Dangerous Compassions

what music is for

love Hey, reader.  How you doing?  Do you know what music is for?  Music is so pleasurable–for many of us, a reason to live.  Music transmits culture.  It sets a mood.  And it can connect people to other people like nothing else.

My homegirl Bag is a noise musician and does experimental electronics.  She has a new tape label Hetti Tapes.  Recently I interviewed her.  You can hear it on my SoundCloud.

One afternoon a week ago, Bag played for me an entire album she made.  She thought it was too long.  She was looking for feedback, like parts that were less interesting that she could cut.

I wanted to dance to the whole two hour album, to feel her beautiful creation in my body.  But I was recently sick with a cold, and I don’t have all my strength.  I danced for about 45 minutes.  The experience made me think about what music is for.

creation vs listening

As a listener to electronic music and noise, I’m looking for dancablity and novelty.  I want the sounds to make a new feeling I never had, and help my body move in a new way.  It’s exciting.

Dancing helps me process my experiences and helps my health.  Music helps me move how I need to move.  Some songs and playlists I like to dance to over and over again.  But I tend to make the same movements to the same music.

New music can help me find a new way to move that I didn’t know I needed.  I can free a part of myself and move energy that was stuck.  That’s more valuable than anything.

motivation for musicians

Musicians can have different ideas of what music is for.

  • radio play
  • commercial success
  • critical success, local fame, excel in a sub-genre
  • fame
  • attract collaborators
  • create community
  • make friends
  • tour
  • self-fulfillment, self-expression, use the gifts our ancestors handed to us
  • complete a creation cycle
  • document a place and time
  • fun
  • progress on the journey of learning
  • contribute to the genre–be a giant for others to stand on your shoulders
how it sounded

These are my notes for how my friend Bag’s album sounds.

  • clean and beautiful
  • sensual
  • good pace–moves through its cycles in a palatable, pleasurable way
  • danceable except drone part
  • funny at times
  • great beats woven through
  • challenging at times but never overly
  • spooky parts but not scary
  • long doppler parts–motorcycle driving by, video game
  • outer space feelings
  • underwater parts–synesthesesia mostly blues and greens
  • not repetitive, not gimmicky

Also I talked about head appeal vs body appeal.  Bag’s music has a lot of appeal, but I’m more in it for the dancing, so I want more body appeal.  This music feels perfect for me.


Did you ever have a friend who was a genius and did an amazing thing?  And maybe you met them more than halfway, going to a new world with them?  I feel calibrated to Bag’s work.

I’m grateful to everyone who I’ve ever loved.  Bag has made a difference in my life, and I’ve learned things I never would have learned otherwise.  Thank you for that.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “what music is for”

I listen to music that reaches inside and caresses my soul, that enlarges perspective, that gives voice to the earth and her creatures. I love music that helps me believe I belong. I often sing my prayer, wordlessly. Sometimes I soar. Sometimes I growl. Sometimes I weep. Always I am true. Music in me cannot lie. I remember when you and I walked together down the Nevada highway singing Hindu chants. It was when I first understood that I loved you.

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