Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some favourite music

To whom it may concern:

Music is one of my strongest passions, and there are certain artists and/or songs that are just inexplicably good and have an enormous effect on me. Here I shall list some of my all-time favourite songs, partly in hopes that what I present is unfamiliar to you in some manner.

Django Reinhardt - "September Song"

This song is so warm and's lazy, like a nice Sunday afternoon lounging around with family. Every single time I listen to this version of it (there are several that ol' Django did), I feel some strange sense that I heard this while on some travel to lands faraway...a beautiful time, full of happiness and remarkable joy. Beyond this, I cannot find sufficient words to describe just what the music stirs up within me.

Spiritualized - "Lay It Down Slow"

I've been a huge fan of this band (okay, yeah, J. Spaceman) for nearly ten years now, starting after I first heard the record "Ladies & Gentlemen...We Are Floating In Space." I bought "Let It Come Down" via pre-order (special edition and everything!), which had come out a few months after I graduated high school. In fact, the day I received it in the post, my band at the time had a birthday party to play that night and we all got drunk on some nasty grape-tasting wine and some other junk. Apple flavoured Boone's Farm wine, probably. This one's off "Amazing Grace," but that story was somehow worth telling anyway.

This song, unfortunately, appears to have been used on the season finale of some show called Prison Break. On one hand, great for the exposure, but knowing this somehow cheapens my association with it. Probably just as well, since I mostly think of Old Flame when I hear it. Still, it's a beautiful and delicate song. So fantastic. So Spiritualized. Listen to everything ever recorded under that name. Do it.

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - "A Fine Romance"

I don't recall precisely how I came across this one, but it was the spring of 2006. So many changes were taking place within me and around me during that time, and this song cheered me up on many occasion while I was getting screamed at by unruly customers on the telephone. It's a cute song, and fun to sing Louis' part when I'm feeling particularly outgoing. I can do a fair impersonation of Mr. Armstrong, you see.

The Beatles - "Within You, Without You"

This one, I'm sure, is known to just about everyone on the face of the planet. I don't even know where to begin about how much this song has impacted my life. When I first heard it on Christmas day, aged 17, I thought that maybe it was just some weird effects that they'd whipped up in the studio. I soon learned that there were a lot of Indian instruments present and, while it was cool, I focused my attention and adoration elsewhere. When I was working that terrible call center job, I took a liking to this one much more than ever before. I understood more of the spiritual aspect of the song and got swept up in the mystic qualities of the sweeping, droning music and vocals. I wanted more music like it. This led to Ravi Shankar naturally, and then to Nikhil Banerjee, and on down the line. As I was exploring this, Buddhism and Hinduism became incredibly appealing from a very Western, "How so very strange!" point of view. I soon saw the beauty in it, and loved all of the peace and altruism I was reading about. It fit in so nicely with my views as a Christian, and with my political beliefs. For the longest time, I wanted nothing more than to go to India, grow my hair and beard long, wear a kurta and salwars and whatnot, learn to play Indian classical instruments and spend the rest of my days practicing patience, love, generosity, graciousness, and so on. This is still a dream I hold close to my heart, and I think that I should like to travel to India to provide medical care and explore this fantasy.

All the best,

J.O. Morris

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