Sounding

Archive for May, 2010

How to Listen?

by on May.06, 2010, under Uncategorized

So much music. Nowhere to begin. Everywhere is a beginning, none end.

Ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of works out there? I do all the time, daily in fact. I tend to find new listening by discovery through association, especially through publishers and artists that cross stylistic boundaries. Sometimes I feel like I have a certain knack to picking things out, almost to the extent it feels random, but in context it really never is.

Sound sticks with me like nothing else. Some have the ability to remember words by rote and spit back movie quotes from things I haven’t seen in 20 years, others can pick out anyone they’ve met before in a crowd. I never forget a sound, you could say I have phonographic memory.

It’s almost like having perfect pitch, but I can never relate anything absolutely to a specific frequency. Those square pointy hat people in tall robes would call it having ‘relative pitch’, but I think it’s more like aural memory. Sonic textures, bits of audio, melodies, harmonies, chord progressions, vocal personalities, wind players’ tone… I have a hard time not making an association when I hear things, it’s like having a cochlear imprint.

So I am constantly searching for new things, seeking out what’s new to my ears, both when performing and listening. The amount of people out there doing the same thing astounds me… I could listen for weeks and weeks, day in and day out, and not find anything interesting until after several months at it.

And we are all being pressured to do it so fast, the releases come at us with unrelenting speed.

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