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Rituals add meaning to the randomness we call life. One of my personal rituals is writing of a yearly summary, focusing on the things I can recall from the last 12 months. Here are my reflections from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, etc.

This was a year just like another… Probably no one would say that about 2020.

A year when I have learned some new emotions and feelings. For example the lightness of having less plans paired with deep existential angst. Or the menacing presence of any random stranger standing in an elevator next to us. The mix of a schadenfreude and sadness when reading about the infection situation around the world. …


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Hey, why, what is this? In short, it’s my annual ritual to process and celebrate the events of the past year. If you’re curious here are my previous reflections: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.

I’m writing this a some days after the New Years in Berlin. The fireworks have passed, the people are getting back to work and their new resolutions. I have a feeling that for me to start a new chapter I have to process the previous one first.

2019 was a year of transformations, a year of living in a moment, a year of letting go.

A year of short trips. I walked through an empty Budapest at dawn with Dalia and we have played with kids at an amazing science museum in Warsaw. I have explored the tiny streets of Venice and Treviso with Mila. She was as happy to see the Piazza San Marco as she was discovering some random Italian playground. …


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Transformation, breath and pain. If I would have just a 3 words for this year, these would be it.

There were moments, especially in the first half of a year where the mental pain seemed unbearable, where every day seemed like a punishment of existence. And then was a glimpse of the sun, a smile of a child, a familiar sound of music, a new leaf on a plant.

In 2018, I’ve tried getting coaching twice and it didn’t work. It failed completely, missing the point. And then, months later, suddenly something started rolling.

I could blame the behavioural masterpiece of Apple Watch that has triggered a chain of events and decisions where I’ve discovered running, sports, spent more time in a gym in 2018 than in last 15 years together. Running in the forest in Palanga, along the beach and ancient Naglio kalnas. Listening to my own breath, the sound of my feet hitting the sand, the sounds of trees swinging in the wind above my head. A totally immersive experience, both primal and somehow modern. …


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Looking back in time, you can see a person that is both familiar and strangely distant. It’s you, but a different one, a person with other expectations, fears and hopes. How do you create these moments of reflection? I write letters, letters to myself. In particularly hard or exciting moments, I write a letter to myself and set a reminder to read it in 6 months. Or in a year. …


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A ritual is something that can elevate the profane into a sublime. That’s why e.g. the 365 days of our everyday routines feel somehow more meaningful on a New Years Day. Every year I write and publish a short summary of the previous 12 months, something I can greatly encourage you to do as well. Savor your days. Especially when it’s all not that easy and sunshine.

Last year I learned to appreciate the simple things. One of the reasons for that was the relative poverty we found ourselves in. …


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EXEM in Klaipeda 1994 — Photo by Raimundas Urbonas

Remembering EXEM ‘Atlanta’

Exactly 20 years ago, on an early and relatively chilly June morning I was riding in an old car together with my best friends Kryzius and Nidas, heading towards the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. In the trunk of our car there was a 4th person, a mad robot from Atlantis.

The occasion of our travel was quite celebratory — me and Kryzius had a band, it was called EXEM and we were presenting our second album called ‘Atlanta’ in front of the journalists. It was supposed to be a simple press conference, a few nice words about the new album, bored nods from the press, a couple shots for the tomorrow’s papers and a TV interview if we are lucky. …


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It’s a cold Christmas Eve in Berlin and my only plan for today, except for a traditional Kucios dinner with my family, is to write this text. Every year I go back in time and note all the things that I was lucky to encounter around me during the past 12 months. A lot has happened in the 2015:

I co-founded a company—Vai Kai, and it felt like opening a door into unknown, like the biggest adventure of my life. We rented our first office above an illegal techno club, surrounded by DJ studios and broken artists. We have celebrated our moving-in party in a small room filled with balloons, toy prototypes, kids and their parents. One Monday morning we found the hallways painted in skulls, bones and upside down crosses, so we decide it’s time to move our toys to a quieter place. …


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In 1878, a father brought home a simple helicopter toy for his children. It fascinated them for months, they played and played and played with it, and even attempted to build their own versions of it.

In 1903, the two brothers who used to play with the helicopter toy, now grown-ups, became the first people to fly a plane. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s journey has started long before that, back in 1878 with a small helicopter toy.


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I find that it’s a good practice to establish and maintain personal rituals. This helps us anchor ourselves in the unpredictable reality of everyday. Previous December I reflected on my year and as I found it quite valuable, I plan to keep on doing it also in hopes that some of you might find it interesting as well. So how was it this time?

I traveled a lot. I was on a plane over the Balkan mountains when I decided to change my life this year.

I went to SXSW in Austin and held a panel called Feature Assassins in front of a surprisingly large audience for a such an early hour. Few months later I found out that all of the 5 co-panelists quit their jobs this year to start something else. …


My farewell to SoundCloud

Listen. Stop what you are doing right now, close your eyes and just listen. Hear the world happening around you. Notice how you focus on a specific sound and it suddenly becomes more detailed and clear. Hear the sound of your breath, hear the blood rushing through your veins when you press your palm to your ear. You live in the sound and you are the sound.

Back in the 1990s I had another life as a music producer in my native Lithuania. Me and my bandmate Kryzius were quite successful in our little country, but by the end of the decade it was becoming painfully clear that we couldn't grow as artists beyond our home country. There was no affordable way for us to reach new listeners in other countries, and even if there would have been one, our music evolved in a state of a cultural isolation and wouldn't have fit the European electronic music scene back then. …

About

Matas Petrikas

I literally live in a bar in Berlin. Author of #thejoyofelectronicmusic, @SoundCloud founding team member. @vai_kai toys, Techno w EXEM in 90s.

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