Music Monday: It’s an Urban Jungle Out There

Urban Monkey

To navigate the Urban Jungle that is New York City, one will become well-acquainted with their monkey mind.

I’ve arrived in New York City, and hardly had time to unpack my bags before heading down to my first yoga class. I somehow managed to avoid taking any led classes in New Orleans, but I’m not going to let that happen here. So I dash to a studio in Bushwick and don’t even have time to sign in (“We’ll handle it after class!”). The teacher played a selection of Bonobo during class, and I’d forgotten how much I absolutely love this band.

So, I’m going to share one of my favorite songs on one of my favorite albums to use for class.

Don’t stop here; the entire album Black Sands (2010) is amazing. Most of it can be used for a yoga class (all of it probably can, but there’s one or two songs I’d rather skip and/or replace with tracks from…other Bonobo albums).

Still, there’s something magical about the album’s namesake song. The word in music is lyrical: it means a piece of music (or dancing) is almost “normal,” as opposed to stylized. Despite there being no lyrics, “Black Sands” often comes off as conversational the farther it progresses, as though the melody lines that fade in and out were thoughts. I happened to be reading the Gita (researching yesterday’s post) when it came on, and Krishna’s tutoring Arjuna underscored by this song’s neo-Parisian jazzy flow came off as positively harmonic.

Rather than being sad during a happy time, this song somehow seems to lay a foundational bed of sorrowful music, but keeps a cheery tune going. At times this seems almost forced and even stern, but most of the time it flows and drifts as freely as a butterfly…kind of like Krishna’s dialogue.

I guess that would make this song “Music of the Gods.”

Photo: yuensolee/Flickr

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