For as long as I can remember, listening to music has been a core aspect of my upbringing.  The folks raised me on a steady background soundtrack of Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, and Devo.  My first personal exploration of music goes way back to the Sesame Street records, particularly such chart toppers as Oscar the Grouch’s “I Love Trash”, Grover’s “What Do I Do When I’m Alone”, and Cookie Monster’s “Up and Down”.  The Beatles came along later as my first “group” fascination.  I still get a lot of mileage out of that White Album.

It’s many years later, and my music collection has become an integral part of my meditation exercises and psychological well-being.  For a long time, U2 was my favorite band and a group I strongly identified with.  Their last two albums have shown a significant decline in quality, and I find the group’s behavior increasingly repulsive, so I get a lot less enjoyment out of them than I used to.  I’ve written them off, along with a lot of other bands I used to like.  The state of popular music has stagnated to the point where mainstream equals lifeless and phony.

On the other hand, the treasure hunt for fantastic sounds has never been better.  The process resembles combing the halls of a mammoth ancient library with a tiny lantern.  Or searching the labyrinth of market alleyways for traders, with that one artifact or tidbit of gossip you need to hear.  The internet allows you to make connections on a scale that used to take years of wasted money and time.  And my friends have the same superpower!  There are ways now for artists to communicate their statement and their art without the guild-monopoly distribution systems that have stifled culture for decades.

It adds up to getting in touch with music I never thought I’d like, old music I didn’t know existed, and new music that is exciting and alive with experiment.  If I come across something I don’t like, it still has value because I can tell someone else I meet on the treasure hunt about it, and speed their own journey.  That’s what I think is the “now” experience: A diverse ecosystem of life support that generates ideas and raises consciousness, or just plain helps you survive.  Your own musical habits are heroic in a way they never were before.

So, an example: I’m on a Peak Oil website, of all places, and they have an entry on “Celtic Battle Music” at the bottom.  Well, being of Irish descent, I’m going to at least give it a look. Wow, rousing, exciting stuff.  I’m down with that!  So I click on the link to the YouTube search, below the video, and pow, I’m sold.  There’s this group called Albannach, and they have a website.  I check it out, and find they’ll be coming to a Ren Faire near me.  I pass this all along to K, and we agree; we’re going to be there to see them.  The life support system has just gotten a replacement filter.  Now I’m telling you by way of this post, and passing it along.  Maybe it’ll give you the power-up, maybe it won’t.  But just the choice makes us all more powerful.