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What is there to say about the intangible art that is music? Well according to our trusted Wikipedia, “Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch, rhythm, and dynamics,” but we know that’s only half the story. There is an unspoken inner connection between music and the spirit. Music, said Arnold Bennett, is “a language which the soul alone understands but which the soul can never translate.” Richter described music as “the poetry of the air.” Tolstoy called it “the shorthand of emotion.” Words are the language of the mind but music is the language of the soul.
Litro 136 – Music – opens with an interview with bestselling author Jonathan Coe, whose work has often been notable for its exploration of the intersection between music and literature. Coe is also a musician, and it’s an interest that shows in his written work. As he says in his interview, “If the most beautiful tune in the world was set to the blandest and stupidest words, it wouldn’t bother me very much”.
In When Time Slows Down, Rab Ferguson explores the hold that music can have over us, and the connections that it makes with the key moments in our lives. There can be something magical in the way it controls and moves us. Then Sean Beaudoin dissects the lifespan of the aspiring musician in Steve-O in Seven Movements, as he follows his protagonist from anarchic teenage rebellion to an altogether milder middle age. Beaudoin has rock credentials of his own, as the author of Young Adult rock novel Wise Young Fool. His reimagining of the rock’n’roll lifestyle rings eerily true.
Babak Ganjei’s cartoon Twenty-One Years Since Nevermind provides the heart of the issue, as he illustrates the ongoing influence of one of the most celebrated rock bands of all time. Then Thomas Kearnes turns the spotlight on Hannah Montana in Miley Cyrus Ruined My Sex Life. In MAAM – Mothers Against Allowing Miley – Kearnes has created a movement that sounds so realistic it might even already exist. Finally, we have Werner Herzog Gets Shot by Neil Schiller, in which a young music journalist unexpectedly returns to his Germanic roots, thanks to the music of an undiscovered band.
If there’s one thing these stories have in common, it’s the power of music to connect and transport, whether it is being listened to or performed. There is nothing more powerful or more seductive than music and as a singer, producer and DJ, the joy that music brings is something that I have devoted my life to.