|[ Humming Along ]
So I'm going for a walk this
morning around quiet suburban streets and there's a large dip in the road.
At the bottom, on the right, is a small boat drying off after last night's
rain with a mist of steam clouding the sun. To the front is the dark green
wall of the escarpment with more fine mist shimmering at the top. And on
the left, 12 feet up, is an electrical transformer that's buzzing, humming
and singing to me...
Of all the records I used to
own as a teenager, there was one that particularly got under my Dad's skin
- La Monte Young's 'Turtle Dream' (or something like that). On one side
was a sub-Indian raga which I hardly ever played. But on the other side
was a 30 minute drone consisting of a single, deep, resonant chord created
by a synthesiser or organ. As this played you could walk around the room
and listen in awe as the chord changed dramatically with different overtones
coming into play in ever distinct millimetre of air. Supposedly this piece
was based upon the humming tone of a transformer that was very near to
La Monte's childhood bedroom.
I played this damned record
morning, noon and night. My favourite listening position was lying on my
back with the speakers right next to my ears and with the volume turned
as high as it would go without distortion. This position would negate the
glorious overtone changes but was a lot more comfortable for a 30 mionute
stretch. Dad would either laugh at me, yell at me to turn it off or walk
off in disgust.
I prefer to keep shtumm these
days and walk the silent streets instead.