Wicca Phase Springs Eternal—Adam McIlwee, 34-year-old songwriter who set precedents for emo music since 2005— has spent the last few years playing Red Dead Redemption 2. Well, that, and Fire Pro Wrestling World, which is “just, like, a wrestling simulatorhe tells me on Zoom.
But Rockstar Games’ Wild West simulacrum is what drove much of McIlwee’s fantastical and introspective self-titled album (out June 2with tour dates scheduled for this summer). It also opened him up to the stoic splendor of nature.
Immediately he was drawn to the parts of Red Dead that didn’t feel like they had soot of humanity on them – the “west side of the map,” he says, so “[near the settlement] Strawberryand north of Strawberry.
“If you’re listening to the record and you want to know where it’s set,” he says, with some embarrassment, “it’s mostly in that area, the western side of the map. In the game, these areas are naturally beautiful. It’s not like you were in AnnesburgOr Van Hornwhere they are depressed mining towns.
From his shyness, I can tell that McIlwee doesn’t necessarily consider himself a “player.” Really, he insists, RDR2 is what he’s been stuck on for years. It has a cold open world and what feels like endless playtime (physical copies have come with two discsand runners-up can expect to stop play after about 179 hours), and, at first, it overwhelmed him.
“I just thought it was huge and intimidating,” he says. But after a round of encouragement from friends, “I went through the first two missions on my first playthrough, then I felt comfortable enough to start exploring on my own, and it That’s really where the fun of the game is for me.”
Otherwise, RDR2 “is provocatively slow, rambunctious and unamusingly slow,” Kirk Hamilton wrote. in Kotaku Review 2018; it has “the most beautiful representations of nature […]and is happy to juxtapose that beauty with the ugly, violent human ambition that will eventually subjugate and destroy it.
This tension, the gum between aggressive catharsis and splendor, has permeated Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, but it’s also been present in all of McIlwee’s music since high school.
Early Tigers Jaw, the pop-punk band McIlwee founded alongside current member Ben Walch in 2005, is imbued with the same gourmet sadness of dark chocolate. Goth Boi Clique – emo rap collective McIlwee started nearly a decade later, a temporary home for an eternally influential musician lil peep– also carries a shimmering synth in their songs like a scythe, with words consumed by dream, scars and ghosts.
Amid the luscious black plumes of campfire smoke and the all-natural iris of its butter-colored sun, Red Dead, too, invokes things beyond feeling and sight. Sometimes cloudy ghost trains panting in the middle of the night, and incomprehensible taxidermy hanging on the walls of a stranger’s cabin.
“Deer all have names and cats are soul-aware,” McIlwee decides on the hazy, trip-hop song “Twilight Miracle.” “I am human and I want what I want.”
Like RDR2, McIlwee enjoys unlocking the box and unleashing the hot breath of the occult on his music, which is otherwise rooted in painful reality, as it “lets you know that some kind of weirdness exists in the world, but that’s not what it’s about.”
You can Google anything you want to know, he says. But “stuff like the occult” – “Libra, my rising sign / […] The romance of the riverbank,” he sings in the mission statement “Mystery I’m Bound to You”-“the answers […] require an understanding of human nature that cannot be Googled,” he says. “There’s a lot of room for questions and interpretations, but no definitive answers, and that’s so appealing to me. These sorts of things are like forms of escape that exist in our reality.
And, like the music, Red Dead is an ideal pocket of life, selectively representing and emulating it. Nonetheless, like an area of rugged forest, a digital environment is still one you could “get lost in,” McIlwee says.
“I basically do electronic music,” he continues, “you can think of it as the ‘graphics’ of a song. The content is the story of the lyrics – you can print any type of lyrics to shape the environment of the song, and it creates […] a struggle.
Sent in search of things big and deep by the sublime microcosm of Red Dead and his own intrinsic commitment to locking pinkies with the unknown, McIlwee hopes Wicca Phase Springs Eternal expresses that “under the right circumstances, we can go beyond- beyond the limits of […] what we know as reality […] and live life in a more wonderful way.
“The other takeaway might be, you know, you can be a city boy and find joy in riding a horse,” he says.
Article source https://kotaku.com/red-dead-redemption-2-map-rdr2-two-discs-indie-music-1850523902