I still just don’t know quite what is about music.
But it’s there, in my brain, forever floating around and carrying threads of thoughts and emotions and all sorts in and around.
I feel like it shuffles me sometimes. Reboots my system and gives me a chance to cool (mentally) and start something new. But cooling seems unlikely. It’s normally more disruptive than that, surely.
Take a beat, a noise, a sound, and watch it stir me up. Feel me wake up to it.
When I wake up there’s a song in my head, almost always, and that’s how I start my day. Some kind of rhythm. Something to sate that savage beast. Something to wrap my brain around it.
Music is something new for the morning, but it also connects us to history in a very real way.
As well as delving into our minds, it is threading something into us.
For years, music has developed and change. It’s a very successful means of passing on something incommunicable over immense distances. Music, to some extent, often manages to transcend it’s moment of creation more than literature ever can. It isn’t soiled by history in quite the same way.
Or maybe I’m just blinded by love.
And of course, music is political, in a million different ways.
But at the same time, there’s an aesthetic connection to something long gone that makes the strange seem familiar. You can listen to a symphony or a chorale or a motet or a madriga or a spiritual l and understand the music on some level. I can listen to cool jazz, impressionism, rocksteady, be-bop, dub, dada, trad, musicals, krautrock, post-rock and prog rock. I can get a hold on it and wrap it around my brain. Let it seep in and control my thoughts and movements.
You can hear an old Russian folk song, an Argentinian Tango or some Norwegian Disco and instantly get a sense of the appeal. You don’t have to know anything about the place you visit, but you can be there. Or at least, you can enjoy their sounds.
Music isn’t quite universal, but I feel endless sorrow for those people who can’t enjoy it. Who can’t connect with it. Who can’t listen in on other times and other places and other people in such a profound and intimate and energetic and immediate and beautiful way.
Inside my mind, I’m pretty sure there is some old guy with a hat playing the trombone, whilst a lady distractedly plays the accordian.
It’s their rhythm that keeps me going. And listening to them play along with all the music on the world. Somehow adapting to the beats, rhythms, white noise and melodies that I assault them with.
They make room for any accompaniment.They are versatile and wonderful.
Without them I suspect I would’ve crumbled long ago.
With them I am me, and I am listening to everything, all the time; filling my brain with the sounds of the universe.
Text illustration by Alex.
Inspired by image, by Anna-Kaisa.