This is just some brief dialogue and the intro to the astounding “Here Is What Is” album by Daniel Lanois. It is so much more, however, as Brian Eno discusses in these 25 seconds the intense meaning he garnered upon obtaining an ornate chest of drawers. As he expresses: “If I followed the message of this little set of drawers, and built everything else around that, that would be a different life.” The idea of one significant object or idea being the foundation for a new perspective or change resonated with me with quickness.
As an adult, I have moved home to live with family 4 times. In total, I have moved 13 times since I was 22. I have sold off an enormous chunk of a large record collection. I have pared down my life so that it barely fits in my pockets. My longing for steadiness and my own homestead runs deep. I usually get back on my feet within a matter of months but not recently. I often think if I stumble upon a rusty jewelry box in an antique store or some weird artwork at the thrift shop that “this… could be the beginning of a new life for me.”
Hearing this bit at the beginning of the record always feels right. The songs that follow this heartening reflection on a piece of furniture open a lot of doors and offer new worlds of sound and musicianship. I will prevail with or without my own spirited chest of drawers guiding me, but what a beautiful story Eno has shared here.
Please do check out the entire album. The music and conversations on the album work in tandem with the companion documentary about the songs, collaborators, and the music ranges from warm notes of pedal steel to gospel choir. Daniel Lanois is a prolific producer but I find his own recordings to be far too underrated. “Here Is What Is” is just so nourishing.
(Song recommendation by K Weber)