|"The kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday"
||[Dec. 6th, 2008|02:55 am]
For the longest time, music hasn't featured big in my life. It used to. I plagued my parents to get playing the keyboard, so I was introduced to the recorder in a music class in primary school. After that, I loved to play - it was only simple stuff, and I feel I've not really progressed beyond that. Still, I stuck with it from the age of 7 until I was 18 - I studied it for my Junior and Leaving Cert (for those that don't know the Irish education system, they're state exams taken at around the ages of 15 and 18), and did some grades until I left for UniS. A piano is a bit hard to get on a plane, or up to the top floor of student res, so I didn't bother.
That's when things went downhill, in terms of my musical ability. The closest thing I've gotten to it since then is one jamming session, and Guitar Hero. Even my appreciation of music has waned - my closest connection with music was in my teens, listening to the likes of Placebo, Garbage, Skunk Anansie and others. It wasn't until recently that I realised how much I assimilated the concepts (or at least my perception of them); I think I mentioned that I loved the line of "I'm overworked but I'm undersexed" in Garbage's Hammering in My Head as a teen, just to find it aptly describing where I am now. New music I never listened to quite as closely. Even when I put time aside, just to listen.
What woke me back up to music was Audiosurf, only because it immerses you totally in the music... that said, I need to take week-long breaks (at least) between heavy sessions because otherwise I'll just lose that totality of the immersion that blows my mind and reminds me how great music is. Maybe that was the wedge, giving my mind a chance to think about what I got from it so long ago.
So, this week I was listening to some of my favourite artists in work; well-trodden ground, or so I thought. I didn't expect to pay attention to what I was listening to, I was just in work, ploughing through work, with my mind on the job rather than the music; One thing I feel I should mention was that my homework ethic during my school years was lax in the sense that I'd sometimes stop doing work and just listen to tracks that I particularly liked when they came on - I didn't have that luxury so much once I started college, and I was already used to tuning out to the music while at a computer anyway. It's how I work at a computer half the time, but this week, time after time, I've been surprised by what I've started catching in songs. Almost every day this week, listening to a song, I suddenly get a new meaning, or actually pay attention to a line that never really registered with me before. Maybe they just struck with whatever was in my head at the time, reflecting my thoughts, or I'm in a different head-state in work, or maybe that game just dislodged me allowing to slip into that mode again. It could even be all 3. It just reminds me of that line from the Sunscreen Song (a song that I'm playing for myself again on a very regular basis) that I've actually used as a title, "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday." - it succinctly describes the mental flanking that these benign-seeming songs managed to achieve after years of complacent listening.
Now, I'm listening to music, and I feel a life to it again - that hasn't happened since I Played, and makes me wonder if that's the creative outlet I want right now. For ages, I've wanted some sort of creative outlet - programming is fine, but there's something unwholesome about it... there's no soul; even if someone writes a program with more love and soul than can be conceived by anyone else, but once someone else reads it, they'll find none of it there. But music; listen to live music and that passion and soul is there. Good art, as was once explained to me, was something that evoked a reaction in you, and that its worth as art was nothing anyone else could dictate to you. Good art, to me, is the one where you can see the real passion that went into that work. I feel like I'm being awakened to music again, and I think the only way to truly appreciate that is to pay it back/forward/up/down/sideways/interdimensionally and actually start thinking about it as something I can participate in.
This seems to be coinciding nicely with how a lot of people in work are starting to pick up instruments, either for the first time, or for the first time in a while and (re)learning how to play. The fluffy, pagan-hippy side of me takes that as a Sign - a sign of what, I dunno, but definitely one that I should pay attention to music for a while.