Number 1: Inception – The Beginning

With Stillness in Concert, I return to the source of my childhood in the Bijlmer. As a child, I spent hours in my room listening to the music of Scarlatti, Mozart, Baden Powell, and Bach. I found it enchanting and alienating, this music from another universe. It would rise from the subtle grooves of a spinning record like steam escaping from the cracks of a volcano. It was a world into which I suddenly tumbled, with the album cover image serving as a postcard from a distant land. The image and the music together formed exciting, melancholic, or romantic stories, depending on how I felt.

When I looked out the window and saw the treetops silhouetted against the gray concrete apartment buildings, or when it was dark and the car lights on the ring road moved, these two worlds came together and amplified each other in their strangeness. Sometimes, my chest felt too small for the overwhelming emotions that engulfed me.

Even when I rode my bike to school or music lessons during the day, fragments of the music echoed in my head, transforming the image of the apartment buildings, with their balconies and galleries, into Don Quixote’s windmills. The symmetrical infrastructure, designed not to get lost, turned into an exciting route, with the straight canals and concrete bridges becoming adventurous mordents.

My bike tires hummed melodiously on the asphalt, accompanied by the subtle taps of the gravel on the path, like hair on a bald head. The snippets of kaseko music from the speakers of an apartment, the drone of low-flying air traffic, the singing lessons of Surinamese birds, the Twa Twa’s, and my inner record player all came together in a rich contrapuntal journey.