. Loss is clearly a big deal.

On the whole we tend to do a lot more losing than finding, and that concept of loss is a visceral one. Loss is a subtraction, it leaves a hole, it takes away, leaving the loser somewhat less complete than they were to start with. Finding, in many cases, seems intrinsically linked to the original loss and therefore seems to carry less weight. I found my pen, I found the time to finish this article, I found myself (where was i? probably in a bar).  It is more reflective of the hole being filled rather than some value being added or piled on-top. Possibly we reserve other words for the net positive terms disconnected with the loss. I made a new a friend, my savings increased in value, I gained weight… and thus lost the ability to affix the clasp on my pantaloons.

So what could the world of music possibly have to say about loss. Well, if we place to one side every blues song ever written (I lost my dog/car/job/girl, delete as applicable) and kick every heartbroken ballad to the curb, the pickings may be slimmer but also more interesting. And as usual I am not too concerned about stretching the connection to its tenuous limits in order to showcase a good tune.

First up, the Longpigs, a quintessential 90’s band who may have been consigned by many to the annuls of history, but are well worth remembering, especially for their epic debut album The Sun is Often Out. In many ways this work could be a quick reference guide for people wanting to know what British 90’s indie rock music sounded like. All of their peers are reflected in their sound, but they stood strong on their own as well. The bands name comes from the term for human meat in cannibalistic culture, translated from the native Fijian. Which is nice. Lost Myself is plucked like a fresh sausage, from the debut album.

Next is another 90’s soundtrack, Beck with Loser. I’m not sure anyone really understood Beck when he arrived on the scene in the early 90’s, spouting a load of nonsense lyrics in a sort of cartoon parody of a 20 something LA hipster. Anyone who lived through 1994 would have probably spent about half of their waking time having to listen to this song on endless repeat by all radio stations, clubs, bars etc.. As one reviewer points out, when you are not force fed continuous, great steaming bowls of Loser, you can actually enjoy it. It seems that Beck himself has also reached that conclusion and apparently does include it in his live sets these days, after years of exile.

Ahh now let’s wind back a bit and rotate the glitter ball. Lost in Music by Sister Sledge taken from the album We Are Family released in 1979. This is just a classically perfect piece of disco. It’s so well put together that you probably never thought about it. Do yourself a favour. Put some big headphones on with some thick bass and spend 4 minutes 47 seconds to enjoy this. Smile on your face or your money back.

The final tune in this quartet has been somewhat of a poser for me. I’ve been moving 3 or four songs into slot 4 for about an hour and I’m still not convinced. But sometimes its about context and I think if you take this tune in the context of its predecessors then it works. Love Lost is by the Temper Trap from their 2009 album Conditions, which also spawned their greatest hit Sweet Disposition a song that has done everything in its power to kettle them into a creative cul-de-sac. To be reasonably blunt, I’m not a fan of their music on the whole. But there is no denying this is a well-crafted and produced track and I’d like to think that they can go on to make something more interesting. I read that lead singer Dougie Mandagi was living in Berlin working on a solo electronic project, so maybe there is hope.

In an emphatic abandonment of numeracy, this time I’d like to leave you with 1 more. Although its just a short one so perhaps 4.3 tunes. I just tripped over this on my travels through the musical archives and found it more than a little pleasing. I hope you do to. No. 4.3 is I Lost my Camera in San Marino by Pueblo Vista from the 2020 album skjás ónar ánthropos. I recommend checking out the album for more Austrian curated lo-fi calm.

Now go and find something to do, like lose yourself in a book.