This morning in Cincinnati I went to the park across the street from the hotel with a friend to have a cup of coffee. It was a gorgeous morning and we found a little table in the shade. It was around 10 a.m. and the PA system in the park was cranking! It was obviously meant to be a human deterrent, which made me quite sad. The round black speakers high up on metal poles overlapped music and advertisements on top of one another. The graphic EQs were set to “shards”. This is a PARK for fuck’s sake! My friend and I are rock musicians so we refused to give up our coffee time for this bullshit. We could take it.
We were having a conversation about how we hear and how that affects music making. My friend brought up the point that we often “choose” to hear or we choose to cancel out things that annoy us, like how on a plane you somehow blot out the constant high-pitched engine whine without even thinking about it. You can even relax! You have ostensibly “chosen” not to hear it. Which would mean we could somehow decide not to hear things that made us angry or uncomfortable. I had never thought of it that way. And perhaps the things that drive us crazy we can learn to cancel out through practice… though some things are much easier than others. Every human is their own special Faberge egg and hears differently, of course, and has different tolerance and sensitivity levels. These all form our tastes, our aversions, our skills and all the answers and combinations are right and ever-changing. We are specialists. My friend talked about the ability to hear melodies between melodies with hyper-focus, which is also something I am fascinated by.
About halfway through our coffee and conversation I noticed a tall, thin man walking carefully by with a long white cane.
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