Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kaleidoscope World

Does hearing a particular song ever twirl you around by the heels, throwing you and your world view off kilter, revealing another dimension to existence? Of course. In that way, many songs act as a form of transport, refracting not only the sounds in our ears and the light before our eyes, but our very thinking in an unexpected and unique fashion, moving us beyond our usual perspective.
I have had kaleidoscopic (or kaleidophonic?) experiences with a number of the songs in this playlist, but let me recount just one, the so-called “Sukiyaki Song,” as an example:
I was riding alone with my father in the family car, circa 1963, at about age 7 or 8, on our way to the Perry County Golf Course, when I first heard “Sukiyaki” (or “Ue o Muite” by Kyu Sakamoto). Even now, 50 years later, I recall how impressed I was by the arrangement, by the singer’s sweet voice and amazing whistling, and by his words, in a language I had never heard:
Ue o muite arukou
Namida ga kobore naiyouni
Omoidasu harunohi
Hitoribotchi no yoru….
While I couldn’t understand the lyrics, hearing such a song, one that was both “foreign” and yet familiar at the same time, startled me — turning my world upside down, a fact that might be reflected in me eventually residing in Japan for 17 years, and in the way that the Sukiyaki melody has stayed with me (and with millions of other listeners) all these years.
Other songs in this set provide the listener with the same sort of exhilaration. Reach into the depths of Jeff Buckley’s passion as he presents the Cohen classic “Hallelujah” or imbibe the elegaic beauty of Paul Desmond’s alto sax in the “Theme from ‘Black Orpheus’,” and contemplate the impact that these songs have had on listeners since their release. Ride on the melodic waves created between Niladri Kumar’s sitar strokes and Talvin Singh’s beats in “River” or on the chanting pulse of The Congos mystical “Congoman,” and try not to be moved! Then sing along with Francis Magalona in “Kaleidoscope World,” and see if you don’t feel part of the Big Picture.
Whether by inciting an “aha” moment, initiating a series of inescapable body gyrations, or simply giving a person pause from the daily routine, many a song has such potential. That’s the bewildering power of music.
Check out this varied set, and see if you agree. And as always, enjoy!

This post first appeared as Daddy Peet Expresso #25 on Hear the music at this mixcloud site.


Concusfused said...

Hi Brad! I was looking through the classes blog list when I noticed your blog post! And now I am listening to those songs that are always throwing me off my curve. Its amazing how one associates certain things (music in this case) with a particular experience and how just reliving a part of that experience brings new meaning into life!

The first such example that comes to my mind is the deodorant I used in high school, haha. Whenever I come across that smell these days, I go on a roll of the peaks of high school! Thanks for reminding me of pleasant things :)

Brad Blackstone said...

Thank you, Dhanya, for checking out my blog and this post :)

Deodorant, huh?

Yes, I've read where the memory for smells is one of the strongest. I can still remember the smell of a girl's perfume when she and I both skipped a day of school back in my last year of high school. Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me of some good classics and some new tips. "Kaleidoscope world" - what a song! I love it.

The first time I heard Alphavilles "Forever Young" I feel in love with music. Not sure how my mom feels about my 20 000 almost legal downloads though :)

Renick Lee said...

Hi Brad, awesome playlist! Very varied in terms of genres which is nice. A song that did something similar for me that sukiyaki did for you can be found here :
I'm not sure if you would agree but I thought the styles were similar and sadly like Kyu, the singer has passed on too.
Really excited to share and discuss music in the future, Black orpheus theme reminds me of Lee Ritenour, Kaleidoscope world gives me a Blink 182 meets Richie Kotzen feel (I think you would like Kotzen's music by the way) and River had nuances of hip hop at the start (to me at least), once the sitar solo kicked I could only picture one thing, "bollywood sci-fi".
There is a cover of "hallelujah" which I find the most different from the rest thus far:
Hope you like it.

Renick Lee said...

I forgot to ask, are you very into world music?

Brad Blackstone said...

I'm into music of all sorts, Renick.

KC Chan said...
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