Turn Up (The Music)
“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
I’ve been meaning to write a dedicated post on music for a while but so far I’ve only managed random posts of songs which evoked those transcendent feelings in which you’re momentarily elevated above what I would term ‘general consciousness’. The posts are usually followed by some over-elaborate, convoluted tripe I’ve thought up on the spot pretty much just because I didn’t want to post just a video by itself. But hey.
To be honest this picture is somewhat of the same ilk. But it’s not just because I think it’s a cool picture – I mean, look, it’s almost a Cambodian Disney cover with those birds dancing to a frickin boy playing a violin amidst a golden corn-field – but it’s context and composition are singing the transcendence of music. Not only am I thinking (and I will blame the inferentially racist/classist tendencies of my social upbringing for this) that it’s incredible that this young, brown, working -class country boy could obtain a violin, let alone play it, let alone play it well enough to attract an avian ‘ménage à trois’ (I’m working off of the connotations of his rural surrounding and lack of t-shirt here, even though it might just be too hot to wear a shirt where he is because he’s brown and therefore it must be somewhere ‘exotic’, or as we would say in Cornwall: “he ain’t even from ’round ere!!), but I think it’s really evocative how the image alludes to the ability of music to transcend even into the realm of the bestial. For want of a better word. Basically, no one owns music – not even our species can lay claim to it.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
So, then, the animals like music. The brown boy likes music. We like music. I’ve watched Bruce Parry chilling with indigenous tribes performing ritual chants whilst off their faces tripping out on beetle nut and I’ve also seen myself and friends performing similar rituals to electronic music also tripping out on various substances. Ultimately, whatever the genre/tribe/species, we’re all getting high as fuck on sound (albeit with a little help along the way). But this isn’t really the point. I was going to talk about the two terms I alluded to in the first and second paragraph which I realise I’ve just invented: ‘general consciousness’ and ‘transcendent consciousness’. But remember, this is solely with regards to music.
The general, I guess, is your day-to-day consciousness. Nothing special, arguably quite a passive state. Nothing sticks out. All is pretty flat. Not unpleasant, but nothing invigorating. Waiting for a bus, killing time, loitering; these are most likely to encompass moments of general consciousness. There is a general absence of interaction and inspiration. It’s kind of like dying quietly.
But this all changes when we introduce music. I’m not going to start genre-discriminating, so I’m just going to say any music that stimulates you. Specifically, however, if you are a music lover of anything in particular, you will always have those few songs that really elevate you. And I can’t really explain the feeling any better than being ‘elevated’. I mean, I’m really not exaggerating when I say that in those moments when those songs are playing and I’m in a transcendental (albeit entirely lucid) state of conciousness there is very little that I could really care about in this world at all, simply for the fact that in those moments I feel entirely beyond it.
“Blessed is the man who is shot in the back of the head whilst listening to his favourite song”
~ Tarse Spectra, 1988
So, yeah. That’s pretty much it really. I’m having trouble describing what those moments feel like so I think I’m just going to cut my losses and end the post. I will say quite bluntly, however, that music gets me high. Literally, high. High to the point I can no longer walk around the streets or sit down and listen to the sounds of my environment. Sometimes I do take my earphones out, but this is literally because I’m curious toward what the music of my environment actually sounds like. Then I realise that it’s pretty boring – I’ve heard the song of birds in early Spring, I’ve listened to the sound of shore break swallowing into layers of Cornish stone, cooed at the babbling laughter of babies – nothing. Boring. But then I try to imagine all the music I will never have the lifespan to listen to and I am overwhelmed. There is so much to explore, so many sounds and feelings to share. Such elevation. So transcendent. Wow.
So, then, I leave you with the song of which this post is a namesake. It’s from my favourite album of the year not only because of the insanely beautiful production, but also because it’s an album I share with one of my best friends. We’ve gotten pretty transcended and elevated on it many times. The album is Camo & Krooked, ‘Zeitgeist’.
“Play it fuckin’ loud!”
~ Bob Dylan