Category Archives: GUEST EDITOR

From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Zen Hospice

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: The recent story in The New York Times was moving beyond belief. Not from grief, but respect and admiration. The way that Dr. Miller transcends his amputations, the value and meaning that they all give to the end of life—it is truly awe-inspiring.

Look, I know I may appear to be a little fixated on death right now. But I would like to make a case for the idea that it’s an important part of life. The way we die should be an affirmative extension of the way we live.

Life is great. But I don’t want to say it all the time. Bright colors bother me. My lower teeth are too crooked to properly smile. And lately, people are mostly interested in money and/or fame. Fame for their norm-core virtual presence, an effort to appear effortless, a means to end meaning.

So with the internet, I drift between dumb jokes and desperately wanting to understand mortality. Like that grand parade of all my failed barstool dates.

The meaning of life is meaning. The meaning of death is meaning. In between that is compassion, empathy—the desire to understand and create. Even if the creation is a flimsy grilled cheese sandwich you reluctantly share with your best friend—that’s all there is.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Death And Leia

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Since I first wrote about death, Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, have passed away. Shampoo, Star Wars, Singing In The Rain—these films left dramatic impressions on my childhood mind. Even though I was prone to falling madly in love with every actor on the screen, these human beings had eyes and actions that expressed empathy and infinite, intrinsic beauty. I celebrate them. And I will miss them.

We’re in a time when the icons are aging, when the first superstars are rapidly coming to the end of their lives. Inevitably, that means that some years are going to feel like 2016. With or without orange-hued, reality-star presidents. But still, 2016 was hard, seemingly rife with death. For some, I believe it appeared to have the look and feel of a couple rapturous harbingers, pirouetting past the last song of a bad dance-off. If I ever appear glib about the final curtain, I honestly apologize. The truth is I’ve probably never properly dealt with my own father’s death. So I guess my cool breezes are really just defensive hot airs.

Michael Cimino, Merle Haggard and Garry Shandling. These human beings thrilled me through film, music and television. I celebrate them. And I will miss them.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Grandaddy’s “Sumday”

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Grandaddy’s Sumday helped me up through my shaky transition from Philadelphia to New York: I was a robot. I didn’t know anyone. I kept to myself. I ran. I took Hydroxycut so that I could see my ribs. I wanted to be perfect. I tried not to eat anything except lettuce. I didn’t know how to fix myself. I did pushups all night. I cleaned constantly. I was a robot. I would half-heartedly listen to music while I ran. Sumday caught my ears, my mind. Listening to Sumday, I realized how crazy I was acting. (It’s always been important for me to realize what was really what and escape an episode. I mean, otherwise I’d be stuck on the wrong television series about a life I shouldn’t be living, playing a part that no one could understand.)

Video after the jump.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: The Sundays

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic was always my late-night go-to on the New York subways. Although I love a good cardboard crown, I don’t want to go down as the king of disenchantment. It’s just that there’s a distinct feeling to riding in an empty subway car after an Interpol show/uptown wedding/Union Square movie/bookstore reading/bad improv/bad date/surprisingly mindblowing comedy. Perhaps it’s banal baloney—these were my best-loved moments. There was no one—in or outside my mind—to summon self-consciousness while I swung round the shiny germ-infested poles and soft-shoed the slowdowns into the stations. It was my own bittersweet musical. Reading, Writing & Arithmetic, angular and awkward at times, sparse and melodically searching—Harriet Wheeler pulling it all together with her powerful, delicate voice, her powerful, delicate lyrics. “It’s that little souvenir of a terrible year, which makes my eyes feel sore.” And in that sense it makes sense. Simple realities are sung, strung with that balance of heartbreaking belief, the modest beauty of the mundane. Sad subway songs for the over-zealous, overgrown misanthropes.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Sundays And Nuns

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: I don’t like Sundays. I don’t like the feeling of failing and falling the day seems to imbue. Silent and gray. (Morrissey sometimes really said it best.) Sundays are the chasm in which I was dropped off between parents, the nights I first developed a healthy case of insomnia—dreading the dawn, waiting to get on the hillbilly bus and go to school. If I were in solitary confinement, I believe I could spot a Sunday just from the alchemical reaction between the hours and my soul. But I do like nuns. Theoretically, that is. I believe in their belief, their undying dedication to a premise, both indeterminate and totally determined. Their fervor is insane. And the habits, the black-and-white elegance of medieval constancy, of dragon-slaying fortitude. They’re both classic and core.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Mickey’s Big Mouth

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Mickey’s was my teenage answer.

Unscrew the cap for a chance to solve everything. That, or get stumped by the rebus puzzle. And then drink—to either straighten out or fly wrong.

We would chug these in cold cabins during the winter. Our fingers would sting and we were blissfully aware of our own stupidity, for staying out so long and so late in the thick New Hampshire winters.

I grew up with a strong hatred of myself. Analysts might have had better answers. But I chose malt liquor and sarcasm.

Somehow, I made it. (This might be a strange endorsement of malt liquor. Pardon.)

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Floating

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: The fantasy was to fly. The reality was more like most realities. Simple and unsurprising.

Floating. A few inches off the ground. A little faster than a walk but not quite a run.

I’d rehearsed in the basement for years after uncovering a dogeared copy of Flying Made Easy in the two-cent library sale. The first step is to empty the mind.

Easy. Back then, there really wasn’t all that much going on other than the curve of a field in spring, waving slowly as the timid sun sinks. Poorly hung barn doors and dirt road dust were plenty entertaining. The story was always changing.

The second step was belief. Even when the floater isn’t floating, the faith must remain.

All those nights, staring in the mirror, demanding that reality change course. Acute loneliness. But loneliness with a legitimate purpose.

And then it happened. The cassette player warbling, a poor teen’s taped, taped tape. “All I Want” by Joni Mitchell. Toes lifting up off the bathroom carpet, the basement refuge becoming a fully realized laboratory of the greatest non-science ever created.

That night, I drank Mickey’s Big Mouths and float-danced with my posters and my albums, empty sweaters, falling into bookshelves and shushing myself to the ceiling, as if anyone cared.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Orchid Mantis

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: These mantes from southeast Asia perfectly mimic flowers in order to trap and consume their prey. The males remain small and plain, while females pose and posture their way to their lavish moth-meals.

Beautiful and evil. (Please pardon the inverted carnival mirrors, but I love the meaning of these bugs.)

Human beings. Our benevolent shimmers merely mask the primal motivations. Money and lipstick aren’t anything more than a superficial sleight of hand. Songs may merely be sad spiderwebs for the melodically inclined.

Look, I apologize for ever putting a scarf on a dog. Or for a cartoon lifetime of anthropomorphism. From now on, I just want to know what’s what.

If you’re gorgeous and hungry—you’re probably going to eat me alive.

I get it. I have a grilled cheese head. It’s cool.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Elena Ferrante’s “The Days Of Abandonment”

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

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Pond: There’s only one way to the top. And it sure ain’t down.

I’m looking up at a coffee shop full of strangers, and I can’t help but think that we seldom welcome people as they are anymore—including me. The curation of our profile and personhood is just about the slipperiest slope out there.

The Days Of Abandonment. There are some reviews that consider the descent of main character to be clichéd. After a lifetime of familial dedication, Olga is abandoned by her husband Mario. She goes down, disrupted and scouring the depths of sanity.

While the signposts may be similar to those that have already appeared, the description and intensity of the Olga’s dive are incomparable. It’s a palpable pain that brings me closer to a grief-case I’ve grown accustomed to hiding from everyone, including myself.

Both disturbing and real—from here on out, I’m on a treasure hunt for everything that matters. A quiet quest for all that beguiling dirt beneath our shuffling feet.

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From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Mitski

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: I want more heroes. I don’t need the playing field to be leveled. I want to forget about existence and shut down my computer world, all for a memory eclipsing the constant stream of imagery that floods my face.

I don’t want to be told that I am wrong when I gently wince at Hillary Clinton or Bon Iver or Angel Olsen or Kanye West. I would like to spiritedly wrangle with everyone at some point. (Have you seen me tease my sisters? Have you noticed me fail at Scrabble? I’d like to go down as one of the greatest sore losers of all time.)

Herein comes Mitski. Odd and modest at first introduction, soft melodies soon expand the aural riverbanks, through broadening, inspired production. Muffled drum machines grow into grinding guitars, saxophones, drums open wider, wider synths, back down to ticking, thumping electronic beats.

There’s no defying or denying admission into the world Mitski’s created—the listeners are respectfully allowed to participate, to see themselves through the lens, to feel both disillusioned and triumphant, as one.

We got here following the sweetest skein, through perfectly articulated strangenesses, drawn and sung, drawn and sung, until it’s OK to explode, it’s OK to dance badly and sing a full-throated harmony to “Your Best American Girl,” no matter what’s down beneath your trousers or on the arm of all these random, inconsequential skin tones.

We need more Princes, Chrissie Hyndes, David Bowies, Morrisseys and Mitskis.

“Down empty streets sniffing glue me and you, blank open eyes watch the moonflower bloom”

Video after the jump.

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