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Music, life, emotion

I will now dump a very long, slightly edited, quite relevant excerpt from my personal journal here:

This is the role music plays in my life. I talk about it a lot, yet somehow I fear that the essence of its effect on me gets lost in the shuffle. The real importance of music to me, I think, is the close relation it has to my emotion and memory. Emotion: stuff like Sigur Rós, Mogwai, some King Crimson, After Crying, and so on is so heartbreakingly beautiful that I get sucked into it.

Memory: Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, a somewhat dull album by any other standards, has a special place in my heart because it brings back incredible memories of a bus ride to Florida in 7th grade. Boston’s Walk On, a sort of music that I should despise given most of the stuff I like, also has a special meaning to me because of its contemporaneity (is that a word?) to the beginning of my relationship with my first girlfriend. Änglagård’s Epilog is similar in its relation to the beginning of my relationship with my current girlfriend. There’s even random shit like Djam Karet’s Reflections from the Firepool bringing back a wash of glowing memories of me reading Stephen Donaldson’s utterly stunning fantasy series The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (a highly, highly depressing story, incidentally). Or Rush’s Counterparts reminding me of the time I spent in 10th grade living in my brother’s room simply because I wanted a change of scenery. Or King Crimson’s “Starless”, aside from being the single most beautiful piece ever, reminding me of the times I’d pull into the Career Center parking lot with the bone-crushing finale screaming out my windows.

A couple more thoughts on music: first, Sigur Rós. I’ve already name-dropped them a couple times in this entry, but now I’ll elaborate: Ágætis byrjun is a fucking masterpiece. Someone on the Web wrote, “How perversely ironic that only Icelanders have found a way to pack a winters’ worth of radiant warmth onto five inches of plastic.” Oh, it’s so amazing. “Warm” is precisely the right adjective. Also “beautiful”, “uplifting”, and lots of other superlatives that I might have already used. It’s one of those things, like “Starless”, that when I try to think of how to describe how it affects me, words come up utterly short. I mean, this is stuff that makes my heart skip beats, especially when combined with the emotional havoc that I’ve been going through. It all sounds like pretentious hyperbole, but it’s not.

Second, music addiction: a fascinating topic and one that, perhaps, might be applied to me in the future. A few sample posts on

There are things I want to do while I’m still young, and music just isn’t as important to me now. In fact, I’ve realized that my music collection is an enormous distraction from what really is important to me.
— “Mindgrind”

Hehe. I have been thinking the exact same thoughts lately. There is a lot that I want to do while I am still young, and having 3000 LPs and 900 CDs sitting around in my apartment (and my parents’ basement) is not only a pain in the ass but also a great psychological weight. Nothing to keep your collector’s instinct flaming than having two bookcases full of LPs and crates and stacks lying around. Not only are they hard to move around, but every time I settle down to do stuff, they wink and beckon and next thing you know, I’m on Gnosis and eBay and doing the rounds once more — finding out about groups and musicians, buying, selling, etc etc.

I’m pretty sure I would be kicking myself if I sold off a bunch of stuff, but I almost see this as an all-or-nothing type of deal. If I sell a few but keep a bunch of others, I will be forever lamenting the good stuff I sold. If I sell it all and throw myself whole-heartedly into whatever else I want/need to be doing (in my case is getting full-time into animation and other creative pursuits and also circumnavigating the globe either on foot or on bicycle, for starters), then I will just get rid of the emotional baggage that comes with having a collection as well. And no lost time sifting through the stacks picking stuff to listen to. It’s almost a habit I’d be breaking. In Alan Zweig’s amazing documentary “Vinyl”, the only happy guy in the whole film is a guy who is a hardcore collector, who sold thousands of LPs (his entire collection) and bought himself a horse.

So, as more packages arrive in my PO Box of CDs and vinyl, I am thinking the same thoughts. My cop-out solution is to store it all and come back to it later. Though, selling it all would finance all the ventures I only think about but never end up doing. It’s a tough choice. A friend of mine recently got rid of all his CDs and records (and he was a pretty rabid collector). He said “I’m tired of just listening to other people’s music without contributing”. He bought himself music and recording gear with the money and hasn’t looked back — he is the happiest and most confident I have ever seen him in the years I have known him. So, it’s food for thought.

Of course, since I have been at this for about 10 years, it is a hard habit to break. So it’s something I will probably continue to struggle with until I come to some sort of consensus.
— Piotr D.

Exactly. It’s weighing me down so much it’s like an addiction for me. I can’t stop buying CD’s. There’s so much beautiful music out there and I have to have it all. The only way to stop this is to cut myself off completely. Addictions need extreme measures.

Hearing new music used to make me feel great. Knowing there were CD’s coming in the mail any day would put me in such a great mood. Just the anticipation would get me high. All that’s over now. It’s as if my hobby has taken over. I no longer feel the excitement of waiting for packages of CD’s to arrive and hearing new music. It’s time to move on.
— “Mindgrind”

Fascinating thoughts. I never considered them before. Perhaps there will come a time when music has become too dominant in my life, when I no longer feel the excitement of opening up a new CD. I hope not, but should the time come, I hope that I will have enough strength to dump it all and move on, as this Mindgrind character is doing. It’s a very admirable thing, I think, to part with something to care about so much in the hopes that the end result will be much improved. And it has a lot of parallels to a certain ordeal I’m going through right now… hmm.

but I never want to fear anything that I say
and I never want to stop you
or keep you from play
and I never never never never ever
want to run away
from my own life

one day (when there’s fairer weather)
one day (when you feel much better)
one day soon (when it’s so much clearer)
one day soon
none of this will matter

Grey Eye Glances, “One Day Soon”

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