It was early 2000. I had read an article about a band that Thom Yorke highly recommended. I was working at HMV at the time, and my new friend Kris and I both ordered this album. It took forever to arrive. It had this weird little alien on the cover of this blue cardboard sleeve. I had no idea what to expect. I was house sitting for some family friends at the time. so I went to the house. Put it on their high end stereo. Turned it up. I had a friend over. I really wanted to experience this album that I so looked forward to. We both laid on the floor, and I closed my eyes. From the very first reverse looped vocals that faded into the signature sonar blips of Svefn-G-Englar, I was entranced. I had never heard anything like this before. Had never felt so much from an album before. I laid there transfixed. Stuck. Immobile. For over an hour.
This would be the beginning of my relationship with Sigur Rós. Today was another milestone. Today was a global stream of their new album Valtari. My favourite record store, Listen, was hosting listening party. I felt inclined to attend. To experience the album for the first time with like minded fans. But as the time grew nearer, I found myself wanting to experience it for the first time alone. I grabbed the laptop, a blanket, and some headphones. I went into my father’s backyard. Laid down beneath the clouds, and then closed my eyes. Once again I found myself immersed into the music.
The music is very reminiscent of Ágætis Byrjun. It is also a more ambient record. A solitary sounding album that I am glad I experienced in this way.
In an era of digital everything, I find that sometimes I just don’t dedicate myself to the experience as much as I used to. We are now in a time where life is multitasked. We don’t have time to dedicate an entire hour to simply listening to a record. 10 minutes to truly appreciate a piece of art. 15 hours to enjoy a great book. We hardly have enough attention to watch a 2 hour movie without checking our phones.
Our media consumption has changed. We now consume at a much higher rate than ever before. We see hundreds of photos a day. We hear music everywhere we go, sometimes over 100 songs a day. We watch video clips, making sure that they aren’t over 5 minutes long before we even start. We read in blocks of 144 characters, or in small chunks.
We forget that sometimes it isn’t the media that matters. But the feeling. The memory. The experience. If I think back to all of my favourite songs or albums, they all have a story. An experience behind it. Every time I hear that song/album I am reminded of that story. That experience.
I am a professional photographer. I photograph weddings and portraits. I am good at what I do. Ultimately, it isn’t how great my composition and lighting are. It doesn’t matter how good my equipment is, or how I post process my work. In the end, it is about the feeling. The memory. The experience. These images are pieces of our lives. Pieces of our relationships. They chronicle our moments. Instances, that when looked back upon, remind us of the experience. That time in our lives.
Little did I know 12 years ago, what the year 2000 had in store for me. It turned out to be one of the key transitions in my life. And that year, will always remind me of Sigur Rós. Of Ágætis Byrjun. Of Flugufrelsarinn. It was a year of growth, discovery, heartache, and so much more.
I anticipate this year to be another year of transition. And I vow to experience it. To pay more attention to life. To music. To art. To my craft. To my family. To my friends.
I don’t want to skim through life. I want to dedicate myself and my time to living.
I want to create. And I want to feel what others create.