Let’s make music together…

I am not a big fan of the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven.  Sure, the messages of getting a second chance, and changing for the better, and doing the right thing, are all positive.  And the music is catchy.  But something about this movie in particular felt manipulative to me, even as a kid.  Maybe it was the unbelievable innocence of the girl, or even the major premise of the film.  Mafia dogs who go to heaven?  Throw me a bone, please.

Yet sometimes it’s the absolutely ridiculous nature of the tale that tickles my fancy.  Take the opera-singing alligator, for example (crocodile?).  He’s living in the sewers, eating lesser dogs, and is just about to do the same to our hero, when the doggie howls.  Which somehow is a pleasing, not repulsing, sound to the alli, and he insists that they have a sing-along instead of chowing down.  I love that.

I love the idea of the world singing.  I love that whole odd earlier Christian philosophy about the spheres of the heavens giving of some small, ringing music that we could all hear, if we were only just a little bit closer.  I like the idea of every molecule vibrating with some kind of lively sound that we will someday hear and enjoy, when we only have the science.  I like the idea of acoustic harmony bringing some sort of resolution or at least tentative acceptance and tolerance for the conflicting members of a group.  Let’s just make music.

So, what else can we make musical?  Garbage dump supplies?  Been done.  Old buildings?  Yep, that’s taken.  A giant concrete seashore instrument?  I mean I love them, but they’re a dime a dozen.  How about the swine flu?  According to this article, it’s the next big thing.  After a little listen, I’m not so sure.  But the idea of viruses as encoding a natural music all their own…well, it’s just plain beautiful.

Corina told me she was utterly ashamed of me for not blogging about my experiences at the made-up superhero pub crawl this year.  I thought about it, but then I decided being known as Flamebow Brite to the entire internet community might not be a good idea.  Added to the fact that my sister thinks costumes make me look like a drag queen, I’d prefer to say very little and leave my excitement and joy to memory and what pictures are already widely available.  Instead, I’d like to point out a few of the things that the experience shows about me through song.  If I were a song, there would be a brassy trumpet involved.  Sometimes it would be loud, and totally dominate all other songs in the room, but that would only happen very rarely.  More often this trumpet would blare with no real rhyme or reason, almost like an accident on the part of the performer or the composer.  A slip of the pen here, and…..Whoa, trumpet!  There would be some other sounds – a nice bongo rhythm, a breathy set of pan pipes, a little base.  Solid, pleasing, and enjoyable if not genius – except for the occasional squaking trumpet.

So, what’s your song?

The Sound of the Sea, the Sound of the Wind.

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.