FEATURE: Memory Tapes: How Music Defines and Shapes



Memory Tapes: 


 How Music Defines and Shapes


UPBRINGING and parental guidance are as key to moulding a human…



as society and the people around them – how they dictate their life and the decisions they make.  I have spoken about music before and how instrumental it is to one’s development. Many of us do not realise how powerful and multi-purpose it can truly be. I find myself, now, in a position where I require guidance and comfort as much as any time in my life – the solitude turning to loneliness. Music is a synthetic form of human contact and unable to tackle the complex maelstrom of emptiness. Loneliness and depression are, in themselves, powerful forces that can immeasurably disrupt and change someone’s life. The lexicon and unquestioning love of music is a remedy that is not being harnessed quite as fervently as it should be. I, myself, struggle with a variety of psychological concerns and find music, whilst not a cure, provide accompaniment and unbiased guidance. Again, I am not suggesting if one gets into music at a young age they can avoid pitfalls such as criminal recidivism, social anxiety and depression – these are factors influenced by surrounding, unique D.N.A. and societal factors – but few are being indoctrinated to the potency and passion music’s variegated banquet offers. To me, it has been a lifeline and purpose: it is debatable how life would have shaped itself were it not for that ‘spark’. An interesting piece, from Mid-day.com, supports my claims how much can enrich and nourish the soul:  

Kamakshi and Vishala Khurana, who founded a company called The Sound Space, which practices music therapy, believe that music has a miraculous power to heal and that sound has the capacity to influence every aspect of a human being from the time of conception. They conduct specialised workshops including sound for better concentration, music therapy and an easy and fun filled introduction to Indian Classical music for children.



"Music should constitute a major part of our lives. Listening to the right music has innumerable benefits such as lowering stress levels, reducing depression and anxiety and maintaining a happy, balanced and calm home/office/travel environment. There's nothing like too much music. Very loud music can adversely affect the ears. But music only benefits our brain by releasing endorphins, which elevates one's mood. It is in fact a wonderful stimulant," says Vishala Khurana, co-founder, Sound Space.

Ashutosh Phatak, founder and teacher, True School Of Music asserts, "Life is full of music and there's no better way to live it. It doesn't have to mean sitting down and consuming albums, but there's music everywhere — in the rhythm of a local train's movement, or in the sound of the waves at high tide. People tend to watch more music than listen to it these days." He feels that if more people listened to music all the time, they would be calmer and better disposed to handle stress”.

It is interesting the effect music has and, in a scene that, sometimes, is hypotonic and anaemic – realising how evocative and restorative great music can be is a wonderful thing. I feel the young need to be initiated to the depth and true scope of music as young as possible. There is a fear, among many, we are becoming less adventurous and backwards-looking the less prevalent physical forms of music are. The browsing culture is being (more and more) limited to online channels and radio discovery. Both are valuable sources of discovery but I wonder how broadminded we are as consumers. Every day, I rediscover a song that escaped my mind – caught up, as I usually am, with what is brand-new. I suppose, doing what I do, the majority of my musical assessments are with new acts. I am a big fan of stations like BBC Radio 6 Music – who provide a perfect balance of older and fresh sounds – but I feel we are all becoming time-limited with regards music. I have a worry the new generations are going to be brought up on streaming services and modern radio – the lost art of vinyl heritage is becoming a rarity.


I, like many of my generation, grew up with our parents’ record collection and sounds of the time – whether that be modern artists on C.D. or cassette; vinyl crackling in the background. My evocative and genre-straddling upbringing spanned as far back as the 1930s; right through to the present (1980s and ‘90s) and, as I went through school, the wonderful transition from twentieth to twenty-first-century. I have not forgotten the music I grew up on and, if anything, I am discovering new nuances and lessons. Not only does music of the past connect us to memorable times and periods: it helps inspire contemporary artists and ensures music has that rich variety. I am concerned we are becoming too modern and relying on sites like Spotify for our music suggestions. It is as good as any way of turning on to the new artists out the block but, if one wants to immerse themselves in the fullness and endless fascination of music’s annals – how easy is that to do?! I am finding few people, younger than me, taking the trouble to reconnect with older music and the artists they would have heard growing up – and those their parents experienced when they were young. Before I continue my point; I wanted to explain how meaningful a single album/song can be. For various reasons, I have been listening to my favourite album quite a lot: Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside. It stands as a tremendous album but, to me, it represents so much more. It is what I am saying regarding music’s powerful allure. That is a record, released in 1978, that came to my ears round about 1986 (or there about). It instantly hit me and amazed me with its beguiling beauty, strange vocals and fairy-sweet flurries. It, as the years have progressed, gained new sides and qualities. I do not think an artist of this age could produce a record as timeless and enduring. Maybe it arrived at a time when I was more impressionable and uneducated. If I were hearing that album as a teenager; I do not feel it would be any less potent.


PHOTO CREDIT: Fish People/Kate Bush

I shall not go into the album bit-by-bit but, that record alone, has done more to me than every album released this year put together. My fondest music memories arrived when I was going from primary to secondary school. I was experiencing the incredible Dance and mainstream music of the early-1990s and all the innovation available. I feel music hit a rare high in the 1990s so it is no surprise the sounds of that time have remained with me. The retinue of eclectic artists that produced incredible records helped me through tough times: at a stage when I was adapting to growing up and all the fears and uncertainties associated. Not only did I behold the songs of modern artists: the music of my parents – which helped instruct and inform them – was an invaluable source of knowledge and compassion. It is hard to explain how impactful and important music has been to me – from such a young age, too. One of the reasons I am so itinerant and deep-digging when it comes to new music is because I feel there is so much hidden potential. Even if you are a fan of a particular genre; it is always wise seeking out sounds you might not otherwise have considered. In every genre, there is something that strikes a different part of the imagination. I am a big fan of modern Folk and songwriters that articulate subjects such as love and self-examination with such beautiful and entrancing tones. I am not criticising modern music but find, it alone, does not fulfil me. I remember songs like Everybody Wants to Rule the World and where I was when I first heard it – my first memory of life and, hence, the first musical experience – and why Bush’s Swallowed is particularly emotional. All of us grew up with music and realise how important it is but I think a lot are putting the past on the shelf and too concerned with that is current and popular.

Getty Images.jpg

IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images

There are, to be fair, people who explore music from past and present but I wonder we are letting history slip by. I would not be where I am (and who I am) were it not because of the way I was brought up and how music was instilled in me. It is such an essential part of life and has helped me overcome so many obstacles. Music is a stunning force that can lift the mood and, more importantly, give purpose to a life and save people from harsh realities – I have seen many, on the point of suicide, saved by music! If one limits themselves to the sounds of today; it does not give the individual the best and variation music provides. Streaming and social media are big players and many are exclusively discovering music through these platforms. That is good – if one wants to only listen to new stuff – but it denies the soul of so much brilliance. I am thankful for the way music was taught to me and the passion I developed young. Artists like Kate Bush – who I have rhapsodised over and with good reason – who has been a pivotal Muse and constant companion. I cannot state how fulfilling and enriching music can be if you open yourself to it and swim in its warm and vast ocean. If we ignore and pass by everything that has come before, we are going to raise generations unaware of how music has developed – and how it began. In every possible connotation, sense and aspect: embracing music with open arms really does…



MAKES a huge difference.