You’re stuck behind the wheel during the height of rush hour. Out of nowhere, a car swerves across three lanes of highway traffic and darts in front of you. You slam on the brakes, missing his bumper by inches. Please don’t hit mePlease don’t hit mePlease don’t hit me. You see the screeching domino effect in your rear view mirror, and brace for impact. By some miracle, the drivers behind you stop in time. Your relief turns to fury as you look ahead and catch sight of the offending driver.
Is he way off in the horizon, any closer to his destination? No. The jerk had come to a stop right in front of you, blocked by the slowing traffic on all sides. Scores of lives risked at high speed, for this idiot to gain…exactly one car length’s worth of distance. Your mouth drops as you realize he’s been talking on his cell phone the entire time.
(a) Maneuver into the lane beside him, roll down your passenger window, and gesture wildly as you begin hurling insults.
(b) Take a photo of his license plate for the state patrol’s aggressive drivers website.
(c) Smile serenely, give thanks and refocus on the hypnotizing rhythms coming from your car stereo, which have already begun to work their magic on settling your nerves.
OK, so maybe you did all of the above. I’m not here to judge. (Who am I, Gandhi?) The important thing to remember is this: it’s the third option that lets you reclaim your joy and equilibrium. And I’ve got the perfect app for that.
Remember when I told you guys how jazzed I was about the stellar “mystery” soundtrack to the Boxing Yoga DVD workout? Well, the mystery’s been solved. I was thrilled to learn that all I’d heard and more can be found on the self-titled debut album by the Future Ancients. It’s available for sale on the indie musician site Bandcamp (where you can hear all tracks in full before buying), and also on iTunes (click in the iTunes widget below to purchase):
I admit that I’ve never been a fan of this type of music. Before now. And honestly, I’m at a loss to describe it. It’s kind of a mystical-ly, ancient-drum-circle-y yet space-age-y vibe kinda thing, backed up by a wicked groove in all the right spots. The band’s Twitter page (@FutureAncients) calls it “improvised music blending jazz, electronica and exotica.” Whatever it is, it is incredibly soothing, and I never get tired of playing or hearing it.
I don’t normally make demands of my readers. (It’s bossy and rude.) But in this case, I’ll make an exception.
You simply MUST buy this album. It’s good for so many things:
1. Zen music for practicing yoga or mindful meditation.
2. Bedtime music to calm fussy babies, and help lull them to sleep.
3. Cool down music for your workouts (select tracks).
4. Ambient dinner music at the end of a long workday, that you can actually hold a conversation over.
5. Concentration music for reading, writing, studying or composing/creating art.
6. Background music for thinking deeply about the meaning of life. Or what to buy at the mall.
And yes, driving (or public transportation) music to relax during stressful commutes, and help keep road rage at bay.
I could go on. It has infinite uses. Once, a homeless man walked over to my commuter bus stop downtown and started aggressively yelling out dire, profanity-laced warnings to no one in particular. As his mental health issues were beyond my pay grade and expertise, I realized that – aside from staying empathetic and hoping he’d ultimately get the professional help needed – all I could do in that moment was control my own reaction and state of mind. So right or wrong, my choice was to drown out his rant and transcend the situation with some Future Ancients music therapy, courtesy of the track Replaced and Reinvented.
Anyway. I cannot tell you how many times since I’ve queued up my FA Playlist, when I needed to get my head in a certain “space.”
Perhaps you’ve got your own external voices that need a gentle and discreet mute button. A micromanaging boss. An office cubicle mate who won’t shut up. A nagging family member, or spouse. (Not mine, of course. You’re great, honey.)
I know you may think you don’t care for this type of music. I did too. But I was wrong. And today, the Future Ancients is among the most played and treasured albums in my iTunes library. I’d like to think that means I’m growing as a person. Becoming more and more open to trying new things. (And not just that daily living has me so stressed out that Future Ancients on my iPod is the only thing standing between me and a therapist’s couch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
I absolutely love it, and think you might too. I also think it’s important to support indie artists who pour their hearts and souls into their craft, delivering a quality product that helps make the world a little more beautiful and sane. At the very least, it should renew and restore so that you can face the daily madness with a bit more grace under fire. Future Ancients delivers. Give it a try!