The Sickness

by Sidetrack Walker

Running Out 04:54
January 2021 we have the cunning of thieves we have the instincts of beasts we have the purpose of jetsam in the flood we let our minds be sidetracked and hide behind each other’s backs we run a tight ship on an ocean of blood if we won’t seize the day if we while it all away we’ll be running out of clever things to say if we won’t face the truth that we’ve got everything to lose we’ll be running out of foolish things to do we have outrun our selves soldiering on towards the knell praised be the living dead our unbecoming shells
11 February 2018 / 17 November 2020 how can I sing when the world is screaming sing about my regrets my woes and selfish dreaming how can I dream when there’s this looming nightmare encroaching on our “sacred soil” where no one really cares? even if I go down with the sinking ship I’ll still be looking for someone to go down with ‘cos everybody says it’s human and everyone thinks that these things matter and this is my favourite illusion the one that never really shatters how can I grieve when the dying has just begun and the battle for our lives and goals can nevermore be won how can I live when there’s no fate better than death to stop the drums of nothingness that are beating in our chests even with the rubble crashing down on me I held on for dear life to my selfish dreams ‘cos everybody says it’s human and everyone thinks that these things matter and this is my favourite illusion the one that never really shatters ‘cos everybody’s only human and everyone thinks that they should matter and this has become my last illusion the one that remains when all else shatters
Am Ziel 05:28
(13 April 2021) Lange warst du da, immer schon am Ziel, zu dem ich blindlings strebte, strebsam wie ich war. Ein Gipfel in der Ferne zog aufwärts stets den Blick, sein heimatliches Glimmen überstrahlte alle Sterne. Heut’ nun bin ich da, am Ziel, zu dem ich strebte, am Gipfel ohne Kreuz, der einmal Heimat war. Das Glimmen, nun von Nahem nur spiegelnder Kristall, der Schwerkraft längst erlegen, die wir nie kommen sahen. Lange warst du da. Heut’ bin ich am Ziel, von dem ich dich verdrängte. Der Blick nun endlich klar: Der Blick nach vorn und aufwärts ins sternenlose All. Was bleibt, ist nur der Abstieg ins heimatlose Tal. Was bleibt, das bleibt der Fall. Was bleibt?
15 December 2020 – 04 January 2021 I step outside with half a heart and let the back door stand ajar so the wind can carry back to you my ghostly echoes from afar I left my coat and keys behind and my left heart for you to find a piece of art rather than a piece of mine I clean the slate to find some peace of mind a mind in a failed state that mocks every concept of fate a constant state of paralysis stalemate that defies all analysis fallacies revealed leave no sense of reality so I’m leaving every stone unturned and tomes unopened storing loads of lessons learnt connections I once yearned to make are breaking as all bridges burn the sickness took me in a constant almost like home so call me when I’m gone chasing echoes to find out where I went wrong delirious my ramblings droning on a wrecked train of thought rolling on so call me when I’m gone stop me in my tracks the sidetracks I walk with no turning back there’s no such place as home so long and not much point in holding on unborn is how I find quietus devolving to a crumpled fetus of what I might have become I broke the rules of engagement stoked the flames, fuelled ‘em with depleted patience soul-shaking self-annihilation the scorched earth of this heart-breaking conflagration I’ve taken to the road of ghosts and wayward souls paved with the cold coals of vain goals the faint glow of spent hopes beneath my soles I look back and find the back door closed the sickness took me in no snake oil left to draw on so call me when I’m gone painting shadows to find out where I belong oblivion took me in no concept remains of home so call me when I’m gone chasing echoes to remember where I’m from painting shadows to find out where I belong we enjoy each other’s song but we’re alone chasing echoes to remember where I’m from …and the ghost of me will tell you to move on
13 November 2020 running round in circles hoping death will catch us shining lights through tunnels so the end can find us spilling half-filled glasses to proclaim them empty saving up our good intentions to earn our ticket into hell the road to hell is lined with cheesy gift shops the boat to hell is run by Captain Jack the train to hell is busy running over the riff-raff creeping in on the sidetrack the shores of hell are cleaned by Mr. Proper as body parts of refugees keep washing up from the ragged cliffs the cork of hell is supervised by Jacob the swords of hell are forged by Agent Smith the skies of hell are closed from the waist downward with belts that slice through those who try to soar the hounds of hell are sweet as cotton candy and our sweet tooth will crave them evermore hell’s sentries are a squad of yummy mummies that rain hellfire down from sulfurous breasts it’s best to take them out with stealthy headshots then sneak in through the cracks between their legs the gates of hell have built-in body scanners that grade your sex appeal from one to ten and those who score too high will be charged extra intentions just won’t cut it in the end
18 August 2018 / 09 November 2020 fending off all solace breaking every spell scraping the paint off every wall taken home the prize of defeat over the fences and into the trees to boldly let go of what’s already gone it’s all over now gone and never been it’s all overcome I’m all over me I’m all over now gone and never been I am overcome I’m all over me
22 December 2019 / January 2021 it’s autumn again and the scent of freedom is rotting again along with the leaves it’s darker again and the song of longing is fading again along with the light endless winter waits for you endless winter waits for you endless winter waits for you when there’s nothing left to do it’s autumn again and the inner shadows grow longer again along with the nights it’s colder again and the chilled emotions are screaming in vain against the roar of the world nothing better waits for you nothing better waits for you nothing better waits for you winter has nothing left to do
May/June 2021 a lost cause hoping for rebirth from this relentless thirst life leaking from a broken barrel returning to the earth there’s a hole in my soul, my unwholesome leak hope leaves, draining me of sustainable energy and the hopeless belief that one day I may breathe free to choose what it means to be me from your high horse you’re asking how I’ve been and I say never better from my place in the shredder my lifeblood running redder every minute I’m feeling deader resigned to climb the ladder leading down to my death bed I’ve had enough of being branded the bad guy in other people’s story of my ‘sorry and sad life’ the guilt that I was feelin’ just held me back from healin’ and sheltered the true villains: the sickness, the mad strife never dreamt that I’d end in a place like this where every droplet on my lips tastes of piss cold facts punching deep holes in the face of bliss there’s no escaping this survival in this age of dearth has claimed the last reserves they pour into the broken barrel then trickle to the earth with your god of high horses as witness you’re branding me listless and keep asking what this shit is it’s my art and my heart and hardly your business twisting heartstrings, you’re part of the sickness a sickness that starves me and tears me apart cramming art into the confines of business denying all riches, indifference the only reward by your god of horseshit, I’m not gonna miss this I raise my fists in defiance authenticity triumphs in the den of blindfolded lions I whitewashed the dark signs for so long to shine and grow strong, the reckoning is on I set myself up to fail and be bested in a contest where all the wrong traits are tested the lifetime I invested is resting in a pest-ridden prison cell, rat-infested
The Sickness 05:58
03 December 2020 all the while tears have been dry this well of life evaporated all this time no reason and no rhyme the book of life incinerated all the while the pain subsiding this sign of life eradicated and tonight the dying embers rise bidding to life their farewells belated
17 April 2021 there’s a time and place for all we need in life how much of life we waste hoping for them to synchronize and there’s no understanding the paradise we never found we find ourselves forever stranded on blasted middle ground there’s a time for love no clock can ever know all our hope is not enough to find a place where love can grow no, I’m no good at living but better now at spotting lies there’s no denying that my breathing sustains a rotten compromise there’s a place where pain dwells but there’s no time to grieve there’s always time for strangers but there’s no place for peace there’s a time for living and there’s a time for death the time has come for leaving to seize what little time there’s left


After the release of my previous album, “The Art of Starvation”, I was burned out completely. The overexertion leading up to the release had left me broken and sick.

“The Sickness” is the album that healed me.

In early 2020 I was ready to give up music and didn’t write anything or touch an instrument for a long time. I’d been trying to establish myself as an independent artist and doing almost all of the work myself, from songwriting and performing to mixing and art direction to leading a live band to promotion. All of this was done on a budget of welfare money because my health prevented me from having a regular day job. On top of that, my music has always been hard to market due to its stylistic ambiguities. To cut a long story short, it was just too much for one person to handle, and it smothered all of my creativity.

After long months of chronic exhaustion and soul searching, overshadowed by the impressions of the harrowing pandemic, I felt that my identity had been wiped clean in a good way: I had learnt the life lesson of letting go. It had been a life-long dream, an axiom of my self-image even, to make my artistic voice heard and reach a broader audience. But I realised that in order to salvage my love for music and creativity, I had to let go of that dream and let things evolve naturally instead. Many other aspects of my personality and outlook on life had to be reevaluated in a similar fashion, and a lot of that is reflected in the lyrics on “The Sickness”.

Indeed, with this blank slate as a basis, and drawing inspiration from the pain-staking process that had led to it, I had started creating again! The first new song I recorded, fittingly, was called “To Boldly Let Go”, a less-than-subtle nod to the famous Star Trek slogan. Soon I was totally enveloped in a cathartic songwriting and production process that led to even deeper reflections on the world we live in and my possible role in it. I drew a lot of strength and positive energy from this process.
My workflow had changed completely. I worked in a much more spontaneous and experimental way, turning random artefacts of the studio process into musical elements and deciding on arrangement details on the spur of the moment, which yielded much more exciting and organic results than on my earlier efforts. I also went for a much warmer, sampling-heavy, almost ‘retro’ sound drawing heavily on musical influences from the 70s and 90s alike.

“The Sickness” isn’t just a very personal album. It’s also the most universal one I’ve made so far, with lyrical observations that identify signs of sickness not just in myself, but in society as a whole, in the individuals populating it, and even in the music business (as showcased by “Broken Barrel”, which will precede the album as a single). It’s not so much about victims and symptoms of sickness, but more about the dysfunctional mechanism that make us sick and how we can deal with them in a constructive way.

Musically, the eleven tracks cover a lot of ground, with influences ranging from Trip Hop and Drum’n’Bass to Prog Rock and Dark Folk, integrated into concise and accessible Pop arrangements with an old-school vibe that I miss in many modern productions. Sidetrack Walker’s trademark melancholy ties it all together into a condensed emotional package. Despite the dark themes and atmosphere, the music is permeated by a new-found sense of sheer fun, making it much easier to digest than its predecessor. Sidetrack Walker followers will recognise many elements, but are in for a number of surprises, too. Two songs even feature rap, presenting an entirely new facet of my musical persona!

“The Sickness” feels extremely relevant both to me personally and to the time we live in, and creating it was one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my life. It has helped me grow immensely as an artist and as a human being.


released August 19, 2022

All music and lyrics written, arranged, produced, recorded and mixed by Dominik Sonders, November 2020 – August 2021.

Dominik Sonders – vocals, guitars, keyboards, programming, general wackiness
The Real Redeemer – samples, additional electronics
Tilla – violin
DLeerium – spoken word on “Chasing Echoes” and “Broken Barrel”
Autumn Ni Dubhghaill – percussion on “Song of Longing”
Alf Schumacher – synth solo (sound and interpretation) on “Running Out”

DLeerium appears courtesy of The Real Redeemer. The Real Redeemer appears courtesy of Dominik Sonders. Dominik Sonders appears courtesy of Sidetrack Walker. Everybody else appears courtesy of everybody else.

No samples were harmed in the making of this recording.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this album a reality.
Eternal gratitude goes out to all the artists who have inspired me over the years. Though they are far too many to name, of particular interest for this album are, among many others: Tricky, Portishead, DJ Shadow, Paradox, Source Direct, Midnight Choir and Sophie Hunger.

In not particularly loving memory of 2020 and 2021.

Sidetrack Walker endorses the autism awareness movement.

℗ 2022 © 2020–2022 Dominik Sonders. All rights reserved.


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Sidetrack Walker Kiel, Germany

Sidetrack Walker is an independent music project focusing on atmosphere and honest, emotional songwriting. Headed by German artist Dominik Sonders, it draws on genres such as Art Rock, Trip-Hop, Drum’n’Bass, Dark Folk and Modern Classical.

(Photo: Nikita Mädge)
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