Notes on Naomio Islands
Fierce and true
Catchy and danceable
Fresh, quirky, and original
Wonder. Horror. Humor. More.
Journey into the realm of the taboo. Passion unfurls into an emotional tapestry when musician Christopher Macor faces the death by suicide of a friend and fellow musician. Faced with this great among human tragedies, he does what he knows how to do: make art. But it’s not easy work. Thus the lyric’s in Bootstraps “Responsibility’s a bitch” and “I’m left holding the bag.” Wait for it.
Time again and again throughout Naomio Islands, Christopher faces his emotions full on to discover that if you can bear the pain, “Everything is musical.”
Drawing by Terry Coleman
And to even begin to heal he must face first and hard his own judgment: The way you limit yourself is the way you’re judging me.
As with “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” Macor seems to suggest that we let the person who treats themselves with only life-affirming kindness be the one to judge self-loathing’s most extreme unction.
He digs deep, with the rich tapestry of a talented musician with wild emotional depth, seeking to answer What is this truth that violation brings? His almost circular catchy guitar riffs and danceable beats speak to who is left behind remaining very, very much alive.
“Cold” sounds like a duet between David Byrne and Johnny Cash.
“Cut of the knife,” shows that in her act, the suicide places everyone in her life in her harm’s way.
Christopher Macor picks this up, handles it, holds it to the light, takes a hit of lightning to the core, and releases her—wholly transformed—at least the her within him, showing that to survive is to thrive.
The song Naomi is the hardest to take. There’s nothing abstract in asking over and over again “Are you gone? Are you done?” And in fact who wants to face a loved one’s offing themselves? But a survivor must. Survivors aren’t given a choice, so the choice is, to quote the talented survivor Courtney Love, to live through this, to feel all the way through it…and if you can and you do (and Christopher Macor’s album might help you to do this maybe) you will emerge healed on the other side. To numb or stuff this experience is to let it slay you. Art is sword and shield to slay this dragon and emerge: Feel through this. Live through this.
The album finishes with an anthem to the glory of life, aptly titled “Self Love.” But there’s nothing hallmark about this conclusion. Life pulses through the guitar and joy rises like a welcome spring after this deep dive into darkness, riding waves of the YES spark that even though, despite it all …
(Your demons are your gift (and she jumped off a cliff)
…embraces the whole wide world anyway
(Your demons are your gift.)
~Sara Wright, Boulder, Co.