I’m never quite sure where I’m tuned in.
And sometimes that hertz a bit.
It’s such a common idiom, to say that someone isn’t quite on your wavelength. But the implication that we could be directing static and white noise at each other constantly is actually somewhat disconcerting.
Communication is about signal to noise. At least when we’re communicating information. Somehow I feel that communicating feeling is somewhere where noise is just as important.
The warm crackle of an old gramophone recording. The electronic clutter of experimental noise musicians. The warm rounded acoustics of a band in a dingy back room.
It’s the noise as much as the signal that signifies.
Though of course, that just means you shift the boundaries around to fit. And musically, often the intended signal has nothing to do with what is recieved. So it really is just noise.
But noise with power.
When I hear this song, whatever song that is, I feel a wash of emotions. I feel things rising up in me. I have memories. Feelings. They are all brought forward.
But I have no way of knowing if this is the intended feeling being expressed. ‘They tell me that song writing is like child bearing’. Is what bus driver said. Before saying they were talking bollocks. He may not have been right. But only in that once a song has escaped your brainwomb, there’s no real control over what it becomes. You make an imprint sure, and you still interact. But the song is out there, and it bounces into other people and has unpredictable impacts.
Music is frequencies. And it’s my favourite frequencies.
Constantly moving and flowing and bouncing and affecting.
And it really is all about frequency. Not just pitch (soundwaves) but the bpm, the rhythm. The cycles. Music is cyclical. And changing. It’s about patterns and breaks from patterns. There’s an excitement in the expectation of a pattern, and even more in finding it broken.
Sometimes when I listen, I’m sitting and counting out patterns and beats and expectations. I dance like that, eagerly trying to anticipate the changes. Frustrated and satisfied in equal amounts. There’s something to that rhythm.
Then I roar; an unexpected key change, a surprising crescendo, a diasporic breakdown.
Lustily I climb up the music. Dancing through the valleys. Shifting through the peaks and troughs of the sound waves. It’s a movement within me, shaken up from without me. Outside. There. In the noise.
In the distance, a rogue rhythm breaks through a cloud, storming at me. Chaos wraps around. A hi-hat. Glistening on the mountain top. It pours towards me. Running down hill, louder and louder. Amplitude increasing. Solid frequency.
It is joined by a lolloping and tenuous bassline. A trickle of water pushing into my ears. Louder. Frequency shifting. It all builds up. The clouds part. The music intensifies.
More little flutters of noise. More drums. More synths. Sounds surround me. Excite.
And the bass kicks in.
That’s the frequency, Kenneth.
Illustration by Maria.