Monthly Missive // November 2020

Today, I want to talk to you about the normative, restorative, healing power of music. No, you haven’t opened the wrong website; this isn’t a “442HZ” website (don’

4 years ago

Today, I want to talk to you about the normative, restorative, healing power of music. No, you haven’t opened the wrong website; this isn’t a “442HZ” website (don’t Google that please, it’s so stupid). Instead, I’ve recently noticed how important music has become in me reclaiming my home. One of the less discussed aspects of this pandemic (and the quarantine) is the weird and uncanny ways in which our environment has changed. Yes, there have been many articles about how work has now invaded our homes. But what these articles miss is also how important our homes have become. I mean, they were always important, naturally. But now, homes are a sort of beacon, one of the only places where we can approach a 0% chance of infection. It’s also a place that has an “airlock”, a door that all who pass must adhere to whatever rituals of decontamination and safety we might (rightfully) impose on them.

These two forces, the importance of home and the invasion of it by foreign powers (mostly work) creates something that Hegelians love: a contradiction. These two forces, through the sheer friction of their meeting can create new practices, new ways to consider old things and things which are new altogether. In my case, the rising importance of my home in my mental (and physical health) and the growing need to protect it have created a set of rituals which help me redouble that sense of security, like wards or a healing aura. One of them, funnily enough, has been doing the dishes. There are a lot more of them now that I eat all my meals at home but the habit has become something almost restful and calming for me, a way to control my refuge.

Another such ritual has become playing music. Whether I’m playing it on my speakers or through headphones, playing music has become a way for me to affirm control over my surroundings. When I was working in an office, speakers were of course out the question. But even headphones had limitations; I usually kept what I was listening to relatively light, so I could stay in tune with my environments and the needs of my co-workers (also, chair dancing can be embarrassing, so no TWRP). There was also an internal, mental need to regulate my listening; it just felt wrong to be listening to super gruesome grindcore or incredibly introspective post-rock. It just didn’t fit.

But now, all of that is gone. I can listen to what I want and who I want, no matter the style or the ramifications on innocent bystanders who are forced to watch my gyrate awkwardly in my chair (I’m actually a really good dancer, just in a wild, awkward way). Now, I can let my mood, my tastes, and my (extensive) listening list take control. But more than just a gesture of freedom, this is a gesture of control: it allows me to modify the mood at home. Did I just get off a really bad call? I can listen to some brutal death metal to let off the frustration. Do things feel hopeless? I can play some uplifting math-rock. Do I just want to take a break and stare out of the window, remembering the wide world which exists regardless of work? All I need to do to listen to yndi halda is press a button (true story: I once listened to Under Summer in the office and had to explain to my co-workers and team leader why I was crying).

In this sense, music blends with my homely surroundings, unleashed by the fact that I’m in the ultimate safe space, and makes it even more sheltered, safe, and healing. This is also an opportunity to remember how much I appreciate the varied library and musical taste I’ve built for myself over the last six years (obviously coinciding with starting to write for Heavy Blog). That means I have a complex palette of colors and tastes with which to paint my surroundings with now.

So, maybe take this month’s missive as an invitation to discover some new music. By which I mean, an invitation to consider new ways in which music can help you augment the environment around you, rest, healing, and recuperate from everything happening out there. Maybe I’m also asking you for an invitation; will you let us into your home? Will you let us play some of our favorite tunes for you? Today, more than ever, we really appreciate that invitation and, by extension, you. Hey, we love you. Happy reading.

-Eden Kupermintz


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Published 4 years ago