Thursday, September 04, 2008

For the Love of the Retro

For the last few days, I am listening to some great rock music from the early 80’s. The one which got me hooked was “Tunnel of love” by the Dire straits. I first heard their music in the film “An officer and a gentleman”. The outro of this song was used so wonderfully in a scene where two former lovers meet when one of them is going after another person after they break up. This scene particularly interested me so much that I decided to watch it along with the director’s comments. Taylor Hackford mentions that it is one of his proudest scenes ever. Wikipedia describes the outro of “Tunnel of love” as one of the most heartbreaking guitar pieces. I agree whole-heartedly.

It is one of those musical moments which makes your heart ache and makes your being crave for something more than a cursory slice of life. An intense forlorn mood is designedly created by the plaintive guitar that is fierce yet subtle. This is not just this piece, there are a lot of instances where a piece of music has stinged my being to the core. When I look at this, in a way I can say this feeling of desolation is also one of longing. Not longing for anything in particular, Just longing. A frantic passion without a specific object. In fact I have noticed this quality within myself whenever I come in contact with something of an artistic quality, anything of enduring beauty. Some touching phrases of Tagore’s Geetanjali. A Painting by an Impressionist master. A heart-warming movie. All these works definitely evoke such feelings within me. What interests me is somehow the art endears itself to me even when the context of the work is so alien to me. Like in some of the movies that I have relished, I am truly not able to empathize with neither the story nor the characters. But still the empathy is there with the creator of the work. At this point I feel that my ability to express things is kind of stretched if not decapitated.

Any ways I feel like listing down my recent ‘crushes’. I feel the word crush kind of suits the scenario as indeed true art crushes me. It makes you feel helpless and vulnerable. Maybe sad and melancholic. But inevitably beautiful and intense.

1) An Indian violinist arranges a classical piece “Mokshamu” for a western style quartet. I really don’t understand the technicalities of the work but it does not matter. The music speaks to me as clearly as my mother’s voice.

2) A contemporary version of “Samaja Varagamana” featured in the album of the film “Morning Raga”. In the film, the song is picturized using an instrumental version (violin) of the song in the background. Man, that was awesome! After listening to this, even the classical version rocks!

3) Woman Hanging Laundry: Or any painting by Camille Pissarro if accompanied by a commentary!

4) Some random phrases from what I consider as a masterpiece among Tagore’s novels: Gora: "...They were not aware, as they talked on, when the moon descended behind the roofs, and its place was taken by a faint hint of light in the east, like the smile on the face of a sleeping child...."


Deepak said...

A post after a long time, and boy what a loaded post!
I went through all the references you had suggested, except the novel "Gora" :)

1) "Tunnel of love" - I am not yet able to relate to the piece as you are able to, but I understand music has the capacity to do that. I have this experience with a few other pieces I often go back to. Music works directly with the "being". I think it will always be a mystery!

2) I haven't seen the movie ("An officer and a gentleman") yet, but I re-read your review. I at least want to watch that scene that you reference.

3)That poem in Geetanjali was beautiful. I like to see that in a spiritual context (somehow, this comes automatically!)I have that book with me, and is collecting dust :)

4) I am hearing Camille for the first time. Looking at that painting, it seems to me that the beauty comes from the simplicity. Just enough detail for the vision to emerge from the void of nothingness. I don't have enough knowledge to appreciate paintings!

Overall, your post is a reminder that I am sleepwalking through most of my life. I don't even drink my coffee properly!

Gokulakrishnan S said...

Thanks for that beautiful poem. It leaves me with a similar feeling I get when I listen to Ghulam Ali's ghazal.