If you’ve known me long enough I might have at some point talked about my biggest dream of making a movie. A movie that moves anyone who sees it. A sequence of visuals, dreamscapes, sounds and stories melded into artistic perfection. I come across many such movies and am awed by the vision and perfection of each of their execution. Many times their music becomes soundtracks to my life’s everyday moments.
Last week, when scorching summer started to wane to give way to cool breezy fall in New York City, it was to the lilting tunes of Shigeru Umebayashi’s violins that I walked to the gym. It was funny how tropical dark semi-lit alleyways of Hong Kong superimpose on the drizzling Brooklyn sidewalks. The result was a warm heart in a shivering body. Tony Leung’s sharp suits and Maggie Cheung’s brocaded cheongsams lent the whole memory of the track a timeless quality that suitably mellowed me down to a moody brooding mess.
Other times, it is an incongruent loop that gets stuck in the brain. I keep trying to shake it out of my head. I move my head to one side and then the other, hoping it slips out of my ears. But it rides my train of thoughts, stopping at empty western inspired stations. When I am waiting in lines I am Tuco waiting for Blondie. When caught in the rain it is almost always the oddly sinuous flute refrains and unfocused silhouettes. Maybe because the rain knows how to keep tempo. Rain never goes off rhythm or intrudes into the mood.
Once on a road trip, I was driving on a lonely road in Wales long after midnight. It had been at least 30 minutes since I saw a car. I was driving slowly in the middle of the road unconsciously counting dividing lines as they rushed under the hood of the car. I had rolled down the windows, loving the biting wind in my face. When I refocused, the black cocoon of darkness was tinged with a little light. The moon was turning the night a very dark purple. Soon I was a bohemian vineyard owner driving through the night to his soiled Sheeba. The music is not perfect in my head. It has all the scratches of age, the audio quality of cheaply recorded cassettes, and even the crunching snap of the tape recorder clicking shut before you depress the play button.
In music I am searching for a non-existent leitmotif to my life. I am simmering the emotions that I felt when I first heard those notes. They were my links to long lost times, oftens, firsts and onlys.
I notice that my music for my past has a warm quality. There have been Hannah-Barbera -esque moments too. But no crashing crescendos. Interestingly,the only music that reminds me of the future is music with lyrics that I don’t understand. It has a strangely familiar quality under the incomprehensible lyrics. Like a reassuring theme to my actions to unforeseen events.