The Proper Methods of Mixing a Musical Anger-Release Cocktail

One of the typical byproducts of getting older is that, by and large, you don't tend to get as angry anymore. Not necessarily the "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention" social-awareness type of anger, but the hard-edged, passionate type of anger which seems to be a prerequisite of the teen years.

You come to understand over time that anger of that sort does absolutely nothing to the object of said anger, and, in fact, does a whole lot to you in terms of screwing up your day, occupying way too much of your mental energy and just being down right bad for you physically.

That understanding and all the level-headedness it implies should not make us lose sight of the fact, however, that given the stresses and anxieties of this thing we call living, it can be both physically and emotionally beneficial to indulge in a little anger catharsis every so often. Given our passion for music, we at Rocks Off think a great way to do this is by mining through the more aggressive nether regions of your musical catalog and swimming around in the rage, cynicism and visceral roaring that's hibernating there.

After a particularly challenging Monday recently we did just that. We threw the cell phone into oncoming traffic, drew the blinds, moved the furniture out of the way and mixed up a potent musical cocktail.

Now an anger catharsis is not something to be trifled with. It requires a certain amount of precision to achieve the desired effect of release rather than just making you more angry; and if not done right, god help the poor sap who has the misfortune of next crossing your path. It's something you've got to leg into, sort of like running a marathon, so for the warm-up we started with "Supernaught" by 1,000 Homo DJs. Intense but not raging, more like slightly aggressive high-energy.

We then moved into Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey, with a double dose of the song "Stigmata." Dark, completely unanchored by conventionality, with a lot of engine-out-of-oil gear-grinding but still with some repetitive electronic structure that keeps it cerebral. Close, but not full release yet.

For the crescendo, we put on Rage Against the Machine's self-titled first album, the whole thing. Man, not only is the music visceral and aggressive, the lyrics don't even bother with being dark, they are just straight up, completely and totally pissed off. And they're righteously pissed off. Which is good for the culmination of anger catharsis, because you feel righteously pissed off.

You don't analyze it, contain it, make peace with it. You just take everything that's been bugging you and roll it into a ball, throw it up in the air and knock it out into the stratosphere like a ball player hitting a home run. Well, a home run with a roar.

And then came the wind down. Something to reconnect with the intensity and high energy with which we started, but which would prepare us to roll out into the world - a fierce, pounding jungle set put together by a good friend years ago. No lyrics, just a mixture of deep and high beats which silence the body and the mind.

This final piece transitioned us out of the living room and into the car, whereupon rolling down the windows and hopping on the unclogged freeway we felt really damn good. We had released that stress and anxiety, were more relaxed and much closer to the moment than you can be when carrying around too much stuff. We were aware of the wind on our skin, the beautiful day outside, the great people we know, and looked forward to the beer we were going to go grab with one of them.

Perhaps next time we'll incorporate some death metal into the mix, but this particular concoction worked great. We highly recommend you give it, or any variation thereof, a try, and let us know of any special recipes you may have.

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Sarah Webster