Not Somewhere is an album comfortable in its nowhere-ness and at ease with confusion and disorientation.
If you’re not somewhere, then theory dictates that you must be nowhere. Unbound and unburdened by the space-time continuum that suggests we all take up space in the universe all the time. While that may always be true of our corporeal bodies, it’s not of our minds and psyches. Getting lost in nowhere-ness is as natural for our minds as breathing is for our lungs. For some, like musician and songwriter Colin Huebert, it can be an essential escape. His last Siskiyou album, 2015’s Nervous, was highly influenced by his struggles with a debilitating inner ear condition that forced him to take comfort in silence as a way of quieting and soothing his discombobulated brain.
In the four-year hiatus between Nervous and the latest Siskiyou record, Not Somewhere, Huebert seems to have settled into a blissful state of suspended animation. Not Somewhere is detached from consciousness. Largely written and performed solo, Huebert imbues the songs on Not Somewhere with a disengaged intimacy as if one side of his personality is describing the experience of another facet of himself. Barely above a whisper, he opens both the album and song “Stop Trying” with the admission that “Everything ain’t going the way I planned,” sounding less like a lament and more like liberation. From this plainspoken lyric and its accompanying acoustic-strummed melody, Huebert surrenders any sense of plan or purpose. Where Nervous flirted back and forth between dynamics, tension, and release, Not Somewhere surfs along a stream of consciousness that never finds (nor needs) resolution.
Blink, and you’re a million miles from where you were a second ago. From the pastoral folkiness of “Temporary Weakness” to the loose-limbed, sax-infused “Unreal Erections /// Severed Heads” (my favourite song title of 2019 by a country mile) to the shambolic lo-fi splendour of “Her Aim Is Tall”, Not Somewhere is an album comfortable in its nowhere-ness. It is also unexpectedly comforting in the ease with which it embraces confusion and disorientation, circling back around to revisit “Stop Trying” and an alternate outro for “Unreal Erections /// Severed Heads”. The two reprises further codify the conceit that Huebert’s deep in conversation with his many selves, offering us cracks and glimpses into a familiar, yet utterly foreign world.