of explosions & hand-clapping

Ignoring all things love and red roses related, here’s something that I’m actually looking forward to. And you’re right, it doesn’t involve dating, relationships or over-priced trinkets.

Although I just might fall in love with anyone who somehow, makes it possible for me to watch them perform live again.

Need some cheer? Watch this. It hasn’t failed to make me smile… even after the 5th repeat.

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i’m a junkie. now hit me.

Ever had the ‘chills’ when you listened to a song?

Well, it seems like music could quite possibly function as a drug for some people. In a recent study published by Nature Neuroscience, they found that music can increase the dopamine levels in your brain (like how you feel after having that delicious dessert you’d been craving for) and certain tracks – from classical to rock – actually causes you to feel that wonderful ‘shiver’ down your spine.

In the study conducted with 26 individuals, their emotional arousal (monitored via a brain thing-a-majig… not anything else!) was documented and their top 40 hits can be found here.

I’m not surprised that some of my all-time top bands were on the list. And at the same time, pleased that these scientists have a wonderfully diverse playlist.

Yes, I am a music junkie. And now we know why. Take a listen to some of my personal favourites.

1. Lamb – Angelica (electronic)

2. Explosions In The Sky – First Breath After Coma (post-rock)


3. Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick (rock)


4. Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake (classical)


5. Ennio Morricone (Film score for Kill Bill)


6. Steve Vai – Beethoven’s 5th (rock/metal)


7. Tiesto – Adagio For Strings (trance)


8. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond (rock)


9. Dave Matthews Band – #34 (rock)


10. John Williams – Across The Stars (film score for Star Wars)


*

When I think about how music has the power to cause such reactions in people… is a wonder then, that the importance of harnessing this power to create dreams becomes all the more important to me, and what I do?

Dream Maker… you know what makes people tick. Cause me to hear that heartbeat – yours and the people’s – and to create landscapes upon which they too, can paint their own visions for tomorrow.

shuffle 25

This is going to be self-indulgent. But then, when is a post here not?

So here goes.

Inspired by a friend’s post, I put my iPod on shuffle mode and patiently listed out the first 25 tracks that came on. The Hubby has always gone on about how playing music on shuffle is the best way to explore your own person music archive but I never did listen to him. I’m quite particular about what I wanted to hear, depending on my mood and what I’m doing then. But! I have to admit… this little exercise brought back some interest in the other 75 gigabytes of music that I don’t regularly listen to, but happily tote around with me every single day of my life.

That said… here’s my 25 tracks. And the thoughts that went through my head as I listened to them.

01. River by Madeleine Peyroux (oooh, nice. Why haven’t I been picking this album out to listen to? It’s almost perfect in every way for my midnight time alone…)

02. Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead (classic band alert)

03. Space by Spiritualized (another amazing band. Grew up listening to them… still do actually… erm, both the growing up and listening…)

04. There’s No Home For You Here by The White Stripes (listened for a while, then promptly forgot… sorry White Stripes fans)

05. I’ll Be Your Pot Of Coffee by David Knight

06. The Love Of Richard Nixon by Manic Street Preachers (who could forget this early punk band? Taboo album titles, a missing member… just another band whose every album I owned with such pride back then)

07. Voicething by Goldfrapp (I enjoy listening to them while running. Hmm…)

08. High & Dry by Jamie Cullum (which is actually a cover of Radiohead’s classic)

09. Ladies Of The New Century by Mum (a band the Hubby introduced, which I fell in love with)

10. Robot by The Futureheads (I be honest… I not listened to them… yet)

11. The Best Of My Love by the Eagles (vintage no? What does that say about me?)

12. The Hollow Earth by Thom Yorke (my love and passion for Radiohead is showing a little too much)

13. Laid by 1969 (cover of a James’ classic, and a band that refired 2009 for me, reminding me to live with a little passion)

14. Polmont On My Mind by Glasvegas (a band, which if you haven’t listened to yet, you must! Worth your ear-time. And the gorgeous internet landing page is beautiful…)

15. Helter Skelter by U2 (classic cover by a classic band of another iconic group – the Beatles)

16. Bird Song Intro by Florence & The Machines (barely a song really, at 1:42 seconds… loved watching this band live)

17. Know Who You Are At Every Age by Cocteau Twins (gosh… we’re really going down memory lane here. This band accompanied me throughout my teenage years… I remember smoke-lit nights writing and listening to their music)

18. Fragments by Manic Street Preachers (I’m starting to see a pattern here… with the music that I have in my iPod)

19. Lasted In Different View by Yasushi Yoshida (beautiful instrumental music, fanstastic for late night pondering)

20. In The City by the Eagles (oddly, I hardly listen to this band much now. Maybe it’s a sign)

21. Halo/Walking On Sunshine by the Glee Cast (embarrassing… I am a closet Glee fan. I can’t help it. I love watching how they do the covers and mash-ups. No excuses…)

22. Don’t Be Afraid, You Have Just Got Your Eyes Closed by Mum

23. Amsterdam by Coldplay (needs no introduction, really)

24. Catastrophe And The Cure by Explosions In The Sky (one of the ultimate bands to watch live. Ever. I love.adore. them and am weirdly thrilled I’m nearly ending the list with this spectacular track)

25. A Three-Legged Workhorse by This Will Destroy You (another awesome track, awesome band… and awesome way to to end this very dull and inconsequential list)

 

Coolest bit to this entire exercise? I’ve begun listening to my iPod on shuffle. It’s… liberating. And just like watching MTV, I hang around waiting to see what pops up next. A little rainbow moment in my constant colour-shifting world.

So what is your shuffle 25?

lights out asia

eyeslikebromtide22

When I first played this album, my heart leaped out of my throat. Darn it, I’d accidentally set the volume on maximum (whilst loading) and I couldn’t grab my headphones off faster. But once I set the volume at a comfortable level, I found this band just so good. I’m still enjoying instrumentals a whole lot and though there are tracks in Eyes Like Brontide that feature singing, it’s minimal. The vocals again, are used as instruments themselves, layered on top of the music to add a thought against the backdrop of tidal, emotional melodies.

(As I write this, there is a man outside my house, shouting himself hoarse and it sounds like he’s crying. I am resisting the urge to look out because I fear what I’d see. A woman has just joined in the argument and a loud object has just crashed to the ground… At the risk of sounding heartless, I have to say that the commotion somehow doesn’t detract from the music at all.)

Lights Out Asia naturally mixes what I love about dream rock, ambient sounds, cinematic soundtracks (I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard them on CSI’s episode after Warrick died, for instance) and takes it somewhere out of space into the far-off galaxies. Narratives – a common thing I find in a lot of post-rock music – are plenty but tasteful. The music envelopes you wholly but thankfully, doesn’t forget to let you breathe.

I especially loved Six Points of Fire and Psiu! Puxa! because interestingly, I connected with the emotional depth channeled in those songs. That’s the thing about music. There are bands we listen to for fun, and bands we find that regardless of space, time and age, we return to because they are somehow, significant. Explosions in the Sky is one such awesome band and I have a feeling, Lights Out Asia will be another.

For further reading and a better description, read Sputnik Music’s review here.