Friday, 30 March 2007

Until a few years ago I listened many hours a day to radio. I knew where and when what programs were aired and I tried to find out what good programs I missed. Then I began to realise that much of what I heard did not really interest me any longer and that much of the excitement, that started me listening to radio, was gone. I think that first of all it is the radio that changed: too much mainstream shows, too much formats, too little surprises. But I had changed too, of course.
For a while the Internet was an alternative: I listened to exotic radio stations, podcasts and to a lot of old time radio shows, that I traded with people or downloaded. And there was far more than I ever realised: especially the American sci-fi radio shows, like X-1 and Dimension X, brought me all the pleasure and excitement that I had missed for many years in the Dutch radio.
But now, again, I am starting to feel that there is something missing. I can‘t find enough exciting or interesting spoken word to fill my day! I know there must be enough great radio shows and podcasts, but somehow I cannot organise things (and myself) in such a way that my days are filled with the stuff I really want to hear. I am not a programmer, but today I imagined that it must be possible to write software that can fulfil my wishes.
This is what I imagine: a site that offers links to all available radio streams, downloads, podcasts, documentaries, interviews, audio books and whatever. You pay a monthly fee to subscribe and then you can create a 24 hours menu out of all available audio. Very much like Pandora works. But Pandora plays songs, I want spoken word. But I like the Pandora formula, and I cannot imagine why this should not also be possible with spoken word.
Maybe this already exists. If you happen to know so, please be so kind to inform me.
Here are examples of the kind of spoken word that I like to listen to. It is one of my favourite podcasts, the Psychedelic Salon. (If you want to listen to an episode, please try #15 or an episode with Terence McKenna!) Reading this Soundtrack may give you the impression that music is my only interest, but actually I spend more time on the Mysteries of Life, or whatever you call it, than on music.
In essence there is no difference between music and other arts: all art is an expression of the deeper parts of ourselves. And good art brings the listener/viewer in contact with the same deeper layers as the artist worked from. The artist and the art-consumer (sorry, my English fails here) are in essence One, and good art brings people together and closer to themselves.
Of course, many art is superficial. And much of the music featured in this Soundtrack is certainly not a good example of what I am talking about today. But even bad art, and often especially bad art, reminds me of the ideas expressed here. If I hear a song in which an uninspired singer sings cliché lyrics about love, it is often easier for me to listen to these songs as pure information. Or even as a teaching from Life itself. So many songs, that I used to take for granted, have become bottomless sources of wisdom since my ears were opened a few years ago. All the information that I had been searching in vain in esoteric and religious books, is in the pop songs that I already knew, but never really listened to.
Here is a text that expresses this idea perfectly:

I’m hearing images, I’m seeing songs
No poet has ever painted
Voices call out to me, straight to my heart
So strange yet we’re so well acquainted
I let the music speak, with no restraints
I let my feelings take over
Carry my soul away into the world
Where beauty meets the darkness of the day

Where my mind is like an open window
Where the high and healing winds blow
From my shallow sleep the sounds awake me
I let them take me
(Let them wake me, let them now, let them take me)

Let it be a joke
Let it be a smile
Let it be a farce if it makes me laugh for a little while
Let it be a tear
Let it be a sigh
Coming from a heart, speaking to a heart, let it be a cry

Some streets are emptiness, dry leaves of autumn
Rustling down an old alley
And in the dead of night I find myself
A blind man in some ancient valley
I let the music speak, leading me gently
Urging me like a lover
Leading me all the way
Into a place
Where beauty will defeat the darkest day

Where I’m one with every grand illusion
No disturbance, no intrusion
Where I let the wistful sounds seduce me
I let them use me
(All illusion, no disturbance, no intrusion)

Let it be a joke
Let it be a smile
Let it be a farce if it makes me laugh for a little while
Let it be a tear
Let it be a sigh
Coming from a heart, speaking to a heart, let it be a cry

Let it be a tear
Let it be a sigh
Coming from a heart, speaking to a heart, let it be a cry

Let it be the joy of each new sunrise
Or the moment when a day dies
I surrender without reservation
No explanations
No questions why
I take it to me and let it flow through me
Yes, I let the music speak
I let the music speak

This is not a Sufi poem or a modern translation from a psalm, but a song from ABBA. And you can take any love song that any mainstream radio station plays 24 hours a day: the more superficial and cliché the lyrics seem, the more they also have this esoteric meaning.
Hm, this is the kind of rant that I will try to spare you from in the next episodes of this Soundtrack. But on the other hand, it is not for nothing called the Soundtrack of MY life.
Here is a song that to my ears is the perfect soundtrack to an awakening.