[This post may be best experienced with speakers hooked up.]
Can we only experience God in a Cathedral or Sunday service? Do we need silence or meditation? If we’re searching with our hearts we might find *Him anywhere, but one powerful place is Music.
Now, I want to tell you a secret. When I’m waiting at the bike light you’ll find me tapping beats on my brakes. Sure, it’s a normal sight, but you probably don’t imagine I’m exploding internally. Amidst the peace and silence “outside”, there’s rowdy beats and wild noise inside me.
Drum & Bass is a raw and aggressive music style, full of fast, crazy beats. It’s like a jungle amidst petting zoos. And while there are mellow versions, e.g. jazz, ambient, reggae and jungle, we’d be remiss to deny the darker, explosive stuff.
When I listen, I see God letting Loose. Can you imagine what it looks like when Justice floods the Earth? What does it take to set every captive of every thing free? What does it look like when oppression is obliterated and strongholds of inequality, slavery, torture, injustice are demolished?
Through D&B I glimpse God like War. A Wild Volcano, Lava, Lightning and Thunder. There can be dark or even frightening elements, but even the Bible references God like a fire-breathing dragon delivering those crying out. (For every time anyone cried out but experienced no help, be sure, the God of Love also knows/Owns Vengeance).
The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet… (Psalm 18:7-9)
Anyone who only sees God as Peaceful Mountain may want to allow their heart to contemplate the horrors and oppression in this world…
Drum & Bass doesn’t hold back, and anyone familiar knows its best when it goes Insane (read: hot mess, read: God is a Consuming Fire). There are war cries on many of these tracks. The pain and longing in our hearts for freedom, the glimpses of our infinity, these things can be audible…
[Below is a sort history of D&B, albeit from the Moving Shadow record label. Check 1:07:00 through 1:13:00 for some raw sound. The second clip contains beats at the beach. Around 01:2:22 is a special treat with a rewind, a lovely throwback to those who know about a climax…)
How do I know God loves Drum and Bass? Because I love it with no hate or harm for another. And I’m a real, albeit tiny reflection of a part of God, so I believe that’s a piece of *Him too.
But religion eclipses our view of God and I’ve been told God prefers to be revered with more traditional, “churchy” sounds. I ask you: Does God desire reverence or something deeper like friendship and love?
The Amen Beat: Also known as the “Amen Break.” Arguably the bedrock of Drum & Bass, a drum solo sampled from the 1960’s funk/soul track, “Amen Brother” by The Winstons.
And would God confine *Himself to a certain sound? Isn’t that like saying one color of the rainbow is better than the rest? Do orchestras only have string sections? The diversity or human sound, culture, style and flavor only scratches the surface of the Diversity of God.
Don’t dare confine me– how much less God?
Religion fights Freedom: In my initial crazyness for God I began pushing out things not blatantly ‘God.’ D&B was one of the first victims and my husband and I sold our turntables, hundreds of records, and the beats that initially brought us together became a pasttime. I didn’t realize I was throwing away pieces of my very heart and soul, not to mention part of my own unique and crazy connection with the Heavenlies. What are yours? Thankfully God can’t do without us…
Listening to a sick beat can sometimes make your face wince, as if in pain. Coincidentally something similar can happen in moments of ecstasy too.
So for everyone who learned God was boring or basking in angel harp melodies, and to every D&B artist or enthusiast who felt limited even in this relatively wild and free music form, please contemplate the music and dancing of the universe– from roaring waves to aurora borrealis, marching ants and the beats of our hearts, the rushing of blood, the clapping of lashes, the breathing of the ocean…
And when the world tries to box or divide us, remember a favorite concert or jam session: there’s no race, creed, age, gender, culture when we rock. We’re One.
Whoever told you heaven was going to be boring never experienced the NYC underground after the 9 to 5 grind.
Above any music style or sound, this is the thing:
100% unflinching Love.
Let’s think bigger about God. We may be standing too close to the Elephant..
*I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ (for lack of a better word), as evidenced through the Bible and blatantly by the human race. If you want to contemplate more, check this two-part post, “Transgender God,” here).
Some more on God, Music and Freedom:
#GodSingsBieber – Hearing God on the Airwaves
God’s Glass Elevator (did you think you could only meet God in church?)
Stay the Same or Show Up?
Are you the Black Sheep? God get’s you
Born to Be Free – #WildKidsWildGod Series
Submissive God? – 3 bible Verses Exposing Mankind’s Freedom that May Blow Your Mind
[“Can’t Punish Me” – Dom & Roland – One of the many records we sold, and the first D&B track God used to demolish the “Christian” wall I built around my heart. When listening now, I envision some creative world history, eg God exploding *His Heart into all creation, the pain of seeing mankind wrecking everything and each other, people crying out for Intervention, and even Jesus stepping up to take blame (the 4:24-4:56 moment, like the Hebrews 9:11 moment). Yet even as the track concludes we still hear/see/feel the war between good and evil/love and hate isn’t over.]
And for something different – “Brother Moon” by Gungor, encouraging, atleast me, to experience, love and wonder/awe God in everything…
And, as I write, I’m listening to this, some seriously SICK Beats and mixes on this, including from 17:55
*I can never make a good play list, but here’s another I enjoy–some ambient, electro, jungle, and ofcourse dark notes: Tech Itch, “Elevation” (VIP)
-Cover photo inspired by an graphic I saw online but can longer find or identify. That lovely sentiment, ‘When I grow up I want to be a Junglist like you’ is not my own.
-Still of Elevator busting out of the Willy Wonka’s factory from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” movie.
-Beautiful water color of Rumi quote made by and found on http://harrietemily.com/rumi-quotes/