Agitated Atmosphere: Mirror to Mirror - Here You Leave Today

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Mirror to Mirror.

We’ve all been caught in a haze; an innocent bystander to the world as it whizzes around us, unable to catch our balance and come to our full senses. For some, it’s all a part of a good drunk, a natural high, or a strong dose of allergy medication so as to enjoy the world free from a runny nose and endless sneezes. Yet this strange interaction with the world is also one of mystery and intrigue. It can color our surroundings or provide a strange opaqueness -- a view into the world as it may be rather than how we’ve shaped it.

It’s in this funhouse style that Alex Twomey’s carved the latest from his Mirror to Mirror persona. Here You Leave Today is a carnival of awkward sights and sounds, though it is as melancholic and sleepy as a useful dose of Benadryl. Opener “With People” stands as the landmark—the giant yellow dot on the directory asserting “You Are Here” -- by which Here You Leave Today mounts its mellow box, barking out guesses of weight and age as a parade of sugared up, drawn on children and morose parents drag themselves through the promenade. “With People” wobbles with a chilled melody, slowly unspooling like a warped jewelry box won by chucking darts at balloons. “Early Fun” continues the goodtime vibe, though the enveloping melody takes the toy box music into the atmosphere; the wobbly tune now adding the whoosh of rides and people rushing to queue up for two minutes of mechanical exhilaration.

The B-side of Here We Leave Today taps into the sentimentality present in much of Twomey’s work (for example, 1958-2009); the same aesthetic present in much of Twomey’s label, Jugular Forest, and embodied by the flights of fancy Cylindrical Habitat Modules delivers (the labels that have jointly released Here We Leave Today). The textures are vivid but slowly fading, like memories of youth. Nothing sums it up quite like “Back Inside Yourself,” the idea of living out a melting memory before it becomes a glop in time, burnt down to make room for adult concerns.

Here We Leave Today is, above all, a definitive statement on life as it is lived. You’ll find yourself staring at the cute girl who graces the jacket; dolled up with face paint as she smiles into an amusement park mirror. It’s the loss of youth and our ever-present need to regain that luster of innocence in a world gone mad with terror, politics, and hatred. Here We Leave Today speaks to a time when the Golden Rule is the only rule; that sharing our enjoyment is worth more than any vault in a Swiss bank. Alex Twomey is making memories one album at a time in an effort to let us hold onto the past while existing in the present and for that, Here We Leave Today is as it proclaims at the bottom of the back cover: cotton candy for the ride home.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist whose work can be viewed at his website. He also pens Deserted for the KEXP Blog. You may follow him on Twitter.

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