2018 November: Inspiration
2018 November Inspiration
Language is cluttered with expressions of rhythm. The pitter patter of footsteps. The punctuated tapping of fingers on glass. The heartbeat. While a lot of writing tends to focus on visual input, sound matters a great deal in how we perceive invisible emotions. Organizing that sound, creating symphonies not chaos, is masterfully handled by talented and skilled musicians. Broadening our exposure to music gives us tools to reframe emotions, and I'd like to share a fantastic resource for exploring new music accompanied by the delightfully human bantering of DJs who definitely enjoy their vices.
Remember the first song you learned all the words to? Remember all those times you were in a crowd of people, and everyone was singing along to the music? Remember what you listened to when you knew that special someone was gone and never coming back? How did you feel? What song do you put on to build your confidence? What's your playlist for when you have to motivate all day long? What's the first band you want to share with someone new whom you care about? Music has its own vocabulary. We use it all the time to inspire and suppress emotions.
I have learned most of my vocabulary by reading. Whether that's news sites, trade publications, fiction and non-fiction books, or museum content hasn't mattered much to me. Unfortunately, finding new music to expand my rhythmic vocabulary has actually grown more difficult with time. When I was a teenager, I discovered music on the radio, from acquaintances, and from performances. When I was in my twenties, I predominately heard new music while out clubbing or with people I met in social settings. Over time, I thought I knew what I liked, but it was invisibly shaped by influencers and marketing. When I started traveling to England and Germany on a regular basis, I found discovered music which had never made it past the curating censorship of mass media and corporate profits. It was amazing! The connections I made between emotions and rhythms and sounds and instruments exploded in numerous directions all at once.
Sadly, hopping continents for music festivals and touristing isn't affordable for everyone. So how would I introduce people to new music, new genres, and new styles of rhythms and sounds? Communion After Dark's long running podcast is the ideal listen for folks who want to explore music from outside of the boundaries of their immediate echo chamber. Ranging from catchy to esoteric, the featured bands and tracks are accompanied by banter from professional DJs who have been plenty on their mind.
Personally, I've probably taken Communion After Dark for granted. I'll burrow deep into YouTube chasing video and audio expression of emotions and feelings, and the PDX, YEG, and VIE crews keep me loaded with things to listen to. Having a starting place helps though, and I remember the look on Little Witch's face the moment she realized who were hanging out with when I was casually talking with Tom and Maus at The Castle. For people around the planet, Communion After Dark is the authority for great bands, and their cult following is enormous. Little Witch isn't the only person starstruck by these music warlocks and witches. I get messages from acquaintances in the UK and Germany letting me whenever I've been mentioned on the show because it's a mark of fame. So Communion After Dark has a lot of street cred and for good reason. For me, someone who experiences music as a rhythmic way of combining emotion and mathematics to express what may be particularly difficult to convey in words, Communion After Dark is a great resource. For folks who have never ventured into the darkness, the DJs keep things light while pouring fuel on the flames with some really great examples of songs and musicians which can lead you to more.
So do it. Plunge into new sounds. Tap out new rhythms. Visualize worlds built on the emotions projected by the music.
The inspiration justifies the investment of time.