Mailbox: Big in Borneo – Sertraline

But when this volcano starts inside of you, can’t you stop it?
If it starts, there’s no stopping it, really.

Big in Borneo is Michael Pybus, an artist from London making serene and sincere electronica and dance music. The record he sent over is named from the drug Sertraline, an antidepressant branded in the United States as Zoloft. Pybus credits the drug with helping him overcome debilitating anxiety and allowing him to regain a creative foothold. I have very close loved ones who have benefitted enormously from the same drug, so I appreciate Pybus’s willingness to name it and make himself vulnerable by putting his experience with it on display. None of this should be taboo, so hats off to anyone willing to share their own experiences navigating mental illness and seeking to improve their health.

The music Pybus made inspired by Sertraline is graceful and sublime stuff, as if it was made in the midst of a long exhale, which in a way it may have been. My pick is “How it Feels” — a gentle, shimmering slice of 2-step that’s anchored by samples of kids in Belfast in the 1960s being interviewed about their feelings; asked to describe those overwhelming feelings like love. It’s such a sweet scene that gets set by those kids, and such a simple and essential demonstration of why it’s so vital to have a verbal outlet for your feelings. My nearly-two-year-old daughter is starting to be able to string more complicated sentences together now, and the satisfaction she feels when she can manage to express a big feeling is so palpable. She’s so proud (as am I), but she’s also so relieved. Those feelings gotta go somewhere, and almost never a better place but out.

In addition to two of the three tracks from Sertraline, I’m also posting another excellent track from Pybus’s previous EP, which is also well worth checking for. No bandcamp for any of these, unfortunately, but Pybus was kind enough to let me post the mp3s — for all the iPod warriors and those who might want to include them in a mix or set. They’re also available at the typical streaming outlets.

Big in Borneo – “How it Feels” (mp3)

Big in Borneo – “Sertraline” (mp3)

Big in Borneo – “Control” (mp3)


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