In the late nineties (or, at least, I think it was then) there was a sudden upsurge in the popularity of a variety of New-Agey musical interludes. There were sounds of the ocean set to wailing flutes, harmonic wind chimes mingled with the calls of sea birds and whales, the sounds of rushing waters and streams and even rainstorms mingling with quick-moving drums. Exotic sunrises and mysterious forests were pictured on a variety of CDs promising the ultimate relaxation and respite from a harsher, more urban world.
While such mood music is not bad for writing, and despite the fact that I probably enjoyed more of it than most, I’d still rather listen to a live band than any compilation of fantastical melodies. These CDs were, after all, not very interactive. However, when something like the Sea Organ comes along, I will stand up and take notice. Not only is it a revitalization of the coastline in that area, it’s also an interactive, experiential play of the waves. It allows for comfortable viewing and interaction with the ocean, as well as adding additional sound to the mix. Of course, i like the sound of the waves on the shore too, but this adds a fuller dimension to that. And I like the idea. Let’s add more conscious awareness of touch, taste, and smell into our daily lives. Let’s get some really interactive art/living stuff out there. Let’s take the concept of really hearing our world further.
What if we could hear the rumblings of tectonic plates moving? What if we could listen in on the static-ridden fire of the Sun? What if the whirring of gnat’s wings was knowable, or the soft, slight movements of skin cells against each other and you stretched out your fingers? What if the wilder inventions of OM (both the spiritual exhale and OddMusic gallery) were present in municipal installations around the world? What if everyone thought like Zumthor, or if I could find multiple Swiss Pavillions here in Boston? Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.