‘If you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves.’ - Tibetan saying
I am convinced that we can use music right now. More specifically music that is good for the heart, compassionate and humane. I propose that we gather such music together in this thread. The task is not quite simple, as it should not be about faith-based music or wellness or New Age. Nor about music that feels superficially cuddly without having a deeper impact. But music of all suitable genres, presumably made with the intention of touching the listeners’ hearts in a positive way.
With the albums I suggest here, intuition has guided me: “Does the album positively touch my heart?” “Can it touch the hearts of others?”
Where you Live
Her breakthrough came after she filled the stage twice at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at London’s Wembley Stadium in June 1988. The hard drive of Stevie Wonder’s synclavier was missing and he decided at the last minute not to go on stage. So Tracy Chapman stepped in - alone with her guitar. Later that year she toured the world with Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour for Amnesty International. Aside from being a brilliant singer songwriter she is an activist for social and political projects. She released her album ‘Where you Live’ in 2005.
Wait for Me
We know Moby as a gifted electronic musician. His album ‘Play’ which was released in 1999 sold over 10 million copies. For this album, we can judge the music by the cover. The little guy with antennas on his head looking at the moon overhead. Plus the text underneath ‘wait for me.’ Is he longing? Is he lonely? Is he lost? Is he just waiting? Is there loss coming? Are his friends about to take off into space? It’s easy to feel compassion for him.
‘Wanderer’ is the tenth Cat Power album - released in 2018. She recorded her seventh album ‘The Greatest’ in Memphis with soul legends like Mabon “Teenie” Hodges. She names blues, old soul music, British rock ‘n’ roll, hymns and gospel music as influences on her. However, she played her early improvisational concerts in the free jazz and experimental music scene of New York in the nineties. On ‘Wanderer’ we hear her lush voice accompanied by simple yet complex arrangements. Simple in instrumentation complex in rhythm and spatial structure. Lana del Rey lends her voice for the song ‘Woman’.
The Chopin Project
It takes courage to attempt an album as a contemporary artist with ones own compositions alongside the works of a man like Chopin. Electronic artist Arnalds, who hails from Iceland, pulled it off. He works with pianist Alice Sara Ott and a string quintet. The album offers us a coherent experience that not just strings together pieces, but blends the contemporary with the classic.
Symphony No. 4
Carlo Maria Giulini
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Brahms’s Symphony No. 4 was his last. It has a an almost inexhaustible depth to it. There are a number of legendary recordings of this symphony. Furtwängler, Kleiber, Levine all conducted it in a way that warrants a listen. The recommendation here is a performance conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is able to guide the orchestra to warmth and humanness. It is easy to let this concert touch our hearts. Yes, there is sadness too, maybe even darkness. But we are not plunged into it and neither are we left alone.
The Royal Albert Hall Concert
Ludovico Einaudi prefers to be classified as a minimal artist. I would second that choice, as other labels for his work obscure what he is aiming for. At Royal Albert Hall he sits at the piano and is accompanied by a small orchestra. It takes a little bit of time to settle into his reduced melodies and rhythms. And then we can intuit his humanity, his respect and his compassion. From then on time just flies.
I am Greta
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This is the soundtrack of the documentary following Greta Thunberg’s life and efforts. Rebekka Karijord encapsulates all this into beautiful, minimalistic nordic music. The album is a musical approach to Greta’s being, the struggle, the hope. If you listen to just one song, I recommend ‘Fridays for Future’.
I had to sneak in a goth album. It’s my favourite genre. On ‘Automatic’ VNV Nation cast the will for a better future into electronic music. As well as the drive to work towards it. This album doesn’t so much touch the heart as hold out the promise of a better tomorrow.
I’m very curious what we come up with in terms of albums.