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19 October 2016 @ 06:40 pm
I was lucky enough to see a-ha eight times during the 'Cast in Steel' tour, starting with the rehearsal concert in Drammen before the tour began, and ending with the final six shows in Norway. Every time I saw them, I had this quote somewhere in the back of my head from an interview in 2010:

'[...] Magne talks about 'The Living Daylights', how a-ha chose their name, and about the band's disintegration in 1993:

"I think we all felt a little bit battle fatigued. I know certainly from my point of view, I was really sick of fame. I got to a point where you understand why people get lost with their success. Success stops meaning something to you, it becomes something that empties you out, instead of fills you."

"It's hard for people to understand if you haven't been in that position. It's interesting because I had a long talk with Chris Martin about that in Barcelona a few weeks ago. And I said that, I said you have to find a way back into enjoying going on stage every night. Because you put out so much energy that in the end you stop taking something back. And when you stop taking something back, it gradually hollows you out and takes things out of you." '

Obviously I am not a performer myself, so I can only guess at all this description encompasses - between the hours/days/months on the road, the time away from loved ones and the things that in your normal daily life give you energy and connection and a sense of purpose, the effort spent practicing and developing a stage show the fans will enjoy, the lonely dressing rooms, which are necessary to give you time and space to prepare and decompress, and the eager audience you greet every night - you try to give them a good concert experience, putting a ton of energy out on stage, and then you may feel compelled to give even more of yourself on an individual level when approached by fans outside the venue or at the hotel - it's no wonder the end result can be a kind of emptiness if you can't find balance in it somewhere.

The key to finding the balance could be perspective: on the one hand you might feel like all you do is for other people, and people want more and more of you, and they don't care if you've had a good time or if you felt any connection or if you are proud of the performance you've given; on the other hand, you can allow the audience's enthusiasm to lift and fill you up, you can match your energy to theirs to create a kind of connection and shared experience, and you can receive greetings and appreciation with an open heart and maybe actually feel a fleeting, tenuous friendship with those you meet. The situation itself doesn't change, but your response to it does. One response drains you, one response fills you up - and the beauty is that you can adjust your own perspective, so that you can be conscious that you have received something in the process of giving so much of yourself, and you were not just emptied out.

We could probably all apply that perspective to many aspects of life, and be much better for it :-) We don't always receive the acknowledgement we hope for after working hard and putting our heart into things; in that case it is up to us to find ways to confirm for ourselves that we're making a difference for others, and that will keep us energized.

Anyway, when I read that quote from Magne back in late 2010, I couldn't help but look back on recent shows and recognize that the guys in general did seem pretty hollowed out. They performed with energy and gave it all they had, but there was a spark missing and I think that was only natural when they were approaching an ending. There was so much pressure on the final tour, I am sure they were very relieved when it was over.

The band we saw on the 'Cast In Steel' tour was definitely energized again, and even at the end when you'd expect everyone to be tired and ready for a break, I got the impression that Magne at least had somehow maintained that balance throughout the tour and was not at all 'hollowed out'. I heard so many stories over the past year about how Magne played and sang his heart out on stage and then was warm and gracious when meeting fans, how he seemed to be really embracing the experience - which some people were surprised about, given that he was apparently the one who wanted a-ha to end before. Maybe people thought he only reunited with the band because of FOMO/ego/money/whatever, and were worried he wouldn't be as engaged as before, but I knew that isn't possible for Magne - if he's in, he's in all the way.

All the stories I heard about band interaction on this tour reminded me of the vibes I got from the 'Lifelines' tour. I read all of the over 160 fan reviews on a-ha.com at the time, as well as everyone's posts on the international mailing list, and the common thread seemed to be that the guys were having a good time and engaging with the fans a lot. There was one fan story in particular that has stuck with me all these years, I had to go back and find it so I could quote from it here (but seriously, follow the link and read the whole thing!):

After the fantastic concert, I decided to go along with some friends to the hotel where the band was staying. I admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it wouldn’t hurt going there. Arriving there, I imagined seeing many security people and bodyguards everywhere or something like that. I was completely surprised to see Mags and Paul totally at ease, among some people, in the hotel’s lobby. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And Mags was wearing socks and slippers! That couldn’t be real…

My friends, much faster than I was, went right to ask for autographs and some pictures of the guys. Maybe because I was so nervous, who knows, I walked really slowly towards Mags. Everything was coming across my head: “What if he distreats me?”, “What if he doesn’t answer me?”, “Am I with a good breath?”. I was so afraid of getting disappointed… I didn’t want, in any way, to destroy the good image that I had created about him. It had been years and years of admiring and respecting. I wasn’t prepared to find out that my biggest idol wasn’t “that much”. But as soon as I called him, he turned to me with a wide smile and returned my few words of appreciation and admiring with a unique kindness. If I already was a fan of this remarkable musician and artist, at that moment, I started being a much bigger one of the human being he showed me to be. He was no longer a simple image on my CD’s covers. I had his autograph and we took pictures together. More than everything, I had his attention. Socks and slippers. I just couldn’t believe it…

How wonderful is that? Juan expresses here what I think many fans feel when they approach their idols, I couldn't really say it any better. And Magne's response to him is seemingly his normal way of interacting with fans - it is actually a very rare story when someone says he seemed too preoccupied to talk or was a bit short with them, and often they acknowledged it was not the best time to approach (like in an airport or in an 'off duty' setting). People have described him approaching them when he could tell they were too shy to come up to him; how he stopped his car outside venues to greet fans when the other guys went straight in; how he remembered them and even details about them from previous meetings (one woman said he asked after her mother, who had been ill when they met briefly a year previous..!).

For myself, I remember seeing Magne after a concert in London, and feeling a bit nervous about approaching him. He actually came up to me and said, 'Hi, I'm Magne' with such a warm smile and his hand extended to shake mine. As you can imagine, I was a bit stunned that he would introduce himself to me, after all I was at the show and had to know who he was. It was such an unexpected act of graciousness and kindness to bridge the gap between us that way.

(Small aside - whenever I hear 'Ignited' by Martin Halla, the lyrics 'I'm delighted / that you know my name' remind me of that meeting in London. Mostly I can absolutely relate to that feeling of gratitude and humility when you get the chance to meet someone you admire so much; but also because Magne was humble enough to introduce himself and make me feel as if he did actually care that I was there. And that isn't just my story, I have heard it many times from others.)

All this to say that whatever Magne is doing to ensure he is 'taking something back' and maintaining his energy and enthusiasm for touring seems to be working for him. I hope this means he had as good a time as I did at the shows, and that there will be more concerts in the near future (solo or with either of his bands).

Now seriously, go read that fan review from Juan :-)
30 June 2016 @ 09:58 am
Jumping over here quickly to share this short clip I just found from the Apparatjik show 'Day of the Dead' at Festpillene i Bergen earlier this month:

It's great to see at least one video from the concert! Love the visual effects and Buika's voice adds another awesome dimension.
13 June 2016 @ 12:50 pm
Hey folks, sorry to be so uncharacteristically quiet here lately. There is so much going on in Magne's world that you'd think I'd be blogging at length fairly often. Believe me, it's tempting! ;-)

At the very least, those of you who know me well and/or have followed for a while probably expected me to post a link to this picture as soon as it appeared ten days ago: https://www.instagram.com/p/BGM5gPGP8L8/

Seriously one of the coolest pictures ever ;-) So disappointed I couldn't make it to Bergen for the 'Day of the Dead' performance, but a few things got in the way that were out of my control. I would have loved to have been there, though!

Ok, so now I've done the predictable thing, and unfortunately that's all I have time for until I get through a backlog of web work elsewhere online. Which means I will have 'missed the moment' of posting here about some very important and interesting and inspiring things going on in Magne's career right now, but for sure I am keeping track of as much as possible for the archive site.

More soon, and in the meantime I hope you're all having a great summer so far!
15 May 2016 @ 04:40 pm
My recording of 'Lifelines' in Stavanger on May 6:

Unfortunately the quality is not as good as I'd hoped. I thought that recording from the back of the hall would show all the lighted mobiles, but they were all facing forward (duh!).

Anyway, there are so few clips from either night in Stavanger that I decided to share it so people could get another impression from the gigs :-)
21 December 2015 @ 11:40 pm

If you haven't heard it yet, go listen to this:

I love this song :-) No time to write a proper post, but I wanted to be sure you all saw/heard it!

Flags In The Air
Words and Music: Magne F

you’ll be rewarded
you will be paid
you’ll be compensated
– that’s what you said
don’t ask directions
just follow the sound
what goes in a circle
will always come round

all is connected
and everything’s one
whoever you followed to get here
was led here by some
but their time is over
and our time is soon here
i made you a promise
and some day, i swear;

we will be waving flags in the air
they will be saying that we are
the stupid ones – we don’t care
cuz we will be flying, we will be free
give us the best that you’ve got
and just watch – we still believe
and the halls will ring with our laughter

we’ll be together
for one perfect day
i’ll take what you offer
and then, knowing me,
i’ll throw it away
you’re looking for reasons
we’re flesh and we’re bone
we live for a glorious moment of light
then we are gone

but we will be waving flags in the air
they will be saying that we are the
stupid ones – we don’t care
cuz we will be flying, we will be free
we’ll take on the best they can offer
and still, we will believe
yeah, we still believe

and the halls will ring with our laughter
yes, the halls will ring with our laughter
18 December 2015 @ 12:59 am
I was in Oslo last weekend for the Nobel concert, which was a really great experience. The show was at the Telenor Arena, just next door to Fornebuporten and the 'Imprints' tile installation.

After the show was over, I went over to see the tiles in the atrium. Almost everyone leaving the arena at that time continued past on the ground level, either unaware or uninterested in the tiles - except for one woman who went downstairs a short time after me and stayed for a while looking at each letter, much like I did back in September :-)

It was really nice to be there at night with the lighted tree and that special quiet of a crisp, cold evening. I didn't spend a long time there, just visited a couple of favorite spots and then went up the stairs on the other side to take a couple of pictures from above:

I thought it would be fun to put together some random thoughts around a theme, so they might actually make sense all together - strange for me, I know ;-)

~ I wouldn't blame you if you were wondering if I ever plan to update my Magne F fan site, especially after all the (boring and/or technical) posts about the process of building it a few years ago. Things have been so busy on other fronts, but that doesn't mean I have forgotten one of my favorite projects - I've been keeping track of media links and dates, related projects, etc., but I haven't had time to do much with all of that lately. However in August I started on drafts for 10-12 posts that would get me caught up on this year's content, with the intention of going back to the more distant archive content later on. It is now 'later on' and my new goal is to have all my 2015 posts online by the end of the year, and then to try to stay current as things happen. The true archive stuff amounts to another 25-30 posts perhaps, and maybe after the a-ha tour is over I can spend some time tackling those. And now that I've put all this in print, I'll have to really try to stick to it!

There is a web analytics tool installed on the site, so I can see what kind of repeat traffic there is and what posts people are interested in. It's good to see that people are still visiting the site! It isn't as much traffic as other fan sites get, no doubt because of the lack of new posts, but I believe it is worth keeping up the site, for an audience of even a few. So to sum up: thank you to those of you who have visited there in hopes of new posts, and I definitely haven't abandoned the project.

~Just a quick mention of Magne's songs on the new a-ha album for now: I think they're all great, my favorites change from day to day, but 'Mythomania' and 'Giving Up The Ghost' seem to be the ones I skip to most often. It's interesting that they all have a somewhat dark feel to them (apart from 'The End Of The Affair' on the bonus disc), and while there is a nostalgia theme that crops up in various lyrics, don't look for any warm fuzzies here. There are barriers everywhere, some literal and some emotional, and as always the bonds between people in Magne's songs are complex and layered. More time with the lyrics may bring about new revalations (see my previous post ;-)), but for now I get the impression the overall message is one of 'no love lost'. That's not a negative statement, by the way; it's just about clarity and honesty, which definitely have their place.

~ Speaking of 'no love lost', I might as well finally admit that there is one song of Magne's that I do not like at all: 'Little Angels'. Early on this became a skipper for me, although I can't really explain why. I love the darkness, I love the way he evokes light and shadow, I am all about sinister notes and intricate mental landscapes. I should LOVE this song, but for some reason it rubs me the wrong way. The funny thing is that I remember in forum discussions back in the day that people thought 'little angels' meant people who help you, people who care about you, and that you are never truly alone because there are people ready to stand beside you; but I always saw them as people who drain you and take from you, people who welcome you in but not for the right reasons. The angels are obligations, they are regrets, they are weaknesses, they are fears. Maybe I am understanding it completely wrong, but until I know better, this song holds the distinction of being the only song by Magne that I actively avoid listening to.

Changing gears a bit:

~ If you want to see love: go here and here. There are bound to be more examples, these are fairly recent ones that were easy to find ;-)

~ If you want to hear love: go find 'Envelop Me' (Past Perfect Future Tense), 'More Than Good Enough' (A Dot Of Black In The Blue Of Your Bliss) and 'Everybody's Angel' (Martin Halla - Winter Days). Unfortunately I can't find links to listen to these because the tracks aren't on YouTube or US Spotify or US iTunes - but maybe wherever you are, you can find them on digital music sites in your country :-)

I haven't written about these three songs, because I don't think I can put into words what the kindness, understanding and tenderness mean to me. They're all beautiful songs, though, go listen and see if you agree.

~ The other day I saw this quote: "If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die." When an artist shares their love with others via music, poetry and art, in a way they make their love immortal - what a beautiful idea. Imagine listening to a song beloved by thousands and knowing it's about you; imagine looking at a massive ceramic sculture and seeing words, thoughts, feelings you inspired stamped there for anyone to see throughout the years, even beyond the span of your own lifetime; imagine being loved by an artist. So little has been said in the media and in art books/catalogues about the personal inspirations in Magne's life, despite quite a lot being written about the works themselves. Still, I suddenly feel grateful to Heidi (and Thomas and Filip) for being such an inspiration to him, and for supporting him as much as they do while he is busy creating music and art that continues to touch and inspire me (and so many others).

~ If you haven't seen this video yet, it's a really interesting look at Magne's creative process. I'd love to see more videos like this!

~ Last weekend was Magne's birthday! There are a ton of birthday greetings for him over on Facebook, you can add your own here. Also I had to share this photo - obviously two of my personal heroes have the same idea! ;-)

22 September 2015 @ 02:32 pm
In order to conserve storage space on my iPhone for my trip to Norway, I removed my usual 500+ track playlist of songs and made a travel playlist consisting of:

a-ha / 'Cast In Steel' (because it came out the day before I left! woo!)
Magne / 'Musikk fra filmen Beatles' (because I can't be without it)
Tini / 'Send My Star' (also can't be without this)
Martin Halla / 'Winter Days' (ditto)
Mat Kearney / 'Just Kids' (since I am seeing him in a couple of weeks)
Mew / '+-' (since I am seeing them in a couple of weeks)

With such a small playlist on shuffle, especially since Magne contributed songs on four of the albums, I couldn't help making some new connections. Such as:

'All we ever had is gone' < - ? - > 'The end of the affair'

Granted, the Tini track has multiple songwriters listed, so we don't know which parts Magne contributed specifically, but the theme is very similar to the a-ha track. There is also the fact that both songs sound upbeat/positive on the surface, and with different lyrics could be quite lovely, warm songs - however the lyrics are terribly sad and deeply personal in both cases. The songs are about the end of long term relationships ('we let the life we had unwind' / 'memories of early warning signs'), looking back with regret at what has been lost, but with full acceptance of the sad fact that there is nothing left to save. There is dignity and respect there, these are mature and well developed reflections on endings, which makes them even more poignant in light of the warm melodies.

With Morten's intimate vocals and the sweeping, caressing intro melody, 'The end of the affair' sounds like it belongs to a wonderful story that is still in progress, not a sorrowful farewell to a past love ('here we are in somber silence').
(I would dearly love to hear a demo with Magne doing the vocals, but that might actually make my heart explode, so perhaps it's best that I'll never hear it!) In any case, both of these songs have unexpected themes in juxtaposition with the melodies, which I was aware of before but somehow the smaller playlist brought about a new realization.

For once I am not going to dwell on loss or sadness; instead I'll explain what is so belated about all of this. Remember this post? I think that was the first time I mentioned wanting to hear a 'happy' song from Magne, in whatever form that might take. And before my trip a couple of weeks ago, I thought there wasn't a happy song from Magne out there - with the possible exception of 'Illuminate the Sky', which he did contribute to and is surely upbeat and awesome and hopeful, but I heard from someone 'in the know' that Lowell was the main songwriter on that one - but now I think I may have found an elusive happy (for Magne) track.

Listen again to 'Ignited' by Martin Halla. This one is also cowritten with others, Espen Gulbrandsen and Martin Terefe, but I have a strong feeling the lyrics are mostly Magne's:

I was over
I was through
I was sinking
Then came you

I was into the pity game
My mind stuck in a sad refrain
But you

Like a drop of dew I fall
my tragedy the curtain call

I´m delighted
I´m delighted
That you know my name
I´m ignited
I´m ignited
Finally again

I was over
I was through
I would sink into
A state of gloom

Beating myself up again
My mind stuck in a sad refrain
About you

But sudden drops of rain can fall
And seeing you can change it all

I´m delighted
I´m delighted
That you know my name
I´m ignited
I´m ignited
Finally again

I didn´t know what I was looking for
I pictured you inside my mind
And found a strength I never felt before
So stop wasting time
Let´s stop wasting time
I´m ignited

I´m ignited
I´m delighted
That you know my name
I´m ignited
I´m ignited
Finally again
I´m excited
I´m excited
Now I´m in the game
I´m ignited
I´m ignited
Finally again

I've always liked the song in general but never *really* understood it before now. And maybe this is because the music is deceptively dark and brooding sounding, and the phrase 'so stop wasting time' always seemed to me to be an admonishment of sorts - and not in a positive way. His emotional state in the beginning is fairly depressing, but now I realize the song looks backward only long enough to explain the state of sadness he came from, so that we can fully understand his excitement and happiness at this newly discovered possibility; the majority of the song is about not wanting to wait any longer to move into the future and all it holds for them both.

I now finally understand the song is about finding a renewed passion for life ('now I'm in the game'), recognizing a soul mate ('I pictured you inside my mind / And found a strength I never felt before') and being open to hope and to change ('Seeing you can change it all'). The simple humility and gratitude in the repeated lines 'I'm delighted / that you know my name' is really wonderful, and of course being 'ignited' signals energy and passion and beginnings.

And now, with all that in perspective, the line 'let's stop wasting time' has changed from what I thought was a disappointment-laden and backwards looking statement, to being a positive and inclusive forwards looking promise: let's acknowledge our feelings and make a fresh start together. Let's be ignited together.

Amazing how assumptions and understanding can evolve over time, isn't it? I had never considered this song 'happy', but now I think it may well be one of Magne's happiest songs, because it is full of hope and energy and possibility. It wouldn't be Magne without 'a dot of black' and the look back provides that, but I still think the real focus is on the future and on this new love.

I guess I should be a little embarassed that all of this only just occurred to me, but instead I'll focus on how nice it was to make a new discovery :-)
21 September 2015 @ 12:24 am
I expect I'll post a lot about Magne's sculpture park project in the coming year or so. I think the works are all part of 'Imprints', but I may be wrong about that. Until I know otherwise, though, that's what I'll call them for simplicity :-)

Last Sunday I returned from a week in Norway. I went over for an a-ha event, and was lucky enough to be able to spend a few more days there than I normally would, which was great. I had heard that although the sculpture park won't officially open until next summer, some of Magne's works are already installed at Fornebuporten, where the park - as well as office and living space, shops and more - are being constructed. So on a beautiful Friday morning, I went out to Fornebuporten to see what I could.

You can see a rendering of the buildings and surrounding area here. When I arrived, it was mid-morning and fairly quiet apart from some construction noise. Building A is still very much under construction, fenced off with materials stacked inside, but Building B is occupied. A local friend had told me to walk down into the Atrium to see some tile works embedded in the sidewalk/pavement there, and that inside Building B, the reception desk had been transformed by one of Magne's sculptures.

Those two brief descriptions didn't do the works justice, and neither will my description here - in part because I don't want to publish too much about it too soon. As it's still under construction, and there hasn't been much media so far about Magne's works there, I sort of feel like sharing too much now would be spoiler-ish, and I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone planning to go next year when the park officially opens.

That said, I did post several photos on Instagram if you want a peek:

the buildings and the location where one of the huge jars will be installed next year
'Imprints' text in the tile
couldn't resist putting together these two segments of an Apparatjik lyric
part of the letter 'n'
another small part of the works

(and another related photo, I believe this was taken at Fornebuporten, when the early installation work was done?)

About the tile work in the atrium, the photos above should give you a good idea of the format concept; I have deliberately not included an overhead photo to show the complete layout ;-) But yes, as you may have guessed or heard elsewhere, these tiles are in letter shapes across the area in the atrium. The atrium includes a grocery store, a beauty salon, and a couple of other stores which have not opened yet. As I walked around to look at each letter, people came and went across the pavement, walking with purpose from point A to point B, rarely looking down as I was. Initially I felt a little out of place there, making a deliberate and methodical study of the art - and taking copious photos and videos so I could revisit the works after I returned home - all while people went about their daily work or errands, seemingly unconcerned about the difference between a colorful glazed letter-imprinted tile and the regular nondescript paving stones.

But then I reminded myself that these tiles have a purpose and an expression, and were painstakingly designed, created, laid out and embedded seamlessly within the pavement so that they *could* be looked at, should a pedestrian want to. So after my initial feeling of awkwardness at dwelling so long over each letter, I gave myself up to it and spent as long as I wanted to. I read every word, I looked at things from different angles, I smiled happily whenever recognition struck me in unexpected ways. Each letter can be experienced by itself of course, and all together they present yet another experience.

I really don't want to give too much away about the tiles themselves, at least not this early, so a lot of what I want to share will have to wait for a bit. I can say that I was surprised by how much even this 'incomplete' experience touched me. One of the letters actually moved me to tears, right there on the spot - I had to pause and blink them away, lifting my eyes from the ground to a neutral point for a moment before I could see clearly again. I can't remember any other work of art or poetry that has done that to me.

After I spent time looking at each letter, I settled down on a bench to eat a sandwich and an apple I had brought with me from my hotel. It really was a beautiful morning, and why not enjoy my lunch surrounded by art? :-) Then I went up to ground level and walked over to Building B. Along the way I spotted what must be a rough-in for several scultpures yet to be installed; I imagine there are several of these little 'zones' laid out around the complex. Inside Building B is the reception desk sculpture Magne created, which is very colorful and much larger than I expected. Here I didn't feel comfortable spending as much time as I wanted to, mostly because by this point it was lunch time and employees were walking through the area on their way to the cafeteria or to take their lunch outside to eat. I would recommend timing a visit for a less busy time of day, for sure!

In all I took 125 photos and 30 videos while I was there, and that with only one small portion of the works installed! I am glad I had that opportunity to look at them before the crowds at the opening next summer - I'll take awkward and alone over crowded, distracted and frustrated anyday ;-)

If you live near enough to make the trip, or will travel to Oslo in the coming months, I would recommend visiting Fornebuporten to see the works yourself even if the rest of the sculptures are not yet installed. And if you have no chance to go there, for whatever reason, I will post my photos at some point once I feel it wouldn't be spoiler-ish to share them :-)
27 August 2015 @ 12:22 am
Someone on the forum was asking about the 'Beatles' soundtrack and wondering if it would ever be available outside Norway. They wanted something new from one of the guys to listen to while waiting for the a-ha album.

Since it doesn't look like it will be released outside Norway, I mentioned that it is possible to get a Norwegian iTunes account, and shared this link so they could look into it. I really hope they manage to download it, legally, and then post their thoughts about it; too few people have discussed the album on any of the sites I go to, which makes me worry that it has been sadly under-appreciated overall. The album deserves much more attention that it received IMO, and of course it would be good to discuss it with others.

I don't have time right now to post about the album in any detail, but here is what I wrote last year:

"I got the Beatles soundtrack last month and I love all of it. It really is something special, do check it out! My favorite track is 'She ignores me, no no no', which from the first listen and every one since has transported me to a peaceful morning exploring on my own in the suburbs of Oslo back in 2004, complete with birds singing, white painted fences, Norwegian flags snapping in the breeze and crystal blue skies - it was an experience I hadn't thought about in years, and yet the music without fail takes me there and calms me down."

A few weeks after I wrote that, I went to Norway, and listened to the soundtrack on shuffle/repeat while driving around on the west coast. And now when I listen to the album, I see in my mind's eye the mountains, trees, fjords and bridges; the rain-misted rocky shores, and the beautiful nighttime twinkle of star- and heart-shaped tin window lanterns in many of the homes. I am so attached to the album that I generally stopped listening to it while my father was ill during the winter, to protect my associations with the music; I didn't want my bond with the songs to change and always remind me of the worry and stress I was feeling at the time.

Long story short, I do want to encourage anyone who is even a little bit interested to find a way to get their hands on the album. It is absolutely brilliant. I listen to it several times a week, and the music transports me every time.