Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Pat Stolley
There is literally nowhere that you can be where the juxtaposition between your surroundings and the timbre and tone of Arborea's music won't be sensational and jarring. There is literally nowhere that you can be where the difference in your mood and that of an Arborea song won't be eerily incompatible. You'll always feel as if you've become a raging, flesh-eating beast, set to scour the hillsides and country for anything that moves beneath the moonlight, the blood ready to run hotly from the corners of your mouth, staining the fur around it and dripping to the ground. You'll feel as if you're an insensitive and unloving monster. You'll feel as if you're a lout, a brutish bull that's just trying to do anything it can think of to get away from the matador and the certain death that you sensed the second you heard the coliseum full of thirsty animals cheering. You have gone on a rampage or you're meaning to.
Arborea, on the other hand, might be able to talk you down. Husband and wife, Buck and Shanti Curran, could cool you. They could single-handedly get you to stop seeing that flashing red color and they could bring your blood pressure back down to normal levels. They could help you, if you wanted, to put your blood on ice, for a short amount of time, just to even things out. They don't know what's got into you, but they're insisting that they're here to help you get through this. They seem to be saying, "We need to get you out of here. It's this place. This place is what's messing you completely up. It's turned you crazy and the longer you stay here, the worse it's going to get. Grab your things. You're coming with us."
They want to take you on a comprehensive detoxification. They want to whip the demons and all of your evil yearnings, all of your anxieties out of you, by any means necessary. They're going to get you better. They're going to make you feel better than you've felt in a long time, or at least get you back to a state where you can simply feel bemused and not angry or maniacal. They're going to start feeding you better food - free-range chickens and more greens. They're going to limit your coffee intake and they're going to make sure that you're getting outside for a solid, one-hour walk through a forest every day, whether the weather's warm, cold, rainy, sunny or snowy. They're going to hang some stars for you and they're going to make you see colors the way that they've always meant to be seen. It's going to be something like a rebirth. They're not doing any of this really to try and force you into happiness, because that's not what everything has to be about. All they want is for you to find your passionate side less intimidating and frightening. It's not at all clear how that even a possible thing. You're skeptical that they'll be able to deliver, but the more you listen to their enchanting medicine, you start to believe that a good enough-sized dosage might do the trick.
*Essay originally published January, 2012