Friday, September 29, 2006

Take Me To That Special Place

Today I put my finger on why I love music much more than film. This morning on my bus ride in to work I was listening to “Takk” by Sigur Rós (those of you who know me probably know that listening to Sigur Rós is almost a daily activity for me). Sometimes, a song just hits you so hard that everything around you seems to disappear, and I had one of those moments today. Glósóli (track 2) came on, and rather than relegating it to background music, which most people do all the time with music, I let myself be immersed in it, forgetting about all of the intellectual aspects of the music and just wrapping myself up with the emotional qualities. I have listened to this song well over 100 times, and I’ve always loved it, but, today, in particular, I was moved. The pacing, the buildup, the melodies and harmonies, and, in particular, the tonal qualities of Jónsi’s voice, with its perfections and imperfections, blend together in beauty and majesty. As downtown Chicago passed by through the windows, I was lost in sound and taken to another state of mind.

Anyway, back to the original point. I think that music (to a certain degree excluding opera, soundtracks, and musicals), by removing the concrete visual, puts more onus on the listener than film, but with a very positive outcome. I think that the power of music lies in the idea that we are forced to associate our own visuals and emotions with the songs we hear, rather than having one given to us. As a result, we all have certain songs that take us to special places – be it a memory of the past, an exotic location that you may or may never have been to (Holst’s The Planets Suite, anyone?), fond remembrance of someone you haven’t talked with in awhile, or even just a soundtrack to the world as it passes by you. It’s a feeling that I believe only music can give to you.

I encourage everyone to go find a special album or song, put it on, and really listen to it. Close your eyes and remove any pre-described visuals you may have, be it from a music video, a film which used the song, an TV commercial, or anything else. Conjure up your own visuals and feelings and be enveloped by the sound. Forget the music theory – song structures, tempos, tones, etc. Just let your heart take over. If it’s still not working, take a listen to Sigur Rós.


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