A Few Of My Favourite… Sounds

I guess you all know the song “A few of my favourite things.” There are some people who have kind of an oral fixation, or one concerning smells — agreed, how we react to smells and tastes is so deeply buried in our subconscious that we cannot ever control it. Yet, I have more than a slight addiction to sounds. Sounds that allure me, sounds that tease me, sounds that go on my nerves beyond what is bearable.

I have to say, I score more than a few points on the test chart for ADHD; even if  this doesn’t inhibit me during work or in everyday life — I just cannot bear background music, e. g.. For me there is no such thing. I have to listen. I can tell, five years after, when I have been to a concert, which note was sung which way and what graces were made, how the tempi were, etc..

In contrast to that, I have an awful mind for names, and forget plots of books or movies almost instantly after reading/watching which can be quite embarrassing at times — on the other hand, I can watch movies a second time and still be surprised by plot-turns.

I like to see; I would miss it if I were blind — of course I would. Yet, I would miss the ability to hear far more. Sounds are able to haunt me. Not just as everybody seems to have a catchy tune sticking to their brain for a day or two, but I am actually hearing the song though there is no music playing. It is like with headphones, I really hear it. I first discovered it when I was around twelve, and was convinced that during the break the orchestra was playing something they just played before — it was not even something I am particularly fond of, some Haydn concerto. Nosy, as I am by nature, I tried to sneak closer, looking for the source of the sound, only to find that there was none. I covered my ears with my hands, and was amazed, rather than scared, that it was just me.

So, I guess, my like as well as dislike for some sounds runs deeper than with others. What are my favourite sounds? Some voices, accents, my granddad cursing in prussian accent, my daughter sleeping, breathing with a content half-snore…

The weirdest mass-experience I ever witnessed was by the way at a concert of “Tin Machine” with David Bowie. He was around fifty at the time and past his dressing-up stage personas phase. He just had a jeans on, a shirt he stripped off during the concert and the audience in the winter quarters of Zirkus Krone in Munich — imagine a circus arena in shape, but built in stone — was benevolent, to say the least.

(This is not the particular performance, just to give you an idea of the tour.)

I was in the second row, brushing up to the two cute transvestites in the row before me who let me half cling to their shoulders so I could actually see something despite their feather boas which was a plus. In a break between two songs, Bowie walked up to the mike, did nothing but look into the audience at an undefined spot, stretch out his hands to the sides and… breathe. Nothing more, nothing less. No twitch of the face, no change in expression, nothing. Just breathing. Slow, then slightly ragged, a bit faster… Never in my life have I seen an audience freak out like this — still careful not to make too much sound themselves to still be able to hear the breathing; so imagine a floor packed with people gasping like in mid-orgasm.

Concerning music… What I love:

(btw: buy the CD;  youtube audio quality is awful and only gives an idea about the quality of the voice and the great recording)

What freaks me… and not for any of the reasons you might think:  The badly set compressor used for the effect is what horrifies me. If you have ever been working in any technical field of the music industry this sounds sends a shiver down your spine, along with the thought something is terribly wrong; and that it is probably your fault, too.


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