upward eyes – Ian Hawgood (EP, 2022/2023)

For the past year or two I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t in a good headspace, and found myself struggling in one aspect with a mindset of stagnancy and circularity, afraid that I wasn’t making “progress” or that in some ways or areas of my life I was in no different a position as to when I first moved down here six years ago.

It’s easy to decry such thinking as silly: “just look how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved!”. But depression isn’t always that rational, and my vision of the position was fixed more on the – to me obvious – areas of my life that hadn’t inched forwards. Nor is it so simple to extract someone from the rut they’ve ploughed themselves into. Stuck in these maudlin loops, frustrated, sick of this pressurehead of perceived expectations as the spectre of my twenties ending loomed large: it’s not a case of just picking one’s self up and dusting off.

Normally I re-enter the new year via a post-Christmas fugue, busy work quarter looming and Winter’s grip at its most suffocating. But not this year. Not when it now seems there’s so much to look forward to, when the wheels are turning over into the horizon and the little shuffling steps in the last few months begin to turn to more concerted movements.

Upward eyes is a beautiful expression of intent, of manifesting a sense of hope and possibility through a simple act: look up, look ahead. There’s not much to Ian’s EP, and there doesn’t need to be: a handful of interconnected, eked out loops and field fragments are sufficient to paint a picture of fragile yearning. Frankly it is a salve, a petite sketch of lightness to counteract the Winter blues;. Even in its thinnest and most rarified moments on elongate “fields”, there’s always this twinkle in its eye, this promise of some place, some time, that’s waiting to receive us.

2023 is here: let’s look up at this new year of ours and see where it takes us.

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