- Induce a feeling of fear. I make myself scared all the time, and it is very animal to do this -- horses startle themselves, when they get bored. What makes you feel afraid? Maybe think about water. It is imperative that you are ready to feel afraid. Past Life Martyred Saints is an emotionally charged album, but its charge doesn't live on the top, it's not full-on rage like the nineties (for which we are all so nostalgic lately). It is a simmering undercurrent like a terrible lake monster. Are you not afraid of the näkki? Seriously think about being afraid of these things; they can and will snatch you up if you get too close to the murky, unreflecting water. That is the first step. The second part is to add a few grains of sea salt to the water you drink first thing in the morning. This is actually helpful for water absorption, and might make you feel closer to the element. But it will also make the water taste weird, like Evian water, like minerals. It will give you a weird feeling like you maybe shouldn't be drinking the water. Only a few grains. You don't want it to be salty, just a little bit weird.
- Read Kathryn Harrison's book The Kiss. You might remember the reviews of this book: a completely straightforward, troubling telling of the author's sexual relationship with her father. The EMA album has nothing to do with incest, but the language of the two works almost melds together. I happened to be reading the book at the same time and was affected by the narrators' immense body horror and the presence of the emotionally abusive other in both. Harrison's narrator, suffering tremendously in the stifling wrongness of the affair, grows to loathe her bodily self and dabbles in anorexia; Anderson's narrator, too, fixates on abuse, as in the nauseating, cracked-voice refrain "I wish that every time he touched me left a mark".
- Watch the X-Files episodes "Ascension" and "One Breath" (season 2). This is the arc where Dana Scully is kidnapped by self-proclaimed UFO abductee Duane Barry. Listening to the UFO-influenced track "The Gray Ship" in between these episodes has a thrilling effect. NPR described it as an "unlikely leap of faith" when the instrumentation drops out; if you have ever watched the X-Files, you will know this is perfect.
If this worked for you as it did for me, the result is going to be really a really unsteady sublime head-cut-off feeling, a mixture of the chills and sadness and disgust and thrill. And a profound gratefulness that you have a normal life and you can look at your lover or pet or houseplant and go "Hey. We're both here." And even if you don't do these things, listen to the album. It's that good.