I still remember the heavenly sensations my body, especially my brain, experienced when I first heard “Time” by Pink Floyd. Goodness gracious, what an amazing aural trip I had that day; the surreal instrumental solo was enough to send a chill up my spine, but the soothing vocals & enlightening lyrics were luscious bing cherries on top. At that moment, I realized, I’ve been yearning for a sense of hefty aural tranquility, which can’t be merely gained from day-to-day meditation. Since childhood, meditation has had done wonders for me, but I wanted to experiment with something new, something euphonious, something that has the potential to kinder a sense of euphoria and alter my sense of space and time.
Hailing from a family of music fanatics, I’ve always had a burning passion for music and instruments, and I was privileged enough to have learned quite a few instruments and immerse myself in a myriad of music as a kid. From ghazals to hip hop, everything has intrigued my mind, body, soul, but one of the music genres that has my soul is “psychedelic rock”. Psychedelic rock is a genre of music that strives to bring out the same effects in the brain as taking psilocybin, LSD, mescaline or any other type of hallucinogenic drug.
Besides, Pink Floyd, The doors are another one of the major psychedelic rock pioneers that I adore from the bottom of my heart. Listening to Jim Morrisons’ angelic voice and those whimsical hallucinogenic sounds, the neurons in my extremities dance, the conundrum in my brain calms, the much-desired serotonin in my brain is released. Similar to any sort of euphoria arousing addiction, my longing soul got addicted to psychedelia.
The first Pink Floyd song I heard was “Time” and all I could think about after listening to it was “how can something be so gorgeous”. The song was replete with the cheerful dissonance of psychedelia. There was something about it that made me feel at home, which was sort of a sensation I’d felt only with Hindustani Classical music before. Moreover, the lyrics are beautifully penned and wonderfully capture the fact that time is precious and all we have is now, so make something of it. The song is a life lesson for everyone and urges you to ponder how brief our time is here and pushes you to seize the moment.
Way back when Carl Sagan and later on Neil deGrasse Tyson filled my imagination with awe through Cosmos*, and with the introduction of “Time” in my life, I’ve been coerced to believe how the lyrics are true, literally and figuratively. How in the grand scheme of things I should make the best out of the briefest of the time.
Apart from psychedelic music, my brain and soul relish being lured by bright, mind-bending artwork, which evokes a sense of fluidity and continuity. Psychedelic art, similar to music, is a window to the inner psyche of the human mind. It is the depiction of the feelings and emotions, the energy, the pleasure and awareness of the independent mind.
Creating and immersing in a myriad of art is another one of my escapes from reality. Being a designer myself, I’ve strived to inculcate psychedelic art into my designs and have been heavily influenced by some of the great artists from the 60s psychedelic era. Artists like Bob Masse, Alton Kelley, and Wes Wilson, who have created a number of posters for music artists like Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, etc, have managed to bring out emotions in even from a single line or a curve. The vibrant colors used are the icing on the cake to the pieces.
The artwork, similar to the music, gives a sense of calmness and tranquility. Even though the colors might throw off some people, the art sufficiently induces the emotions in the audiences and give them a sense of fullness and harmony.
Psychedelic art, and psychedelia in general, was heavily influenced by the hippie movement, the Flower Power ideology. The slogan “flower power” is used to describe the passive, peaceful resistance movement of the time, which was rooted in the opposition against the Vietnam War. The flower came to be an iconic symbol of non-violence and harmony.
Being in the realm of psychedelia for some time now, I’m still in awe of the ways music and art have evolved and what all turns in could take in the coming future. A number of people are immersing themselves in hallucinogens for recreational purposes that expand their horizons and help them create art through their emotions, which has an extended chance of being relatable to the audiences.
Psychedelia will always have a special place in my heart as it has allowed me to feel things beyond, and helped me survive my roughest days. I can’t ever forget some of the iconic and mind-bending songs by Pink Floyd, like “Echoes”, which have made me feel like traveling through the wormhole. Kevin Parker, the man responsible for Tame Impala, is an emerging artist that has further inspired me to explore psychedelic music and I’m excited for what he has coming up next.
(p.s. I’ve been a psychedelic junkie since time immemorial. I’ve been learning about psychedelic drugs and have been immersing myself in psychedelic art and music. I’m, in no way, promoting the usage of any sort of hallucinogenic drugs.)
*Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a 1980 television series written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, with Sagan as the presenter. It covers a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 2014 American science documentary television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan.