Posts tagged ‘Music’

February 25, 2010

‘Ground Control to Major Tom…’

by George

Have you ever listened to silence…complete and utter silence.  You might think that you have, but you haven’t.

This is nearly impossible on earth because we do not live within a vacuum.  Even the slightest vibration disturbs and propagates through airwaves enough to defeat silence.  But this is not a science lesson.

And while there is no sound in all the vast reaches of outer space, there is a lot of sound about space; it even has its own sub-genre if you wanna get picky about it (see Space Rock). And despite being a completely silent place itself, we are so intrigued by this unknown world that we have created sonic representations of how we imagine the galaxies to sound.

Any unknown, whether it be a person, place, etc., makes the best theme for a piece of music because there are no boundaries; it’s not something that everyone knows, has seen, experienced or can define.  It leaves itself open to for the utmost personal interpretation and does not limit creativity with harsh reality or preconceived ideas.  Space, to some degree, represents and defines the limits of our human understanding: we describe something/someone out-there as spacey; we space out when not paying attention.  Anything beyond the boundaries of normalcy must be from outer space.

While all music can be an escape from everyday life, there are certain compositions that offer an even farther refuge from this world…one Beyond the Infinite.

So what does rock and roll sound like in space.   It varies slightly depending on which artist you ask, but generally speaking HUGE.  It appears there are few subtleties amongst the stars.  Large, sustaining notes that stretch far into the stars; unlimited reverberations and echoes of sound from a distant planet; an intoxicating, lush swirl of sound; droning loud & distorted tones; a sputtering sequence of synthetic and alien bleeps and blurts.

Each of the instruments used to create this cosmic symphony serves a purpose: the percussion propels the listener’s vessel into deep space like a steady rocket; you feel the pulse of the bass and sub-low frequencies as you climb farther into darkness and then, you see the vivid and colorful guitar and vocal tones and textures of melody and harmony, like the bright astral bodies that litter the galaxies and pass by you on your interstellar voyage.

Pink Floyd, while speeding through the cosmos in Interstellar Overdrive, decided to Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun and took a few albums to come back to self-reflective reality here on Earth.  ‘Surely’, said Hawkwind, ‘Space is Deep‘ as they rode along in their Silver Machine until they heard Earth Calling.  Blue Oyster Cult is another well-versed student of Astronomy.  Even Black Sabbath have travelled Into the Void and beyond to Planet Caravan.

It’s liberating to listen to these sounds and mental place oneself outside the world as we know it; to carry only your imagination with you and be transported from reality.  I doubt that any record made about the confining atmosphere and gravity of Earth would be nearly as exciting.

Put on something ‘spacey’ (preferably on vinyl so that you can hear the hiss and pops), turn off the lights (lava lamps can stay on) and climb aboard.


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January 26, 2010

Sonic Ritual

by George

We all believe.  And we each have our own way of practicing our faith.  Precious minutes each day, devoted to worship…precious minutes, each day, when we can remove our conscious selves from the physical world and become enveloped by our deities.

Or maybe it’s just me…

For those like myself who hold a particular reverence for the awesome power of music and sound, putting in earbuds, popping in a CD or putting a needle to vinyl and pressing play can be an almost religious experience…a glimpse into the divine!  It can enhance or detract; construct or destroy; amplify or mute.  To we who believe, it can give solace just as easily as it can bring on discomfort.

I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking that I need to get a life…possibly true.

But you cannot deny that you too have, at some point in your cognizant existence, been influenced by and acted under the guidance of these moving waves…that even for the most brief interval of time, been transported from your physical surroundings into a world created by your mind.

Not only are these sonic rituals a window into our minds, but they are also a means of time travel.  The physical compression of air in certain patterns and frequencies that we interpret as sound is transformed into electrical impulses that activate certain areas of your brain, where they have the ability to continue on and trigger memories.  Despite our (supposedly and arguably) massive intellectual capabilities as human beings, our limited ability to control our thoughts is rarely more evident than when song and lyric carry your mind away to another specific instance of time.

Reality is limited by perception.  As sound is one of the distinctions that defines reality, I like to think that the structure and organization of its elemental units (music) is one of the ‘bridges’ that links our reality with a world that we don’t have the means to perceive; all the frequencies, from the lowest bass to the highest treble and those in between, are essential to further describe and understand our surroundings.

And at the same time, we create it…at the very least, we are vessels by which it is conveyed.

So, my fellow believers, as you go off and bathe your mind in sound, peace be with you.
wall of fuzz

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