“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo
That was the quote i chose to commemorate my high school life in my grade 12 yearbook. I find this quote just as prevalent in my life now as ever before. It’s the soundtrack to our lives. The first 3 chords of a song can take you back, back to that specific feeling you had in that specific moment when you were creating that specific memory. Those sounds are forever cataloged in our subconscious just waiting for that random moment in a store, in the car or at work to show up and bring us back.
10 years later so much about myself has changed, but not my thirst for new audible pleasures. Sure my tastes have changed. I now hunger for the discovery of new and exciting sounds, and also the appreciation of notable (and unnotable) relics. Since music is such an important piece of my life, I’ll probably be frequently attaching songs to my updates, just to help enhance their quality a little bit. So, since music will also be a part of this blog, I’m going to use this time to briefly share music’s impact on my life, and tomorrow I’ll leave you with some new artists that have kept me drooling for more this last year.
Music was always important as a child growing up. From Fred Penner (who I met!!!) to Raffi, Charlotte Diamond to Sharon, Lois and Bram (which i missed seeing in person due to a stomach bug! haha) these were some of the artists available to a 3-5 year old child. My parent’s tastes in music had a big influence on what I listened to as well. I remember road trips with Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits, Bony M and Garth Brooks when my mom was around. When she wasn’t is when the AC/DC, Sabbath, Floyd and Zeppelin among others that my Dad favored, made its appearance. Getting older I gained an appreciation for “Weird Al” Yankovic and his comedic polka stylings, which, surprisingly, launched me into the world of “Alternative Music.” It was this very point in my life I would never be the same.
I remember it well, the summer of ’97. That summer we not only took a road trip to Terrace, BC to visit family, not only did we head south to Disneyland to visit Mickey, this was the summer my musical eyes opened. I remember it well, it started with 2 bands. Our Lady Peace and Moist. 2 Canadian “Alternative” artists (who, ironically, can now be frequently heard on the adult contemporary & classic rock stations) that had a sound i had never heard before, and loved. It was louder than anything I had heard before (don’t worry, i soon discovered much LOUDER music, haha,) my parents hated it, and it was readily available on the radio!!! When we weren’t traveling or enjoying usual summer activities (swim lessons, parks, etc) my time was spent either i my room, or in the tent i set up on the back patio, with my radio and a stack of discarded cassette tapes my mom used to give away for promotional use of products she sold. After carefully placing scotch tape in the right spots, so I could successfully record over the voices on the cassette, i would anxiously sit there glued to the radio, waiting for the opportunity to press “record” so I could capture this music i was slowly discovering. This is when i discovered classics like Beck, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Smashing Pumpkins or flashes in the pan like Veruca Salt, Poe and Bush “X.” There was even some amazing local talent like Age of Electric, Zuckerbaby and Econoline Crush. This is when I started to connect to music emotionally. Creating important ties to it and constantly hungered for continuous exposure to it.
Then along came those “rebellious” high school years. Back in those days, the gleeful strums of “punk” and “metal” resonated deeply with me. As wonderful as the music was as it carried me through most of my high school years, it was the sense of community I found at the later part of those years, that I grew very attached to. Sharing live musical experiences in small intimate halls and basements with close friends and new acquaintances was a highlight, or also the gleeful excitement when a favorite artist released their latest. I’m also proud to say, that some of the closest friends of my whole life came from these experiences. The 3 or so years that followed music was the central point of my social life. These were the days of spending every afternoon & evening driving around the city just as an excuse to listen to, and sing along with, artists like Sublime, Incubus, Bob Marley, Rancid, etc. Laying out under the stars to whatever “slow” song that could be justified as “stargazing music.” The days of concerts twice a week and used CD shopping (saving money building the CD collection, so concert tickets could be afforded.) This was living (hence the many videos.)
New music had felt uneventful to me for a good 5 or so years, and although every year I’d discover a few new artists I found exciting, most of my musical discoveries involved traveling to the past. Big Band to Glam Rock, Industrial to Outlaw Country and the smokey crooners to Bruce Haack. These are the times when the CD collection took a backseat, and i started to discover the joy of VINYL RECORDS! There’s something about the low hiss and crackle over the speakers, the large cover art, or maybe the overall tangible nostalgia of them that completely captivated me. That collection still sits with me, and periodically gets added to when the occasion calls for it.
Then in 2009, new music started to twist for me. The sounds I once found too obscure, became catchy and rhythmic. The radio hits I once ignored, soon had artistic integrity and became playlist staples. I discovered an appreciation for music that seemed to drop boundaries and become transcendent. I am now again doe-eyed in a world of art that I was once too jaded to pay full attention to. Inspired artists like WU LYF, Tuneyards, Yeasayer and Delorean, to name a small small few, brought flavour, variety and excitement to my musical catalog. Artists that aren’t afraid to showcase their love for varied genres, world cultures, lifestyles and unique instruments is what now inspires my ears.
Combined with this love of progressive new artists, comes a new love for Electronic music, which has fully blossomed in the last year. I’ve always been a fan and an indulger, but for some reason a wide variety of samples, beats, tempos and ambiance has new meaning for me. It connects somewhere deep and sends me to other places. I now see how a computer, synthesizer or musical samples can take just as much talent (and sometimes more) to create beautiful music, as Eric Clapton has. Because isn’t the real purpose of music to evoke that special somethign in us, no matter what the genre or intrument.
Hope that you’ve all thoroughly enjoyed this homage to my musical time line. It was a “just for fun” trip down memory lane, and still provides an important lesson. No matter what is going on in the world, be it political, social or whatever, never lose sight of the gifts that people have to share with the world, and always remember to stop and “smell” them. These are the gifts that create beauty, function, or insight to our planet, and every one of us does have something to offer. Take the time to not just appreciate them, but also remember to keep sharing your own and, as always, keep singing and dancing like nobody’s watching!