Somnambule - Writing About Music


The following are remembered moments where music acted to merge me with something bigger than myself, the wider environment, the past, etc., to mostly beatific effect.

Riding a packed commuter train over bridges into London at night - Simple Minds, Theme For Great Cities blasting in my walkman (just left school).

Dad playing me Kraftwerk's Autobahn in headphones and the synthesizer sound that imitates a car passing going right through the middle of my head (8 years old).

120mph in an Audi on an autobahn listening to Kraftwerk Autobahn (20 years old).

Different Trains by Steve Reich, perhaps the most moving piece of music I know, provoking tears each time I infrequently listen to it.

Sitting on the steps of the house in Valentine Road, Hackney with my friend Beatriz, now gone, in the throes of a particularly strong trip when a no 73 bus rumbles toward and past us like a huge red whale leaving us utterly amazed (late 20s).

Walking in the moonlit rocky desert behind Kibbutz En Gedi, listening to Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, a derelict tank just visible by the chainlink fence. Was that movement over there the escaped panther? (19)

In a back garden in North London with a skeletal dawn invading the night sky on the comedown from a spectrum of narcotics - Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works audible from the kitchen (late 20s).

Travelling on a donkey cart through a small village in Egypt, unknown but marvellous Egyptian pop music blasting from a battered radio (19).

Various raves, dancing, e, beats, people: simple, blissful equations.

Dancing, clean clear and smiling to Erik Truffaz (first time at the Jazz Cafe) and Nils Molvaer (Marquee) merging joyfully with the music (late 30s).

Theme For a Lost Harmonium by Penguin Café Orchestra from our cassette in a Greek lorry driver's cab as we reach the crest of a hill, hitchhiking back to London, unsuppressable smiles on our faces (mid 20s)

Dancing in the living room with Amy and Gabriel to loud 70s Miles Davis (late 30s).

Walking through bright, virgin snow on the way to work on a freezing cold Munich morning, Kate Bush's Cloudbusting playing on my walkman, unexpected tears in my eyes (early 20s).
Colin Buttimer
Published by Me