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Why I Love Music: Wirjo Hardjono

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A return to our occasional ‘Why I Love Music’ series – this time featuring thoughts from BAMM.tv’s Wirjo Hardjono …

Sound made to make you ‘feel’? Just the idea of it sounds absurd to me. I don’t know why but I’ve always wondered why music makes you feel and never understood. Sure if it brings back memories, if used is specific contexts or when it’s used in other media. But even if your not paying any attention it sets a mood or better a tone.

Our brain just starts triggering neurons and creating hormones when the air moves our eardrums. Signals that make you aware of your surroundings, did we make sounds to warn the world of our existence? Or did we make sounds to drown out the paranoia of the things we didn’t see? Probably both, we probably still use music for those reasons today, as art form and for an escape.

We just got really good at it. We made sound a form of expression, I imagine that we developed instruments together with our voices. Interacting with your surroundings to create a sensation in others. Of course we do this all the time in many ways but somehow music has always been special to me.

Growing up seeing thousands of people gathering in stadiums to experience it together, yet it feels so personal. It’s a thing we share. Its how we explain to the world how we feel, it gives us identity, both through creating and listening to it. It also gives us the ability to change our state or at least influence how we feel.

We communicate feel best through music, in my experience anyways. I don’t express myself musically, but I like the consumption. I like being influenced by it, giving in to it. I’ll never understand how and I’ll never have to, it just is. It just takes you on a journey.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Chris Hansen

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Diana Gamboa

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Nick Hansen

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To my alarm, the assignment from our VP of Programming, Phil, read: “Write an essay on what music means to you, and do up a playlist to accompany your thoughts if you have time.”

Oh? Really? Has he lost his mind?? Music! — of all topics, music — boil it down to “my life in a nutshell”, then? How?!

“What does music mean to me” is like “what does water mean for a fish” or “what does fuel mean to an engine”. It’s the sine qua non of life!

Even if you’re imprisoned and held solitary confinement, you still can hum a tune out loud. I read recently about a “locked-in syndrome”, sadly someone prominent drew attention to it through his eventual death last year in England. Google it — you can’t move, you can’t talk, but you can think clearly. Probably, even if you’re so completely unfortunate, you can still dream up a song, one that you’re not hearing with your ears.

The world around us is full of sound, and you know that everyone is seeking your attention, and combinations of sounds can form melodies and harmonies can form stanzas and compositions and songs and albums and compendiums and all that. We are human, we are alive, we make music.

From birth, our first outpouring of expression is in tonal mono-syllables. Over time, some of us are better than others in stringing those together to form song and to vocally express their compositions. Singing for others. It helps if people love the output, but either way, if you’re into it, you’ll probably sing it. Nothing wrong with that.

The public seeks a performer as the performer seeks an audience. They get together. The intense feeling of heavy, deep drum and bass in the middle of a crowded dance floor with its tactile sensibilities, including perhaps unwelcome olfactory experiences and unexpected visual references. The fleeting thoughts. For those willing to put in the effort, when it reaches this stage, the experience isn’t just “brought to you” by music, it is music in its complete intensity, a memory maker.

That sort of intensity regarding music is there to lullaby you as a newborn and to see you off from planet Earth. And every point in between. The tense times, the times you need energy, the times you need to relax, the times you’re running, moving, pushing yourself, fun sexy time, the time you’re tired and lethargic, down in the dumps, that time you cried.

Music is the facilitator that helps everyone smooth over the rough patches in life, both big and small. It’s there for you, it keeps you going, it sets memory points, it reaffirms your existence and defines, a bit, your camaraderie.

OK. Well. Where are we now? Oh. I’m happy that I did my homework in the end. Music means I’m going to wake up tomorrow and get on with it, and hopefully the next day will be at least as good as the day before.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Chris Hansen

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Diana Gamboa

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Chris Hansen

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The first truly co-ed parties I remember started the summer after 6th grade. With the exception of pool parties, these events always seemed to involve poodle skirts and white t-shirts rolled up at the sleeve as we danced awkwardly to the music of another era. Our parent-chaperones relived their youth to the sounds of The Big Bopper and Jerry Lee Lewis as they sipped on spiked punch in the kitchen.

I liked the music well enough, but it dawned on me that there must be something more. It wasn’t long before discovering CCR’s Chronicle vol. 1 & 2 on cassette, and I ran the ribbon raw with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “Walk On The Water” and “Run Through The Jungle.” Sure, I also liked “Suzie Q,” “Proud Mary” and “Looking Out My Backdoor,” but I was craving something a little more disorderly.

About that time, I invaded my brother’s collection of records, tapes and new-fangled CDs and was awakened to all things British. I listened to everything I could find from The Beatles, The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo and the Bunnymen. I most loved singing along with Morrissey’s depressed choirboy vocals beginning with “Reel Around the Fountain” and going straight through to “Paint A Vulgar Picture.” I was shocked and ashamed to discover that the band had already broken up by the time I heard The Queen Is Dead.

Then I went to a Phish show at Red Rocks. All I can say is: epic.

I was forever changed. After buying the entire catalog on CD I learned that you could go into certain record stores and ask for the “Italian imports,” whereupon the clerk would reveal a hidden stash of live bootlegs from under the counter. I saw Widespread Panic at the HORDE tour and indeed my horizons of rock developed further.

On my first date with my wife, she introduced me to The Black Keys with a compilation CD from The Big Come Up and Rubber Factory. Even though I was hearing it for the first time, it was like I had always known each song. A year later when Attack and Release came out, “All You Ever Wanted” became our song.

Back in college, I would set my alarm clock every day to a random track from Mozart’s Requiem.

Today, I begin my jogging routine the same way every time with “The Divided Sky” off Phish’s debut album.

I can recite the entirety of Vivaldi’s aria “Nulla In Mundo Pax Sincera” in my head even though I don’t understand most of the words.

I’ve played in several bands with my friends, and now I stumble along on a melodica playing Stan Getz tunes to my daughter.

So why do I love music? Because I can barely remember what clothes I was wearing two days ago, but all of these memories are lodged permanently and warmly in my brain. They are as much a part of me as my skin.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Madeleine Buzbee

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In a special edition of BAMM.tv’s ‘Why I Love Music’ season, we handed over the reigns to the youngest member of the BAMM.tv crew, our teenage intern Madeleine Buzbee …

I love music because it is the fence that my vines grow on, and always has been. It is, essentially, the bones of who I am. I came into this world as “Here Comes The Sun” played in the delivery room on that foggy, May morning in 1998.

My father sung “Beat On The Brat,” by The Ramones as a lullaby when I was small enough to hold, and one of my earliest memories includes dancing with my family to Barry White, the day he died.

As soon as I could walk, I would pick and chose albums, grabbing them and running down the corridor with determination towards the stereo.

When middle school came around, things got weird, so I turned to MGMT’s Congratulations; everyday after school would consist of closing the door to my room, and pressing play. At 13, I began collecting vinyl. Laying on the floor in a sea of blankets, the grooves of the albums gave me the opportunity to forget about everything, but simultaneously analyze my problems and address my own questions.

The Velvet Underground’s After Hours led me to meet my first love and the surge of the crowd at the start of The Vaccines concert pushed me into the people who would later become my closest friends.

I have outfits inspired by songs; a special dress just for “Nancy From Now On,” by Father John Misty and a specific jean jacket/pin combination to channel “20th Century Boy,” by T-Rex.

Even when everything around me is completely silent, a song is always playing in my mind- it’s been that way since Day One. Music is cheering for me on from the sidelines during these years of teenage turmoil, confusion, and self-discovery.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Peter Hackmann

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Music has played a major role in my life ever since my older brother decided he wanted to learn how to play drums. Naturally, as the little brother I had a juvenile obsession with his decision and followed closely, admiring his shiny black and chrome kit and the seemingly random things he would play on it after a drum class. What I didn’t realize is how greatly his decision to study music would affect the trajectory of my own life. When I decided to try out for band as a 13 year-old, I was told by the teacher that I would make a fine addition to the horn section. But, taking my brother’s lead, I opted for the ‘things you bang on’ section instead.

Down the rabbit hole I went. Playing percussion soon became an obsession. Anything I could get my hands on became a snare drum, marimba, triangle, or bass drum. I would find myself listening to fluorescent light bulbs for their pitch and tuning the timpani to the sound of light in the band hall. Competition after competition, performance after performance, playing music became a highly-addictive and ‘can’t-do-without‘ feature of my life. This is one reason that I love music. It has the delightfully infectious ability to give life meaning and substance, and teach people to focus, listen, reflect, and ultimately better themselves – and share these things with an audience.

But an even greater reason that I love music, besides its individual benefits, is because it functions as a truly global language. During college, I had the opportunity to travel abroad and interact with very different cultures which, as my aunt put it, was like “traveling to the moon” for her generation. When translation failed, and it often did, I turned to music. I found that simply pulling out a guitar and strumming chords could turn foreigners into friends, after the wine was consumed, of course. A playlist on my iPod once turned a benign roommates’ dinner into a night on the town. Just knowing and appreciating music from other cultures has ignited conversations and friendships, whether at a bar in Mexico, a birthday party in Italy, or a seminar in New York.

I can remember one occasion where I performed with a girl from South Korea, who was a talented, if timid, musician. She spoke almost no English, and I speak no Korean, but when we played together no words were needed. Our language became phrasing, tempo, dynamics, and the movement of sticks. We could play a sonata without even speaking to each other. I’m also reminded of the times at a folk festival in Texas when donning my washboard allowed me to jam with “the Nashville camps” simply because it was something we all recognized and understood (Even Tennessee is somewhat foreign to Texans). No language can even come close to these types of communication, only music.

In essence, what I love about music is that all people, regardless of age, origin, or language, are hard-wired to understand it. Even in today’s hyper-active, hyper-connected world, music remains a testament to the oldest and simplest of human instincts: the desire to come together and share, learn, and simply enjoy sound itself. I never considered any of this when my brother first practiced his drum kit, but now I understand just how crucial those experiences with music were to me. And that’s why I love it.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox


Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Jerad Fox

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I love music because so much of it can be explained, practiced, experienced, invented, and reinvented…and yet no one can ever understand all of it.

I love how Little Richard was my first favorite artist, and how he’s like catching up with a old friend still, everytime I listen to him.

I love minimalist bands like The Strokes and The Libertines, and bands with complex arrangements like The Mars Volta and The Blood Brothers.

I love classical elements in metal music, especially in Cacophony (Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, you’re both such bad-asses!)

I love how confusing it is Patsy Cline’s music always cheers me up, even though it has some of the most depressing subject matter. I also think she has probably my favorite voice from a female vocalist.

It’s fucking stupid how much I love Wu-Tang. How they can talk about the projects in Staten Island, something I can never truly never understand, then talk about spiderman, and green eggs and ham. I love how they have huge egos, with none of the bad parts that come with having huge egos.

I love how Bernie Taupin wrote most of Elton John’s lyric’s. The idea of an artist not writing their own lyric’s and expressing their own emotions in their songs has always bothered me, but the fact that they created, together, the amazing music that exist now is so awesome. A producer can find an attractive artist, and find or pay for songs that fit the bill of a mainstream successful persona; but they found each other, and did it for a collective idea, and annihilated that idea.

I love how The Sonics wanted every channel to clip on their recordings, how the dirt, grit, and grime was a part of their sound, and how the guitarist poked holes in his amp speakers with a screwdriver so it sounded like the right kind of garbage.

I love how latin musicians can always tune their drums, I love how jazz drummers can always play to a metronome, and I love when a rock drummer can actually hit hard enough for the best recordings.

I love how auto-tuning vocals takes away the soul.

I love musicals, because I love imagining the real world as a musical.

I love the artists people feel embarrassed emitting they like, until they realize they were dumb enough to keep that joy from anyone. E.L.O. fucking rock!

I love being an audio engineer, and knowing the “take”, is just the take, and has nothing to do with the quality of the recording.

I love when bands sound can’t be explained by comparing them to another band, or a certain genre.

I love when a legend can be broken down to a normal person after meeting them.

I love when I finally understand lyric’s that were too simply and cheesy, and then feel they’re the only explanation.

I love how punk rock could scare parents into thinking that it isn’t the most lovely, caring fan-base in the world.

I love electronic music more every time someone doesn’t understand it, because it’s this generations noise, and the next generations history.

I love the standard ways to make music, because it underlines the reasons it isn’t art.

I love how knowing more technicalities of the creation and recording of music, can make you appreciate it more, and feel more involved; but sometimes I miss how much easier it was to enjoy everything before that.

I love music because, well, I love music. If I could explain it, then I probably should be an accountant. I understand a feeling of logic, I can prove theories, disprove theories, and yet, never have the same answer for the same question. Explaining music is like explaining love…it’s almost pointless, because I don’t live and love for the explanation.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

Why I Love Music: BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Christopher Davies

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Here’s the latest in our series of articles in which we ask the BAMM.tv crew one simple question: why do you love music? Walking up to bat this time around is BAMM.tv Editorial Director Christopher Davies …

What does ‘love’ actually mean, anyway? That old stalwart The Oxford English Dictionary simply refers to it as “a strong feeling of affection”, which frankly seems like the kind of vagueness a modern politician would peddle. If we take that meaning literally, then to say ‘I love music’ would mean ‘I really am quite fond of music.’

‘Quite fond’ … yeah, that’s not going to cover it. ‘Quite fond’ doesn’t describe the sensation I had when I first cranked up The Avalanches’ Since I Left You or My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless or Pulp’s This Is Hardcore or any of the million albums that have soundtracked my life, emotions, memories and even moulded my general worldview. ‘Quite fond’ doesn’t cover the tingles I get when Johnny Marr begins that guitar fiddling in Talking Head’s Nothing But Flowers. It doesn’t cover the serene dopamine rush of chillng out to Stars Of The Lid’s That Finger on Your Temple Is the Barrel of My Raygun. It doesn’t cover the laugh-out-loud wonderment of hearing R.A The Rugged Man spit his rhymes (“If i ain’t the best then I’m the closest / I’m like Richard Pryor before multiple sclerosis”).

Buuuut then again … ‘love’ might not cover that feeling either. Because – and you’ll forgive me if I indulge the sentiments of Foreigner for a moment – no-one quite knows what love is in the first place. Why do I ‘love’ music? Not to be a cop-out but I honestly couldn’t say. I just know that it makes me feel something … and that’s good enough for me.

OTHER BAMM.TV STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Sophie DeWitt

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Phil Lang

Why I Love Music – BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna

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In the second of our ‘Why I Love Music’ season of articles, BAMM.tv’s Jeff LaPenna recalls how the 1990s pop-punk of Green Day first opened his eyes to the world of music …

Music has always been a major, compelling force in my life and I’m not sure why. Why do some people love music more than others? Why have I fallen in love with music the way that I have? It might have to do with loneliness, or, putting it differently, with community.

I was a lonely only child who wished he had siblings and always wanted to be with friends, but those were unrealistic desires. When I couldn’t be with friends I would find other ways of escaping being by myself: hanging out with video game characters, getting to know TV personas, or, letting myself get swept away with music. I quickly recognized bands, and musicians as friends with whom I could familiarize myself and count on whenever I needed them.

Green Day’s “Basket Case”, and really, all of Dookie, was the impetus for my love of music. It struck a cord deep, deep in my body, and I knew I needed more of the feeling. From that point on, at 8 years old, I started my true path of music discovery. I eventually tried to learn to play many different instruments, and found out that my love of music doesn’t extend into playing, but remains in appreciating, and supporting.

Eventually, I found myself deeply involved in the Atlanta punk and hardcore scenes, where I met most of my best friends from my childhood, some of which are still besties to this day. Somehow, I even convinced my very patient, very cool parents, that my friends should have their bi-weekly band practices in my bedroom (since it was abnormally big for a small home). That lasted a good six months until my parents exercised their own right to not love punk rock.

My taste has evolved since then, just as my appreciation for other things in life. Just as it’s easier for me to make friends with a more diverse selection of people, so am I able to recognize and appreciate much broader scopes of music. I realize now, that yes, the reason I love music is friendship, the escape of loneliness, and the desire to be a part of and create community. Music gives us unique identity and allows us to be a part of something outside of ourselves. Music is friendly because it is familiar and relatable. Not everyone needs that company in life, but I sure do.

BAMM.tv Best Of 2013: Nick Hansen

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We’ve got a unique twist for our final Best Of 2013 round-up (before the New Year comes a-crashin’ in: BAMM.tv’s Nick Hansen has stepped into the time machine and selected the highlights from the end of 2003, which was remarkably a whole decade ago. We’ll let Nick explain further …

Farewell to 2013 with nostalgia for what 2003 sounded like in a 40 minute package of dirty little memories. I know not all the tracks were actually from 2003, but hey ya, go on, have a break, put your feet up and sing along, you know the words.


1. Hot Chip – Crap Kraft Dinner

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BAMM.tv Best Of 2013: Sarah Levitt

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Ready for some more musical highlights of 2013, as hand-picked by the BAMM.tv team? Good! Today we asked BAMM.tv’s Sarah Levitt to choose her favorite albums of the year gone by. The list is as follows …

1. VV Brown – Samson & Dalilah

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