The low hum of a busy city pouring through a window is what woke me up. I blinked and looked around, not recognizing a thing. I was in a bed, not my own, and there was a woman next to me, asleep. Suddenly a looming terror hit me like a king wave– I didn’t know who she was, and I didn’t know who I was either.
I looked out the window and saw a faceless city, covered in billboards and traffic lights and tall buildings, and people walking here and there, all of them with a purpose and presumably all of them knowing who they were and what they had to do. Perhaps the woman could help, she must know me. I gently shook her and was greeted by a sleepy, but undeniably beautiful face. Her large green eyes opened slowly, she shook her long, dark hair, and arched her back under the covers, her breasts pressing against the white sheets.
“Who are you?” she said, half-asleep. Then she sat bolt upright and gripped the covers over her breasts. “Who are you! Where am I! How did I get here?!”
“I don’t know…I don’t know who you are and… I don’t know who I am either.”
She stared at me, and I stared at her, looking for an answer in each other’s eyes, but there was nothing there to hold on to. Looking out the window together we tried to remember names of cities, names of states, names of countries. The names came abundantly (Buffalo! Geneva! Zimbabwe!) but had no resonance, no real meaning. We watched people shuffle around below and began to talk, to plan. We had nothing but each other and the contents of the apartment, which we began to explore.
The apartment was small, one room, and was virtually empty. A massive stereo system was one of the few things that stood out, and a vast collection of Vinyl and CDs. Thumbing through them my memory suddenly sparked.
“Radiohead!” I called out. The woman looked at me and smiled widely, laughing along with me “Radiohead!” She knew it too. I shuffled through the CDs, calling out names as I went that I recognized, happy to know something, anything about this world I had awakened to. We decided to listen to some music to calm us down.
Sorting through the CDs there was one that intrigued me, called Under a Different Sky by Via Tania so I put it on and sat down, listening to the city buzz below before the music started. I was greeted with lush melodies and a beautiful, enigmatic voice. Waves of sound, the hum of mysterious beauty, and fragmented poetry all mixed together in the air and I was transfixed, leaning in to hear better as if I could dive into the music. The music was both spare and full, suggesting silhouettes drawn in smoke, illuminated by light and then plunged into darkness before a match is lit. Drawing the listener into a world of whispery vocals, secretive beats, and moody, atmospheric frames, Under a Different Sky insinuates its way into your being. While many of the tracks are downtempo and reminiscent of the Portishead/Seafeel style of ominous tranquility, others are more straightforward showcases of lyrics and a the unique voice of their author. Via Tania tells a story of a human being trying to make its way through a world full of contradictions, lies, false emotion, and true love. The universal is rendered personal and the personal becomes universal. However the listener is left to draw his own conclusions, because in the end one Via Tania knows that we are ultimately completely alone.
I looked over and the woman was lying next to me, eyes closed and slowly nodding her head in time with the music. We didnít know who we were, but we knew what we liked, and I drew her close to me, sharing her warmth and holding on to what little life had given me. As we embraced, the transcendent tones of Via Tania bound us closer together, and the city vibrated with one million separate stories beneath us.