One of my favorite downtempo artists recently came out with a wicked new set of tracks. Evan Marc is Bluetech, a Portland-based synth sorcerer, who whips up modest tunes and chords that leave my head spinning for days. Here are some samples of his older work.

In the movie Ring of Bright Water, there is a picturesque set where the hero and heroine are looking over a beautiful scene together. The hero sighs finally and says, “I really must get back to work. I can’t keep idling the rest of my life.” The heroine replies, “Why not, if it serves a purpose?”

Just what the purpose was is not very explicit, but that’s part of the story’s charm. I don’t think she was against the hero having a purpose, but against the attitude the he should always have a purpose. I think she would agree that having a purpose might sometimes serve a very useful purpose, just as spontaneity can sometimes serve a grand purpose too.

I have also found it extremely hostile and destructive to ask another person what their purpose is. I am thinking of those who ask “Why would you want to learn philosophy or art?” Isn’t it enough to want to learn them? The presumption is that philosophy and art are purposeless, or meaningless. Similarly, the question “What do you do?” is not “What sorts of things are you enjoying lately?” It’s “What is your relation to the means of production in our society and how much social capital do you have compared to me?”

I have traveled far from the topic. What I am suggesting is that music can transcend this nightmarish duality of purpose and purposelessness. When I’m listening to a hypnotic scenescape it’s as if I am unlocking the secret groove to the universe, a balancing act between work and play; a place in the mind where you can move headway through work like a school of fish. Like coffee, only less wiry… It also distracts me immensely from my work. Damn, I can’t idle all day listening to Bluetech and Boards of Canada. Somebody please tell me to chill out because it’s only a Saturday.