Original artwork by Petra Martin

The Heavy Now is an ambient exploration of the pandemic and its effects on the human psyche, focusing on memory and nostalgia as an oasis for self-reflection. It was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to become part of the city's cultural archive of creative responses to the pandemic. The Heavy Now is now available on all streaming platforms.

It opens with a dystopian soundscape, a hyperbolic depiction of one’s mental state under lockdown. The focus is not on domestic worries, but on the abstract concept of danger, fear and powerlessness. Underneath, a looped texture emerges — the repetitiveness of our present lives, monotonous and dull in texture. In fact, it’s so uneventful that it remains in the background, discreetly grinding at our well-being with every reiteration. When it all becomes too heavy to bear — the thoughts, the worries, the routine — it reaches a climactic point that is the sonic equivalent of closing one’s eyes and yielding to denial — an escape.
We are now in a different mental space. The sonic palette has changed, so has the mood. This is a place and time that can only be accessed through memory, a time capsule that has been preserved untouched, in all its purity. It's the timeless picture that we all keep and cherish underneath layers of happenings that make up the fabric of change. This escape from The Heavy Now offers a much-needed oasis for self-reflection, a break from the chaotic, and yet habitual life that we’ve all learned to adapt to in the midst of this pandemic. It’s a memory of home and safety, of a time when worries were a burden yet to be revealed, but quietly carried by others. A time of purity that, in our naivety and stubbornness, we deem incorruptible — except it isn’t, and it never was. Memories are subject to alteration. The following texture conveys an intricate web of emotions, as the past slowly fades back into the present. The memory has been corrupted.

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