From The Desk Of matt pond PA: Death And Prince

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 over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Here we are. These days death seems to expand higher and higher into our constantly stratospheric consciousness. Sharing, blowing up in the social-media pyrotechnics, before the news has had a chance sit still and weave sensible threads into some kind of conscientious quilt. Like the jagged night sky, as if it were enough on its own.

And here, we see it from two distinct sides. Perhaps the same sides as we saw before the smart-trouser telephones, but now it’s amplified in the palms of our hands: celebration and dismay.

Celebration. The anecdotes of impact, the life-changing moments of David Bowie, Sharon Jones, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali. At its best, it’s a jubilant wake, and everyone has a story worth hollering and hearing.

Dismay. When the assertion is that it means “more.” More connection, more sadness, something so much more profound than anyone else can feel. It’s best—but so hard—to ignore the “more-ness” of our modernity.

It’s no more and no less: Prince was my secret hero. His sexy cassettes hid under the bed, waiting for my minor interpretative dance routines.

There was no way to explain his relevance to any of my wood-chopping friends. They prided themselves on their platonic love of the Allman Brothers and their marksmanship—all perfectly reasonable, perfectly fine. Yet there was zero room for absolute self-expression.

Prince made me feel like there were no limits. To both life and death.

“Do I believe in god, do I believe in me?/Some people want to die so they can be free.”

Video after the jump.