Music: Matt Carlson – A Lock Against Oblivion

As far as I can suss out, the title of this track (taken from a new Matt Carlson solo release about to arrive on NNA Tapes) comes from Nox, a book-length poem written by Anne Carson following the death of her brother. The idea of the phrase concerns how people collect and save things (children’s drawings, photographs) as a way of both archiving their history and avoiding the thoughts that oblivion awaits all of us when we die. We can hold on to those memories, true, but we also seem to require physical memorabilia to keep our demise at bay.

A perhaps dour thought for a track that doesn’t feel sad at all. In fact, this is one of the lightest, most joyful things that I’ve heard Carlson do in his solo work. Is this is his way of celebrating the now? Of paying homage to the beauty of life and of the moment even when we know in the back of our heads that time slips through our fingers during our every waking moment? If so, it works wonderfully. It’s buoyant and delectable, a soundtrack for watching humid summer days slowly turn into the slight chill of fall.


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