I can’t recommend watching this documentary about Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli enough. It’s called The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, and you can find it online with English subtitles if you look hard enough, or you can wait til this fall, when it should be getting an actual US release.

There’s a profoundness and simplicity to all of it that welled up tears in my eyes throughout the film. If anything, it’s a look into Miyazaki and how he lives and works and thinks and just the bundles of contradictions and modes of expression that filter through him. And it’s an examination of an animation studio with a near unblemished 29 year, 20 film track record, which should fascinate someone who has never even heard of them.

Plus, Hideaki Anno is featured pretty prominently, which is a nice added bonus! 

(And that’s to say nothing of Ushiko, the super cute cat that lives in the studio)

Philip Glass - “RUNAWAY HORSES (‘poetry written with a splash of blood’)”

From the Mishima soundtrack

This is an album that I came to long before I knew much about Philip Glass, no more than his name. And certainly long before I knew about the movie or Yukio Mishima, now both ranking high on my favorite movie and author lists. I want to say I came across it on Hipinion, but maybe that’s where I place all of my non-WZBC music discoveries since 2004.

The entire album is one I come back to moreso now than any of Glass’ works I’ve explored; it’s a perennial background listen of mine, fitting studying sessions and writing and cleaning dishes and car rides. I wouldn’t consider that a knock, I find it the most charming and lovely aspect of his compositions. The use of repetition just mesmerizes.

But I came across this song today on my ride on the subway home. Outside of some albums for work and must haves, I like to Auto-Fill my iPhone and keep it on shuffle. It’s sort of weird self-rule that I try to keep at all times, a way to keep my music hoarding in check or maybe to justify it, like I’m always listening to something new. But back to the subway today. This is the longest song in the album, nearly double the second longest. It moves through the thoughts and emotions of the entire movie, really opens up at times, pulls back sudden. It was one of those moments when you listen to music and you feel that back of the head feeling. ASMR moments, basically. More specifically today, it shook out a specific time and place and image in my head- this one wasn’t attached the album or movie. I forget what it was, even.

But that’s to say, sometimes you remember why music can mean so much to people, because everyone comes to so many different types and kinds in so many different kinds of ways and it all comes back to some unnamed feeling, something that is untapped by most other things in life. What this song drew out of my today was a real deep melancholy, honestly. I listened to it a few more times on my walk home. Exploring it, finding what it was. And I’m still not sure exactly what was there. And that’s fine. It just feels really wonderful that it’s going to keep happening over and over, with other pieces of music.