Hanalei’s Brian Moss keeps having to pinch himself to make sure he’s alive. He asks himself, “Have we all been unknowingly transported into some cruel alternate universe where what was once confined to imagination has become reality?”
California is burning, and a pandemic is ravaging the globe. Police are murdering innocent people of color at will; domestic terrorism is being thinly veiled as patriotism; facts and logic are ignored; a cartoonish, malevolent blob was, at one point in the very recent past, nearing totalitarian control, and love is lost. This can’t be real.
Brian began writing Black Snow roughly two years ago after finding out his wife was pregnant. The process served as a means of coping with the relentless anxiety and bouts of depression that polluted his expected joy. “How could he bring a child into a world on the verge of collapse?” he wondered.
Brian’s new record is a non-linear, fictional collage set in the not-so-distant future, following the destruction of our climate and the subsequent disintegration of modern society. The songs are primarily narrated from varying, first-person perspectives: the last-standing bristlecone pine, a virus unearthed by fracking (this one was written a year before COVID hit and obviously feels eerily relevant now), the collective voice of animals subjected to human wrath, an estranged lover in a drought-parched, Northern Californian landscape, a post-apocalyptic traveler who unearths a working smartphone, the self-serving climate change denier, a father and son choosing optimism and action over apathy and surrender, and so forth.
Consider this a warning. Fiction is finding its way from far-flung to here and now.
You can check out an advanced track from Hanalei’s Black Snow, “Bristlecone Queen’ below:
Photo by Laura Lee Mattingly.
Black Snow is set to drop March 12 on A-F Records.