An Impressionistic Wisp of a Song

“I was doing time in the universal mind,
I was feeling fine.
I was turning keys, I was setting people free,
I was doing all right.
Then you came along
With a suitcase and a song,
Turned my head around.
Now I’m so alone
Just looking for a home
In every place I see.
I’m the freedom man, I’m the freedom man.
I’m the freedom man, that’s how lucky I am.”

You may recognize these lyrics from Jim Morrison’s bluesy song, Universal Mind, but the music may be a bit harder to place. That’s because the atmospheric piano track and whispery vocals belong to Biirdy, a French student living in Paris. Biirdy says her influences are many, including Cat Powers, Emily Jane White, Kings of Leon, Beach Fossils, Yann Tiersen, and The XX—one of my personal favorites.

The title of Biirdy’s piece is Sapere Aude, which is Latin for “dare to know” The original use of this phrase seems to be in the poet Horace’s book of Epistlesdimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude, incipe (“He who has begun is half done: dare to know!”). It can also be translated as “Dare to be wise”. The phrase forms the moral to a story where a fool waits for the stream to stop before crossing it. “He who begins is half done. Dare to be wise. Make a beginning.” is a loose translation. Horace’s words suggest the value of human endeavour, of persistence in reaching a goal and of the need for effort in overcoming obstacles.

This sounds like great writing advice, or . . . maybe someone’s horoscope. Either way, I’m going to let Sapere Aude wash over me while I write today and see what happens.

Epistles, or, Letters, by Horace were published in two books, in 20 BC and 14 BC, respectively—can you tell I’ve been to Wikipedia today? I’d only do that for a track I really love.

Biirdy copy

Music to Write to

Rainy immediately made me think of Philip Glass, and what more do you need as far as an introduction? I hope you enjoy this driving and insistent piano piece. The more I listen to it, the more I love it.

Rainy was written by Jaloes (not to be confused with J. Lo—sorry, had to) a songwriter and composer from Madrid, Spain who uses keyboards and computers to create his minimalist pieces.

Luckily for us, Jaloes uploaded Rainy to the Sirenstories SoundCloud just in time for NaNoWriMo :) For those of you who live in a more sane world and have not heard of National Novel Writing Month, you can find out all about it here, and you can read how I got through my first NaNo here.

I always create a soundtracks for my various writing projects and I’ll definitely be adding Rainy to my NaNo playlist. Maybe when November is over, I’ll post a scene that I wrote while listening to Rainy. If you write a scene while listening to Jaloes‘ spare, energetic piano piece, I’d love to see it in the comments section of this post.

Jaloes uploaded another piece to the Sirenstories Soundcloud called Warming Oceans, a beautiful, gentle piece, full of emotion. When I was checking out his links I found the great photo montage he created to go along with the music. Given the oceanic theme of Sirenstories, I just had to post it.  Enjoy!

Jaloes wrote Warming Oceans in 2010 as a protest against rising ocean temperatures that are influencing the climate around the world.

Please visit http://www.jaloes.com to learn more about this wonderful artist.