The Vision of Escaflowne OST 1: Over The Sky, Track 8: Romance
This song is ten years old this year. I first found it as a cut-rate quality MP3 off a Hotline server (anybody remember that program?), while stealing dialup access from the UCSC modem pool at a blazing 3.5k per second. It became one of my favorite pieces even before I'd seen the anime series it was composed for.
I remember playing it in Davis at night, in my room in the victorian in Watsonville, and in other people's rooms at UCSC, out their tinny computer speakers in their cluttered dorm rooms, as we did schoolwork or relaxed together. Ken probably remembers it, mixed up with an avalanche of Firesign Theatre albums.
Lots of memories. I could sit around and dither poetically about how times have changed, but to be honest, my interests are what's changed.
I hear old music and remember where I used to be, and the feelings that made those memories stick, a patchwork of ideal moments of smooth calm and blazes of urgent desire, and the narrow world of limited options that channeled those desires in turn. To recall them feels restrictive, because I have to look at them through the eyes of an old self that feels like a cheap and awkward puppet. For example, the sweeping romance of an early relationship - was I really that intensely affected by something so mundane - and dysfunctional? I used to think I would treasure certain moments forever, and I wrote about them obsessively in journals I still have stashed away, but now I know that ultimately, those moments move beyond recovery ... not because the world has changed, but because the inconceivable has happened: I just don't give a crap about the things I used to.
But now I listen to this music and I appreciate it with different ears, in a different way. I am discovering that it has a second life, outside of the memory that used to encase it like amber around an insect. And while memories tend to idealize things, I can say for sure that this music actually sounds better today than it did ten years ago.
Because yesterday, I finally got a "lossless" version of this track, by downloading the CD in about 200 parts from various eDonkey clients around the world. Ain't technology grand. And then I read the liner notes (which I'd never seen before) and discovered that Yoko Kanno recorded it with the great Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus. The serene, liquid notes of the solo trumpet that begin the piece and instantly draw you in are created by one man standing back in the middle of the huge empty performance hall, turned to the side so his instrument blends into its own reverberations, and as the song continues the rest of the orchestra responds in effortless counterpoint from their regular positions at the front.
I know it's horribly illegal for me to link to copyrighted music, but I'm going to do it this once, temporarily, so the rest of you can hear one of my favorite songs, of the me today and the indistinct me of ten years ago.
Here's to past memories, and to present company. And to the boundless potential of each day, no matter how long or short, how little or how much we explore in the course of it.