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Friday, April 22, 2011

The Spiritual Significance of Music, by Justin St. Vincent

As I write this, I'm spinning the new Radiohead album, The King of Limbs. I've heard people's reactions to this album, pro and con, but I've been quite glued to it because there's a subdued reverie in the spirit of Kid A that calms me, endears me and puts me onto a quiet plane I don't get to as often these days. One might say this connection between myself and Radiohead's aquatic export on The King of Limbs hints at a spiritual connection. I lose myself in this album, whereas I paid strict attention to every detail in my latest review of Duff McKagen's Loaded current album, The Taking. For some listeners, his album might provoke a spiritual connection to his music since Duff does imbibe a bit of his personal experiences into The Taking. If you relate to it on some level, there's a spiritual connection, yes?

Today being Good Friday, if you're a Christian, this is perhaps the most spiritual day there is, if you're talking about reflection upon the ultimate sacrifice. To allow your mind the capacity to comprehend an immortal sending a mortal unit to this world as its representative to show us what a sinning lot we are and how we should seek to better ourselves as humans and to seek that connection with the unseen, well, that's spirituality in biblical terms.

Back to music, I have found a spiritual connection in many genres and styles and a few bands who come to my mind as having the ability to move me and submit my cerebral surrender to their output are Isis, Air, Bad Brains, Iron Maiden, Prince, Thievery Corporation, My Dying Bride, Hank Williams, Leadbelly, Sepultura and of course, Radiohead. Those are but a handful of musicians I can mention. Music is my ultimate sanctum. To violate that sanctum brings dire consequences, not to be melodramatic. You get what I'm talking about if you're deeply affected by music.

Author Justin St. Vincent assuredly does and he's taken this point to the next level in what appears to be a continuing series of books he calls The Spiritual Significance of Music.

New Zealand born and world-traveled St. Vincent has interviewed more than 1,000 musicians ranging from Ravi Shankar to Jerry Casale of Devo to Mike Patton for this project, which doesn't necessarily seek to present the Christian point-of-view to spirituality, albeit you will find interviews with Stryper, Selah, Everyday Sunday, Petra and other Christian bands. St. Vincent examines music from all angles and he has a heavy lean upon metal bands in The Spiritual Significance of Music. Expect to find Napalm Death, Cynic, Dawn of Azazel, Cannibal Corpse, Metal Church, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Faith No More, My Dying Bride and others in this book.

As the Founder and Director of Xtreme Music, Where Music Meets Spirituality, Justin St. Vincent attempts to find the binding agent between music and consumer and the answers he gets from his guests are all varied and largely enlightening. Doubtful you'll think of music the same way again after checking out St. Vincent's work.

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