How we see our world, up close and far away how immediate and distant environments communicate complicated feelings and longings, that is what I wish to dig into here.
Past experiences can often seem locked off, consigned to memory’s deep waters until something sharp and true signals it to resurface; a sound, a scent, a feeling,a movement, a building, a skyline, a vibration creating something present and long gone, physical and emotional sensations interweaving through times long ago, in the moment and yet to begin.
Music unlocking the secrets of a time and place specific to each one of us is nothing revelatory, it an essential function of the form that makes it last beyond the moment of inception and release. It can breathe life into an empty space and illuminate our understanding of where we live be it now, then or beyond.
As melting pots of culture, cities contain a myriad, endless stream of sounds and human experience and once we interact with a city and it’s beating heart, it can leave a lasting deep imprint on our imaginations, our souls, our psyches.
So good reader, if you have made it this far you will I hope join me as we explore selected pieces of music that were inspired by – and evoke – modern living, living in the city in all of its facets. Let us delve into the ‘poetics of space’, the possibilities of what city dreams lie within in our ourselves and what in each metropolis inspired their creators so.
Harold Budd & Brian Eno – Above Chiangmai (1980)
From the album ambient 2 – The Plateaux of Mirror, a collaboration between American composer/musician Harold Budd and musical gadfly Brian Eno, released in 1980 through eno’s own obscure records imprint, Above Chiangmai is a brief, treated acoustic piano piece performed by budd, its title no doubt inspired by eno’s own sojourn to thailand for several months in 1979.
A gentle memory whispering over your shoulder, a moment of tenderness, of yearning, of absolute harmony where nothing could harm you, one that remains, never leaves you, a splinter of time lodged in the heart.