Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Through a Vast Crystal Sphere Presents: History of Chillout vols. 2 & 3 (1959-1963)

Compilation (various artist)



It's been theorized that the universe exists in two complimentary states. While we as humans are all acutely aware of the lives we are living, some metaphysicists argue that there is actually an infinite field of invisible energy that bonds everything in the universe together. Whether this is the push/ pull of subatomic particles, or something even more esoteric as described in certain sacred texts, has yet to be completely determined, but the general idea is the same: we are all inexorably linked to one another.

There's an episode from one of the later seasons of the TV show The Sopranos where Tony is recovering from an assassination attempt and becomes fixated on an Ojibwa koan on the hospital wall that reads: “Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind carries me across the sky.” Now whether this is actual Indian wisdom or just something thought up by the show's writers I'm uncertain of, but nevertheless when I reflect on the words they offer me great comfort.  To put it another way, it's reassuring to me to feel that in this chaotic and seemingly disconnected world, that there may actually be a unifying force acting as a mechanism to advance and guide us.


To some degree the concept defies semantics, or any religion vs. science arguments. Whether one is a proponent of the big bang theory or of intelligent design, the idea of a unified transcendental force that comprises the universe can still be applied. But, the question may arise, how does any of this apply to me? To what end does the interconnectedness of the universe affect my life?

Well, I am no guru or prophet, but I can offer you the benefit of my own personal, subjective analysis. I do believe that the interconnectedness between us is tangible in the way we relate to ourselves and to one another. There exists within each of us defining characteristics that make us human. I'm not talking about the ability to walk upright or to utilize our opposable thumbs, but rather that which can be defined in terms of feelings or emotional reactions-- basically the mid- to upper-echelon stuff found in Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs.


I'll go out on a limb and venture that there is not a person living amongst us who does not in some way crave love, attention or recognition, or who does not feel pain and heartache when confronted with a significant loss. When we express our own true feelings and emotional reactions with one another through conversation, human bonds (or friendships) are formed, and we find that in reality we not too dissimilar from one another.

But to extrapolate this connection to a greater amount of people requires a bit more work. Thankfully in today's world, inventions such as radio, television and the internet have made it possible to relay a message to thousands or even millions of individuals at once. Let us put aside for a minute the potential negatives of such mediums (I speak here essentially of propaganda, which is always driven by those most human of characteristics: greed and fear) and focus on the benefits. Messages of positivity and healing can now be broadcast all over the world, and potentially reach those that stand to benefit from them the most.

In case you were wondering what any of this has to do with a series of CDs called The History of Chillout, think back and try to consider what I discussed earlier in both my previous post and this one. Great music, as with any art form, has the power to reach people if they can connect with the message.

Whether the medium is broadcast in real time or pre-recorded makes little difference generally speaking, so long as it can be clearly interpreted. The goal here with this set was simply to utilize the greatest information medium known to mankind-- the internet-- to deliver a musical message of love, introspection, relaxation and positive thought.

The message itself can be expressly verbalized or concealed in a melody. For instance, those of you who listened to disc one may have noticed a lyrical theme of heartache and loneliness amongst the few vocal tracks that were included. While this will not be the case with most of these volumes, I thought it a good idea to include these songs, simply because someone out there may perhaps find them to be therapeutic.

Having dealt with these issues a bit over the past year or so, I took solace in hearing cuts like these, because they told me I was not alone in the universe when it came to feeling like this. If such a great, influential artist as Frank Sinatra, who had all the riches and fame life had to offer, could still sing a song like "Can't We Be Friends?" with total sincerity, then it's no longer just my problem.

Do you know people who refer to certain records as their "friends"? Well that's really not so strange. The recording artists are simply taking on the role of friends by doing what any good friend would do.


But the music itself can possess a message, and for that reason several of these cuts are instrumentals. While what the composers were trying to say might not be outwardly stated, I believe it's easy enough to pick up on just based on the mood, the chord changes and the tempo. It's no different than looking at a painting really, and hopefully you will agree that these compilations provide fine accompaniment for appreciating other forms of art, including of course nature's own splendor.


So please, relax and enjoy these recordings, and hopefully even make friends with a few of them!

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