The long of it

Or:How I Learned to Stop Worrying and blah blah blah

There are things, powerful things, that keep me from making regular posts on LJ or my blog, and amongst them are a strangely useless ergonomic keyboard, my propensity to make more spelling mistakes in a sentence than actual words, and the evillest invention of man yet, work. My theories on how the concept of doing not so fun things and continually proving your skills to gain another abstract concept: money, is directly linked to the invention of the nuclear bomb and Kurkure, to name but a few blights of the humankind, should be well known, but aren’t. Thank your favourite stars.

People who have ever read anything I have written, when I actually used to, should have alarm bells ringing in their head right about now. Yes, I am doped up on enough coffee to take care of the Brazilian national deficit, and work ended unusually early today(by which I mean at 2200). Yes, this is going to be a long post without de eville eljaye cutte, and I am going to write till I get bored or fall asleep or both.

The Dark Night returns.

So let’s talk about music, or more specifically, the sound of it. I have a very strange relationship with music; no one can say I am a music kind of person. I am probably one of the seven people on earth who doesn’t list music as a hobby on their CV/orkut type places etc., and that is mostly because it’s true. I don’t own an iPod or similar, never had a portable mp3/audio cd player, and my hi-fi system is hooked to my computer to amplify, among other things, the Windows default welcome tune, and the CD tray on that thing has been barren for 5 solid years. My computer hard drive has about 3 gigs of songs tops, the rest backed up on DVDs/CDs that get used every once in a bloody long while, and I can’t even list the songs on my HDD. I admittedly own a phone with iTunes, but the last time changed the playlist on that was when I bought it. I tried on more than you think you are for size, and the album still inhabits it.

So we’ve established my general apathy to music, yes? Now let’s sample this: I can’t imagine surviving without it either. There is a very simple thing that most people tend to ignore about all music: it’s all sound. That, my thoroughly bewildered and not unfairly bored LJ friend, is what I have been(probably) leading up to. I am a big fan of sound. All of it. Most days, I am looking to listen to at least 3 good sounds from all the music that I sift through, and believe you me, I do sift through a lot via my office LAN and teh intarwub radios OMG.

I listen to a lot of music simply for the sound. There is something inherent about sound itself, that makes you feel something. A child scratching on a piece of slate emanates a sound that makes you cringe from within, yes? There are millions, nay billions of such sounds that can make you feel something without having to resort to prose or music videos. The correct sounds can make the same sentence seem funny and intensely rude. Sound has power, and it is music’s DUTY to channel that power into something important, something with meaning.

We live in the age of confluence – I swear I saw a mobile phone concept which had a cigarette lighter and a Swiss army knife – and our art forms have blurred together to form newer children. Break down a music video, and that has a moving picture, sounds, colours, and even idolatry. The basics of art forms are quite simple however. The picture, painted or otherwise, has to tell a frame’s worth of story, or abstract feelings onto imagery. It’s business is imagery. I have long argued that Cinema’s primary service is the art of creating a spectacle, to show motion in pictures. The written word (responsible ones, not this tripe) has power, and that is to be channelled to tell stories or evoke feelings that the spoken brother cannot. Music’s primary business is sound. Maybe only for me, but there you have it.

There are at times a single note, half a guitar riff, a voice modulation in a phrase that are all it takes for me to listen to a song over and over again. Then there are songs that have subtext in the sound itself. Not the lyrics, or the imagery of the videos or the album cover, but the sounds themselves. That is a rare breed that makes hair on the back of hands stand. Lyrics are important in songs for most people, and probably why I listen to all that jazz. Sometimes, though, you have to go beyond what the song is trying to say and listen to what the music is whispering. Probably why I find myself increasingly getting hooked to things like live performances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, or Yo Yo Ma concertos with Morricone, or original scores of recent films, simply because of the purity of sound, the disassociation that they covet with pre-conceived imagery(probably not in the case of film OSTs, but you’d be surprised at how much the shuffle button can help create a disconnect).

I find myself turning the radio on during my drive to work, trying to distil five minutes of good sounds from an hours worth of songs with a 70-20-10 ratio between Himesh Reshammiya-Bullshit-Songs. Suddenly the mood changes, does it not? A one sided argument about the sound of music suddenly threatens to turn low brow when I mention Hindi film music? You’d be surprised at the regular pace at which some notes can create vivid feelings amongst these. You’d be well advised to begin listening to one Rahman, Allah Rakha, maybe even without paying attention to the lyrics. There is a particular love ditty that he created that was very romantic; nice non-dil/pyaar/ishq type lyrics, but (to me) had a faint but unmistakable undercurrent of impending sorrow. You couldn’t tell, really, if you paid attention to the words, or the imagery or the placing of the song in the film. But from the moment I heard that song I was gripped with fear, and I wanted to call my girlfriend to check if she was okay. Every damn time. Surprise of surprises, when I saw the film the song belonged to, the dude in the song dies right after. I was shocked. Here was someone who was creating songs for me, the guy with a sound fetish.

That and the realization that I just listen to anything these days, as long there are 5 notes worth of excellent, unique sounds, made me get up and make this post(that, and gallons of caffeine coursing through my veins). This is as much an admission of a hidden, suppressed personal peculiarity as much as it is a strong suggestion to stop paying attention to what is cool to listen to and what is not. I can’t remember names of artists, bands, genres or albums. I can’t recount my all time favourite top ten alternative or grunge bands. Simply because I don’t care. At the risk of sounding musically illiterate, I unequivocally state that I don’t care about the genre based segregation of music that music channels and music magazines push down your throat, nor do I care about the literally thousands of artists and millions of tracks that are required listening for any rock/jazz/concerto fan in any given year. If it sounds good, point me to it. But if you think it’s important because it was a great commentary on the punk society of 1950s Lisbon, for chrissakes, keep away from me and go back to your music snobbery and iSocks and celebrity posters. I listen to ARR, Michael Bublé, Philip Glass, John Ottman, Pete Townshend, The NESkimos, and Crystal Method and tons of others ALL IN ONE DAY. And you know what, I hear better sounds in my music than you, Captain.

(This was probably in response to the most musically racist comic I read in recent times, and no I won’t give you a link. In any case, blame the coffee)

I am returned. Pay homage to the usual places. In the face of Ellis abandoning you all, I shall be your Internet Love Swami on LJ. Tell me all your filthy secrets(or generally amusing foibles).

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