Friday, December 30, 2005

Musings: audio space-time

I never realized how much of my life is connected with music. But looking back now, I can see that it is.

I used to, and still do to some extent, read to music. I exercise to music. I write to music.

I actually love writing to music.

In fact I’m writing now to music (Jean Michel Jarre) and I find that it takes me to a place which is so comfortable, a place (not in space-time) but in mood, I really like to be.

I have one extremely fond - no two extremely fond memories of listening to music - wait I have three . . .

I’m stopping at three. But first let me explain the audio setup I grew up with.

Way back in the early eighties (yes in my parent’s basement if you must know) I had a stereo system to rival some live concert setups. Let me give you a quick rundown of the components, some of which I still have and enjoy to this day.

Speakers: On the bottom are (I still have these) Audio Sphere Research huge-ass units. They sport 18 inch woofers, two 4 ½ inch midranges, and 4 piezo tweeters a piece. Next layer, and sitting on top of the Audio Sphere Research units, were Craig box speakers (Long gone). They had 12 inch woofers, one 4 inch midrange and a soft dome 1 ½ inch tweeter each. Next layer was a single 8 inch guitar amplifier speaker in a small box. Last layer was a stand alone piezo tweeter and a four inch midrange.

So, add it all together and you end up with 26 speakers total measuring over six feet tall. This in a room only ten by twelve feet square. Yeah baby, they rocked my juvenile world. Of course this accounts for my less than stellar hearing now, but I still love the feeling of overwhelming music vibrating every cell of my body and transporting me into another dimension.

To round out the setup I had a Kenwood 55 watt amp, a Technics turntable, a Pioneer CD (early version) player, and a Teac dual cassette deck.

So, the first fond memory I’ll share was one of lying on the floor of that audio room in the dark, my head on a pillow, the only light stimulating my optical nerves ammoniated from the various component’s LED glow in red, green and amber. I listen to Alan Parsons (½ an album at a time) and am literally swept away by the music. And yah, my parent probably thought I was smoking something - but I wasn’t. I just loved getting lost in loud, excellent and overwhelming music.

My second fond memory of those days was reading (for the first time) The Lord Of The Rings in that room while listening to "The Turn Of A Friendly Card" by The Alan Parsons Project. If you give it a listen, you will find it fits the books so very well. I recall reading a passage about Frodo and Sam in Mordor (remember this is the first time reading and I was sucked in completely, dying to find out what the hell was going to happen) I can’t quote lyrics here since I have no permission, but the song is called "May Be A Price To Pay" and if you give it a listen, just think of Sam and Frodo slogging their way across Mordor - and you will see the significance.

And lastly - It was the last year of high school and we were all about to split up and head off to different universities across the country. We had an absolutely fantastic grade and we all got along so well (Sorry no tales of high school angst and pain. Mine were great memories of great to be with people) Anyhow, the beer was cold, the music was rocking and we had a party at my parent’s house for us Grade 13 types and a few others. It was an audio blast and one of the most enjoyable parties ever. It may have actually been the last time we all were together. It seems that way to me.

Well, I do really miss those days. But now, with all of my music ripped to my computer (the one I write on) I can relive in my mind many of those moments in my life that mean a lot to me. Different songs can trigger these instances.

I cherish those from the past, and look forward to those of the future as I write in the present and listen to - a Haydn Symphony.

I have no idea what the world would be like without music. In fact, I’m not going to think about it any more.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to crank up the volume of my computer speakers, dim the lights and take another journey -

- a journey of sound.

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