sound memories

what would the soundtrack to your life sound like?

for the past nth years i'd thought about this, maybe dating back to when i was 12 or 13. and every ten years or so, the soundtrack changed. it's a given, of course, with growth comes change and vice versa. the soundtracks went from music consisting of bands playing your standard instruments to electronic/digital with a mash of different stuff in between to even more diverse music now.

i grew up listening to the beatles, abba, the jackson five, michael jackson... but at 13, when angst started to creep in, i gravitated towards things that expressed and helped relieve that angst for me. this was my punk/heavy metal/rock stage. i hate to say i was an angry 13 year old and this kind of music was my release because how clich√© is that, but i was. and when you're 13, you're also treading on dense waters, trying to figure out who you are, where you belong... i was listening to guns n' roses, skid row, and some riot grrrl stuff. that eventually lead to the alternative music phase like nirvana, pearl jam, alice in chains... somewhere in the midst of all this was sonic youth, the beastie boys, red hot chili peppers, a tribe called quest... remember the first ever tibetan freedom concert at golden gate park in san francisco? i was there. and all the bands i wanted to see were there, too. i think that's when i might have fallen in love with san francisco. this was in 1996.

at 19, i went through my first real heartbreak and all i listened to for a very long time, and even to this day, was portishead. this paved way for my love of electronic music. i had massive attack, tricky and zero 7 take turns rotating so my portishead cds wouldn't wear out. somewhere around this time was when i also really got into jazz greats, like billie holiday, john coltrane, miles davis... then the soundtrack just blossomed into and encompassed all kinds of music, even country! no, not billy ray cyrus country, but more like hank williams country.

in my mid-20s, i met and fell in love with an experimental musician who exposed me to the likes of john cage, iannis xenakis, and pretty much any noise, more electronic, and some ambient music. this is what made me appreciate the sound of silence, but hate it at the same time. i will always remember a concert we attended where the music was composed of two hours of silence, with maybe the sound of a pin dropping every 30 minutes. or maybe they were droplets of water, who knows? i was open to the experience and stayed patient (because that's what i do for love. ha!), but i didn't enjoy it much. the exposure to all of this, however, opened me up to so many different kinds of sounds, allowing me to appreciate music in all its form, how ever they may be composed, with what ever media. this was when i found and fell in love with boards of canada and an even greater appreciation for electronic/downtempo/post rock. although this is what my playlists have been consisting of the past few years, it doesn't diminish the love i have for all else that came before it.

so as i type this while listening to my playlist on soundcloud, i think about the music that i've been exposed to, inspired by, healed by, contributed to the person i am today, etc. i wonder what my soundtrack would be like now. i tried to make a list in my head, but it's becoming more difficult as the years pass. there were and still are so much good and progressive sounds out there that i wouldn't know where to start. one thing i wish i'd done, though, is keeping the cds/cassettes/lists i made of the soundtracks of the past years, because, what better piece of evidence is telling of a person's experiences than the music that made them feel alive, or maybe perhaps, lived within them?