This post details my intuitive, amateur analysis of the tune Places by Catnip Cloud and Tiril Hognestad.
[UPDATE 26/08/2019: The artists have given me permission to share their own thoughts about Places. See the bottom of this post.]
(Click the play button to listen on SoundCloud. And then read my analysis below.)
This song is the most meaningful piece of music in my life at the moment, so I thought I’d write about it.
The first few seconds are a slow rewinding. I imagine a human figure falling horizontally into a warm darkness. Their fall slows as they reach the middle of the scene.
This tune uses a lot of backwards-playing sounds. To me, this evokes an other-wordliness, totally appropriate for an inner mental and spiritual journey.
The backwards sounds are also a hint at the fact that human awareness is capable of time travel. We can skip backwards (remembering the past) and forwards (imagining the future).
By 9 seconds in, we have reached a deep sleep, very removed from the conscious world.
Between 00:16 and 00:19, we hear a piano-like sound alternating between 2 notes several times. To me, this focusses the attention on one specific moment, just a note in length. It’s saying, “This moment is particularly important.”
Then we have a short melody, which is a strange, twisted flute sound, rising in pitch. I think of this melody as being like a guide through the dark, deep sleep.
Then we get the start of the beautiful female vocals, “Fall into deeper places.” This is deeply significant to me. It’s the process of inner discovery, finding our souls within, finding peace. And it’s kind of a never-ending falling. Or rather, a falling which can repeat itself over and over.
“Fall into what I call home” – your soul, your deepest unconscious, this is where you are the truest you possible. It’s where you’re totally safe and nothing can hurt you.
From 01:14, we have a slowed down repeat of an earlier melody. The slowness represents yet another level of going deeper into our unconscious minds. And it’s in full alignment with the previous depths. This segment of the song is almost like complete sleep, it’s very deep and very peaceful.
“Watch me fall” – this is a request to the listener to imagine the singer falling deeper into her soft, deep, warm unconscious. But it’s also hint that our conscious awareness, as a listener, is a kind of witness to what’s going on. Perhaps it’s us, as the listener, who is actually doing the falling.
“Such a powerful exchange of human energy” – this whispered phrase almost always gives me goosebumps, especially if I listen to it via headphones. I never thought ASMR-type sounds had any effect on me, but those words speak deep into my heart. I also imagine that the exchange of human energy can mean two things. Firstly, it’s what happens when two people are in close rapport with each other and carefully listening to each other. Secondly, it’s the musical artists transferring their music’s magic into our minds and souls, as the listeners.
From about 02:11 to 02:17, there’s a whirring sound, escalating in pitch. This is a charging up of spiritual energy.
Where the chords strike at 02:45, for me this is an extremely powerful moment. We’ve heard this chord repeatedly through the song, but for some reason at this point it feels it’s strongest to me. The chord is reinforcing and strengthening all of the energy and the information being communicated by the other parts of the song.
From around 03:08, we’re starting to wake up. We’ve discovered something profound, been given a spiritual gift. Now it’s time to unwind the beautiful madness we’ve been experiencing and start heading back towards consciousness.
The final “Fall into what I call home” is an appeal to come back again soon. We are fully welcome back anytime we need to recharge our spiritual batteries.
I can listen to this song on repeat over and over again. I love it so much.
[UPDATE 26/08/2019: The artists have given me permission to share their thoughts about Places. See below.]
“I wrote the lyrics to “Places” after hearing the instrumentals Kjartan made and the feeling I got from it. It has a solitary, almost cold sound but not in a repellent way. It has a comforting note to it. I envisioned all the times looking at my boyfriends face when he just looks out the window, staring at nothing. This nostalgic feeling was the inspiration for the lyrics. It can also be seen as a homage to all the introverts out there. Or those in favour of being alone with their thoughts and imagination rather than being surrounded by others in social settings.Tiril Hognestad, vocalist on Places
Introverts have always intrigued me. Being a clear extrovert myself, I’ve always imagined the mysteries in their minds, like a beautiful ocean. Today, I feel like it’s more recognised to be a extrovert. We tend to think that if you won’t share everything about yourself you are “shy” or “boring”. “Places” is written for and about those who’d rather dive into their ocean of thoughts rather than proclaiming them to the world, and that [there] is nothing wrong about that.“
I love how closely Tiril’s description seems to match up with my own intuitions in several ways. I’m definitely an introvert and I usually prefer exploring the contents of my own mind rather than socialising.