Music Monday: Night Lights

Tokyo Dusk

A warm tune for chilly nights

Most of us know of Sarah McLachlan from her haunting tune set to a backdrop of sad-eyed animals looking for new homes. This isn’t that. Rather, this is for the nighttime wanderer in all of us.

Thievery Corporation does a lot of great work, particularly in the downtempo/ambient region that I favor when it comes to yoga practice. I particularly like “Dirty Little Secret” because the voice is neither at battle with nor second fiddle to the music—the warmth of Sarah’s vocals is as a flame to the chilly chords surrounding them, and the two exist in a contrast as beautifully stark as city lights against the night.

The solo voice is never backed with layered vocals or backup voices, which gives the impression of a soliloquy. I suspected that the reverb was a little pronounced in the first half, but one of my favorite moments comes just past halfway into the track, when the beat “opens up” and exchanges the distant and lighter rhythm line for a more clear and vibrant one. It’s as though one has crossed some invisible threshold into the deep metro. Once taking into account this new contrast, the echo makes sense in the larger aspect of the song’s imagery.

That’s one of the reasons I like the big city. It’s like a forest: I seem to more clearly “hear” my own thoughts when the ambient noise one would think would drown them out. As wanderlust continues to stoke itself in my gut, songs like these are a quiet cup of comfort, warm against the noisy lights, quiet walks and trains of thought amidst a chilly city when she stays up late and still has her dancing shoes on.


Photo: inoc/Flickr