Music is the Healing Force of the Universe

November 22 2013

Music is life, life is music. The deeply fascinating thing about music is that so many people make it, that so many people feel compelled to create something and to share it with others, rarely expecting much in return. I am in many ways an introvert but with music I feel part of something, part of humanity. I engage with music every day. I go to record stores and learn from people who have been spending their lives exploring the deepest, most unlikely corners of musical creation. I dig through the bins by myself and wonder what I'll find this time and what hidden gems will pass me by, to be found next time or never. I go out at night and dance for hours, hearing songs created days or decades ago, manipulated by selectors shrouded in darkness, who don't need to be seen by a crowd to accomplish what they are there for, in a crowd of bodies in constant movement, energy levels rising and falling, but an atmosphere, a feeling in place that is eternal. There is no hope of leaving when the music is right, no matter the hour. In the words of Pina Bausch, "Dance, dance or else we are lost."

The voice of Ana Karina said, "Il y a qu'à s'interesser aux choses et les trouver belles." Records are things. Marvelling at the time, the effort, the work put into these acts of creation restores my faith in humanity every time I lose it. With music we connect with the past, the present and the future. There is so much humanity in a record, as you read in the liners notes the names of the individuals involved in the process, the vast majority of them long forgotten, living anonymous lives, yet you have in your hands something that they made, a testament to the fact that they existed and had something to share with the world. The wear on the jacket displays the years of use or lack of use, of care or lack of care. Whose was this, and what did it mean to them? Sometimes you find a message from a lover who made it a gift, and you wonder whether they're still in love, whether they're still alive. The scratches, the dust invade the purity of the grooves, visible and audible. As John Peel said, "Life has surface noise." You'll take this record home, play it for a friend, rock it at a party, listen to it naked in bed with your lover, show it to your children when they want to find out who it is that you are, were.

My sole musical recommendation: listen to Gilles Peterson's Worldwide on BBC6 Music. The man continues to dig around the world for beautiful sounds, whether they were made yesterday or made half a century ago. He taught me that genre is irrelevant if you really care about the music. If you want to hear my own selections, the sounds that I think the world should hear, listen to my intercontinental groove station, Minutes of Funk. You'll find it through @jeandreaux.

Shout out to those who create and innovate. Shout out to those who share creations. Shout out to those who try to really listen. Shout out to all people who have visions.

Space is the place.

Jean Dreaux
[email protected]

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