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Noise and Music

At some early point in our life we are taught what is noise and what is music, and how to distinguish among them. That sound coming out of the radio that your mother sways to and imitates with her voice? That's "music". That loud sound coming from the garbage truck as it opens and closes to take in your discarded garbage? That's "noise". Along with these "definitions" comes a more general feeling that "music" is a pleasant occurrence while "noise" is something to be avoided. When you become a teenager you seek out music that your parents will dislike and they will retaliate by calling it "noise". To which you will say "you just don't understand!". And such a ritual repeats endlessly and all the past "noise" slowly turns to Muzak to be heard as you shop at a discount store. But somewhere out there, the true and unending Noise remains. And that is certainly not "music"... right?

A pure tone, the basic building block of music, is made up of a basic fundamental frequency and a series of overtones, all built on a digital overtone structure that is somehow inherent in the very fabric of the Universe. The overtones in such a pure tone are all whole number multiples of the fundamental (the basic frequency times 2, 3, 4, etc. never times 2.4 or 5.9 or such). Turn this around and we can say that it is a digital "whole number" relationship between frequencies that we perceive as "pure" and that we relate to the sound that we call "music".  But music does not exist in a vacumm. It is produced, played on and reproduced on artifacts that exist in this "imperfect" world, an "impure" space full of friction, chaos and errors. This means that in even the purest tone a certain element of chaos intrudes. Even when the finest soprano in the world sings, her tongue vibrates not quite perfectly, her mouth opens in slightly unpredictable ways, her throat opens and closes in slight patterns... all of which introduces non harmonic elements into her singing.  Even with a modern synthesizer that can be programmed to play specific frequencies with specific envelopes and harmonics the result is sent through cables and to amplifiers and speakers, all with their own imperfections, all ready to add a certain element of discord to the imaginary "perfection".

Music makers have always used this stress, this clash between the nearly reachable world of pure tones and the world of raw and dirty noise. When we hear the noise we retract. When we hear the purity (or rather its closest approximation) we approach. One wards us away. The other invites us in. That in itself creates a meta vibration - the low frequency oscillation of our inner relationship to the "music". As we feel the tension and then feel the release, then once again the tension and the release once again. All this can be nested in layers of complexity, so that there are smaller releases within a larger space of tension and small tensions within a larger space of release. The total effect is of being propelled forward, constantly offered a struggle and a way out of it, a glimpse of what "could be" tainted inmediately by "what is". The movement of music through time is a constant shift between the "dirty" and the "pure", the "desirable" and the "revolting".... the "good" and the "evil". In this way music can be seen as a fractal of our own life, our own push for food, sex, love, meaning constantly granted and constantly taken away. Our strange journey from birth to death is nothing if not a complex symphony of sound and lights... and you are the only member of the audience.

If we can find then the "noise" in the "music", is it possible now to find the "music" in the "noise"? Is there an even greater symphony going on around us, beyond our desires and fears, that we perceive usually as random chaos and washes of white noise?

In the great trinity of life, the mushrooms have the job of taking things apart. When living beings die, they decompose into their smaller parts and these parts are further taken apart and transformed to serve elsewhere. This is what mushrooms do. They are the destroyers of worlds. What then happens when you take a bit of Pylocibyn Mushroom, or Amanita Muscaria or LSD (derived from fungi as well)? Your particular symphony, your ongoing sequence of motifs, riffs and chord progressions gets disrupted. At the highest level of human consciousness, the mushrooms once again do their job: to destroy.

And it is only through this destruction, by dissolving the ongoing piece that is not "in your mind" but IS your mind, your identity, that you can truly allow the "noise" to come in, allow to rush into you and through you, to BECOME you even for an instant, massive waves of infinitely complex chaotic information rushing into your guarded fortress of solitude and ripping it apart. And just then you hear it... the music in the noise. The music that has been there always but only now, for an instant, becomes truly apparent. The glorious choruses of heaven and hell that have been blaring at your ears while you looked for music elsewhere.

 

 

Where or what is the Clear Light? ] The Blank TV ] Human Call and Response ] Call and Response with the Clear Light ] No Thought ] Silence ] [ Noise and Music ] Chaos and Information ] Safety ] Shame and how to overcome it ] Build Up and Release of Energy ]


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