There are many aspects of modern life that we are able, and encouraged, to control: Productivity apps help us manage our time; YouTube "wellness" gurus keep us up to date with health and beauty trends; Yelp reviews tell us where and what to eat. A constant stream of so-called life hacks and a pervasive culture of self improvement means that many realities of the human experience become afterthoughts; few of us are comfortable admitting to ourselves (or others) that so many things in this life are out of our control.
After a cancer diagnosis in 2018, L.A. musician Ryan Pollie, formerly of indie outfit The Los Angeles Police Department, set out to record a debut solo album that faced questions of his own mortality and search for meaning. "Aim Slow," the album's first single, features lingering piano and warbling pedal steel, emanating the warmth of '70s songwriters like Jackson Browne and Graham Nash. The track's video splices intimate hospital room footage from his chemotherapy sessions with grainy childhood home movies. It's a raw portrait of the fading of memories and loss of innocence that occurs with or without a life-changing diagnosis.
"Religion and spirituality seem to be society's natural response to the confusing nature of life and the often scary idea of death," Pollie shared in an Instagram post about the song. "My therapist calls me a seeker which I think is a nice way of recognizing the fact that I'm not really settled into what I believe, I still have a complicated relationship with these huge concepts as I'm sure many others do too. I know the big things may never be answered for me, but I do think it's important to always be seeking together and talking about it, in life and in music."
Ryan Pollie's self titled debut is out May 17 on ANTI-.