What Music Means to Me?

Dir En Grey, 9/1/2006

I was trying to figure out a way to do some housekeeping without just blatantly pouring out a list of unconnected things aside from a glorified version of “what I did this past weekend.” TJ was an inspiration to this solution, so props to his strange list. The irony is here that I’m going to get way more intimate than his little list will ever do to tell us about TJ_han.

Explosions in the Sky, 9/2/2006

I grew up mostly under the traditional, classical school of music, typical to East Asians. Fundamentally I am still heavily influenced by the lifestyle philosophy of my long-time piano teacher, who is this very nice but crazy piano woman that plays her art like…a crazy woman. In retrospect watching the Explosions in the Sky play last night (they were great, by the way) was not as crazy as how this shaggy, 5′ asian woman would pour all that she has upon the baby grand in her house during a usual practice session. Being a stereotypical motherly figure in the Faith she would hang the usual inspirational decorations on the walls of her house where she practices her trade. If you’re unfamiliar with it, don’t let it bother you. What stuck out in my memory after all these years was a plaque that said, simply and exactly as I still remember it today, “Music is the language of the soul.”

It’s a saying derived from the ideas of some dead people a long time ago, indeed, and one can question its worth in biblical truth. Nonetheless being the type of person who would choose to go blind rather than going deaf, if such a morbid selection I must make, I appreciate it. To me it’s not merely just another form of art. It is a very special and unique mode to communicate.

Like a typical, sheltered Asian kid I didn’t really have the freedom to explore music in my youth, especially since creating music wasn’t my forte. What was available to me back in the day was what trickles out from the demoscene in the early 1990s–it was free, easily accessible (being the computer geek that I am), and it related to me much better than pop music. (Even though it was legal, it never bothered me to think along those lines.) And of course, mp3 piracy was barely in its infant stages then. In some way my “starvation” for this mode of expression only worsened in the space of a few years, in which exploded as I enrolled at my alma mater. It’s no coincident that my appreciation for anime turned for the worse at around the same time mp3 piracy took off, as that became the decisive point in my life which the union of the two gave birth to my affection towards anime pop and soundtrack music. The catalyst was me having that kind of phat pipes during that turning point in internet history, at a premium geek school no less.

The marriage of visual and aural culture is partly what drives visual kei and the hard rock bands to their similar heights in popularity to some extent. Seeing Dir En Grey play last Friday was yet another testament to just how far things have come full circle. It was just a shame that the band before and after Diru’s act were way better. Alas, my sense of classicism just doesn’t slice the way popular trends do, sorry to all the fangirls who toughed the nasty tropical storm on the lawn like I did.

At least, it seems my sense of visual art kind of does slice the “popular” way. Being a new owner of Ugetsu Hakua’s Flamboyant will put me in good company.

From my crappy cell cam...

Maybe I’m slowly walking towards the deep end as my blog progress: putting words down to pin down songs and images, but sometimes that’s the only way you can respond to these things, y’know? Nailing fansubbers down was a painful exercise because it pierced egos and people’s mistaken beliefs, even if it may be cathartic. As fun as it could be, I’d rather dance to something much more anointed (and dare I say, progressive?).

3 Responses to “What Music Means to Me?”

  • Os

    I give you mucho credit for sitting through a DeG concert. And yes, I feel similarly about music. I have mine playing at all times and take at least some form of it everywhere with me.

  • omo

    I do that too, take my music with me… but I’m probably a step short of saturating it in my living spaces all the time. Music I feel strongly about tend to get treated with more respect? I listen to them more, too, but there’s a time and place for them. And there’s also a time and place for silence…

  • TheBigN

    Often, it is the absence of music which is more powerful than the music itself. And music is probably something that I will never forsake. It is something that I hope will always be with me, and it does really seem like the language of the soul at times. And then with others, it sounds like souls crying in agony. :3

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