After buying “Live Peace in Toronto” by the Plastic Ono Band I learned to only play part of the album whenever my friends were present. They liked to ridicule my enjoyment of Yoko Ono’s, shall I say it, screeching style. There is a lot of it on that record. I ended up dubbing the album to 8-Track tape so the music could be played in the car. (It was 1969, 8-Track cartridges were a thing then.)
Anyone who has known me for awhile cannot honestly accuse me of having conventional musical tastes. My brain circuitry is just wired differently when it comes to music enjoyment. I love a wide variety of it. From Baroque, to Brian Eno’s early works, I love it all. Much of what I like, most people have never heard of. The music is appreciated by people in special niche audiences.
I might listen to a pipe organ fugue by J.S. Bach, then half an hour later dial up some trance club music recorded in Ibiza. You have an old record by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys from the 1940s? I want to hear it. Are you in the mood for something from the Beatles “White Album”? I hope it’s “Revolution Number Nine” you want to hear, because I’m going to crank up the volume.
What about Classical Indian music? I adore Ravi Shankar’s releases. In the next breath, something avant garde from electronic stylist, Isao Tomita is what will tickle my fancy. If most people have never heard of an artist, I probably have a couple of her or his albums on my shelf. Often enough, many music listeners have at least heard of Igor Stravinsky or Devo. However, how many folks enjoy pieces by Italian composer Luigi Cherubini? He was quite popular around the turn of the nineteenth century. More people might be familiar with Tangerine Dream’s spacey electronica.
I cannot logically explain why I greatly enjoy music that is far out of the mainstream. Music, like other arts, is something that connects with our deeper emotions. There is so much music released each year by mainstream and non-mainstream artists, that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it. There is a part of me that is a black hole regarding music. I’m afraid that I’ll miss out on some amazing song or composition.
People I know who also like “strange” music have open minds about other aspects in life. They tend not to be judgmental and are eager to experience life fully. They are usually socially fearless because they couldn’t care less about the repercussions from people they interact with.
Perhaps “strange” music touches the free-thinking part of my mind. The artists are unafraid of playing with mysterious emotions and feelings. I wonder how many of the artists will eventually be acceptable to mainstream audiences. How many might become household names in the future? It’s hard to tell for sure because audiences and styles are fickle. There are few survivors like Beethoven or Bob Dylan. However, there are hundreds of artists in the spectrum of music.
Music is a strange phenomenon. No other animal is capable of creating and using the tools of music. The range of tones, beats, and organization is limitless. What might sound normal to us, might sound very strange to someone else.
Today is International Strange Music Day. Perhaps you will push the envelope and explore a song or artist you’ve never heard of until today. Enjoy your journey.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes two-time Olympic figure skating medalist, Johnny Weir. “I’m not commercial, I’m not for Special K cereal and I’m not a Wheaties boy; I’m a little bit more avant-garde, a little bit more out there.”