LOWER YOUR GAZE
The title of this track refers to the idea of the male gaze, and how so much in our society is built to satisfy that gaze and the viewpoint of people like me, ie, men. (And most of the time, white men). So much of our media, so much of our art, so much of our entertainment packages woman as object, something for man to own, use or consume in some way. As a man, I know how strong the urge is to succumb to this – to ogle and objectify and sexualise. But the truth is it doesn’t feel right to objectify and sexualise women. It never has. Deep down we all know it is unnatural and unfair, but we’ve been trained to think it’s ok. It is not. I am asking more of myself these days. I expect more of myself and of other men. We can do better, we can be better. If we turn our gaze away and refuse to take part in this dehumanising of the women in our lives, then we can begin to change the culture. So this track is a request to all men, myself included, to lower their gaze.
READY TO DIE
This track is kind of like a cathartic dance around the idea of death and life, death and rebirth. There have been a few points in my life where I have felt ready to die. Sometimes in a negative way, and others in a positive way.
There have been times where I have felt deep pain, and so much self-disgust that I didn’t care if I lived or died. That was not positive. Then there have been times where I felt I wanted to die, and in the moment of giving myself permission to let go of life, I found the power to want to live. I found courage. I felt if I can find the courage to face that great unknown, surely I can find the courage to overcome whatever it is that pains me, and truly live.
I have always wanted to live. Life wants to be alive.
I came to one of those points a few years ago. I was not suicidal, but I felt I was ready to let go of so many things in my life. I was ready to die to them – to so many things that until then had been an important part of my life, but now no longer made sense. Truthfully, so much of society and culture has never made sense to me, and I had to finally be ok with that and stand firm in my own beliefs. I had to own my own existence and experiences. I felt that my old life, old ways and old patterns were dying or dead to me. And that was ok. I was ready. I was ready to be dead to that part of my journey. And that also meant I was ready for the next phase. After death is life. That realisation made me think. And it made me feel. And I feel it is true that life goes in cycles. Death, life. Life, death. So I decided I won’t be afraid of death, I will embrace life. I will be ready to to allow death to come to whatever is dying and I will not cling to what is already dead.
LANGUAGE HAS FAILED US
This is a conceptual, and perhaps naive, meditation on the nature of language, and a desire to move beyond it and go deeper. Music and dance can achieve that, they can go where language can not.
To my mind there are many problems / issues facing humanity that have been created, or compounded, by language. Our words are complex things, but also very limited. Both powerful and powerless. Useful and Useless.
How could we divide ourselves along religious lines, for example, if we didn’t use language to create those religions in the first place?
How could we divide ourselves with borders and nation states if we didn’t use language to stake claims and draw up deeds to arbitrary pieces of land?
How could we create gender inequality and stereotypes if we didn’t use language to tell young boys they have to be one thing and young girls another?
How could there be patriarchy if we didn’t use words as tools of oppression?
What if we found a way to live without all the ideas and concepts that we hold so dear but are ultimately meaningless?
Nature will be nature without human thought and without human words to describe those thoughts. Life cycles will continue, new life will be born, love will continue to be a mysterious and powerful force in the universe.
What if we simply stopped speaking for the next year and found other ways to communicate? Would it lead to greater empathy and compassion? Greater humanity?
The world could do with more silence.
We are too proud of our achievements as humans. We are too proud of our brains and our ability to speak and use language. It has liberated us and given us so much, so many possibilities.
But perhaps it is also our greatest limitation.
This track was originally titled ‘Fallen Angel, Arise.’ I wanted to pre-empt the ideas in the later track ‘Transmutation, Redemption, Forgiveness.’ Ideas of second chances, of learning frommistakes, of growth, forgiveness, redemption and grace.
Something about the ‘Fallen Angel, Arise’ title didn’t ring true, so I simply called it ‘Fall, Rise’.
Get up again and keep going. Learn. Let go the past. Let go of fear. Love. Persist.
OTHER PEOPLE’S FEARS
So many of our fears are not our own. We are incredibly sensitive beings, and we soak up everything that is around us. Especially as children. We take on our parent’s fears, our siblings’, society’s.
In realising that these fears are not our own, we can let them go. We can be completely free of them.
This short track deals with that idea. A clearing, a letting go of any fear, or indeed any thought, idea or feeling that is not our own and thus being free.
RESIST ALL DOGMA
During the course of my life I have taken on so many thoughts, feeling, ideas and concepts that are not my own, and do not reflect my worldview. This is an inevitable part of being a human in the culture we live in. As with fears, we take on our parent’s beliefs, society’s beliefs, the beliefs of our peers. And further to that we take on their emotions and thoughts too. Their words stick, and stay inside us somewhere, until we look at them and question them. Many people express their words as dogma. Particularly men. Part of what has become so toxic about masculinity is that men feel they can never be wrong, they can never back down, they have to be right, and they have to convince others of that rightness. Even to the point of domination and war. If they don’t their very manhood is threatened. I have been in far too many conversations where thoughts and opinions are expressed as fact, without any question of where those thoughts and opinions have come from.
Dogma is everywhere. Whether it’s religious, scientific, political or otherwise. It is loud and it is persistent. It can be difficult and frustrating to figure out what you personally believe and feel about the world, about your personal experience, while surrounded by so much dogmatic thinking and speaking. It can be difficult to even realise that you CAN have your own view of the world – we are so used to accepting that what we hear from external bodies, particularly our institutions, is unquestionable fact.
But you CAN have your own view of the world. It is the only view. This track is a reaction to all of that. It is a message to myself to resist absolutely all dogma, even if is is something that is widely held as truth. Question everything, and trust my own experiences and feelings.
Someone actually pointed out that the title is itself quite dogmatic. I have to concede that point! That would be the toxic masculinity I referred to earlier. I am so used to assuming that my view is right and therefore it must be right for everyone. It is not.
But it is right for me.
CRY OF THE PLANET
I believe Earth, our beautiful home, must be sad and angry with how we are treating her – the pollution, the animal abuse, the disrespect and the ignorance. This track is my interpretation of that feeling. An elemental cry from deep within. Or maybe it is more an expression of my own feeling of pain, frustration and helplessness when I look at the world around me.
The last white male rhino is extinct. There is an island of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean that is being called the ‘7th continent’. We’re having to engineer robot bees to pollinate the world as there aren’t enough real ones left. There are no more ethical choices in how we consume. Child slaves lead short, painful lives down mines to find minerals to power the fucking smartphones we are all addicted to. Everything is covered in blood.
A sister sentiment to the one in ‘Resist All Dogma.’ This one goes further. A denouncing of absolutely everything. Certainly everything we have created in modern society. Money, politics, borders, nation states, prejudices, history, art, culture. Fuck it all.
It seems to me that nearly everything human-made is a distraction from the truth. Everything is an illusion. There is a layer of truth below the surface of modern society that we are missing. An instinctual, physical, spiritual dimension that is more truthful, more real, more beautiful and more loving than the current ‘reality’ we have chosen to exist in.
‘Denounce Everything’ is an immature sentiment in some ways, and quite dramatic, but it is how I feel. I often think how wonderful it would be to turn my back on society and go completely off grid. Into nature where I do find truth.
TRANSMUTATION, REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS
Three words really resonate with me and were quite present while I was writing this album.They all relate to each other. They deal with the idea of turning something from one state to another – from dark into light, from ‘bad’ into ‘good’, fear into love. All of them give us the power to save ourselves. Usually from ourselves.
I used to believe the divine was outside of myself, but now I believe it is inside. I believe that love is the only way. It is all there is. Even when dealing with the most heinous human acts we must practice love. And forgiveness is a very powerful act of love. It is something that frees us from pain, both the forgiver and the forgiven. Redemption is such a beautiful idea.
All of us can be redeemed.
And maybe, ultimately, none of us need to be.
BEING, NOT OBJECT
This relates to the opening track, ‘Lower Your Gaze’. It is a closing of the cycle of sorts. It refers to humans – in particular to human females as viewed by human males. But all humans, all people. We are beings. We are not objects. None of us should be objectified nor dehumanised. It is in this way that we have committed so many atrocious acts against one another.
The sooner we see each other as equal, beautiful beings that are deeply connected, the better. This track has hope that we can see each other this way.
EARTH AND SKY
Earth and sky contain all things. To find peace, to find balance under the sun and above the soil, within and without, is to be free. That is our natural state. That is where I want to be.
Irish producer Eomac (known as Ian McDonnell in the daytime) released his fourth album, Reconnect, last Friday, and now he’s sharing his thoughts about each track on the intriguing new record. Inspired by ancient ecstatic dances blended with throughly modern dance elements, Reconnect seeks to unleash the original wild human in all of us. Today we spend our lives staring at screens of various sizes, ever more disconnected from one another in real, genuine ways.
Reconnect is, in many ways, a plea for a better more truly human future wherein women’s rights are universally recognized as human rights, and we take better care of ourselves, the planet, and all of Earth’s inhabitants. More and more artists are addressing the sense of disconnect in society, the rise of loneliness across all demographics, the toxic political environment, and the patently unfair economic systems that only increase wage inequality.
Eomac‘s Reconnect is a powerful work featuring a blend of electronics, samples, analog instruments such as Irish bodhrán and even rocks and wood. The dance blends the ancient and the new in an exciting and dizzying array of sounds. Sample each track below as Eomac takes you through the background and intent of every song.
Eomac’s Reconnect is out now via Eotrax.