When looking at a painting, you don’t have words to spell out what is happening. Instead, you follow the form; the lines, the colours, the tones and shades, and piece it all together to form your overall interpretation of the work. It’s for this reason that I love instrumental music; you can get lost in the depth of sound without the distraction of words.
Of course, I love words. I love books and poems and lyrics, and that feeling you get in reading or, indeed, in a song, expressing an idea you’d thought personal to you and it’s “as if a hand has come out and taken yours” (The History Boys is one of my favourite plays). Sometimes, however, it’s just as nice to not have that feeling – to be able to immerse yourself in something without words, and to leave your mind to engage and emote with something less immediately comprehensible.
I think Bombay Bicycle Club‘s (or possibly Jack Steadman’s solo) song, ‘Dorcas’, typifies that feeling. There are so many stunningly beautiful layers; ornamental intricacies growing like roots under a tree of vaster, immersive chords. It’s calm and still at the same time as rippling gently just under the surface.
And this is all getting wonderfully pretentious, but when you hear the song – which went on to be evolved into the also excellent ‘My God‘ – I hope you’ll get where I’m coming from. Sometimes my words – indeed, any words, don’t do music justice.
Sometimes, I think that instrumental music says it best.