I was wondering about the architecture of sound that he mentions. With profound hearing loss in both ears, I was asking myself if I get the full impact of what he’s speaking of – probably not, but I must have my own equivalent. I like the concept, though the visualization of buildings would mostly make me think of dust, olive green paint, school bells, concrete yards and bird droppings on the windows – I’m probably thinking of the wrong places.
In OMD’s Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans), there’s something sounding very like the school bell at my old school! Probably not so odd that I should think of that song, as it was on the album Architecture and Morality…
Otherwise, if visualizing a musical structure, I’d be imagining something like a natural version of the Crystal Palace – all shimmering glass, curving domes, soaring arches, seeing the sky through the panes, feeling the sun…
Well, I don’t know – what about the outdoors? The Four Seasons by Vivaldi is all storms and hills and birds. Neil Diamond’s Madrigal is an African afternoon with low sun filtering through the stubby trees, and his Childsong puts me in mind of African children in a classroom with a bad thunderstorm going on outside. I also seem to link it to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius, as I was studying for an exam while the rain came down!
Songs that make me happy are full of freedom, light and warmth.
I was interested in Nick Coleman’s experience that he was getting good sound from some sources but not from others – certainly not from the equipment that was fashioned to do it well. I have a theory that I used to hear music better on the monoplayers, my old stereo hi-fi, and on Mum’s ancient analogue TV (currently at my house being rented out). It was one of the first Teletext TVs, and even the remote control is built like a brick.
I don’t know if it’s just that I heard better in those days, so I don’t really know what I think.
To me it’s a new idea that the brain can wire itself into getting a better handle on music. I listened to records and tapes from a very young age, then stopped for a long time from the early 90s onwards… since then I’ve not been hearing music so well.
And you shall come
To hear our song
And learn its tune
Before it fades away…
From Childsong by Neil Diamond
It’s frustrating when you know from past experience that there’s a specific sound in a particular song and you just can’t hear it. Listening to music takes effort now. I used to be able to put a record on and get on with something else, but nowadays if I do that I miss the music! I never seem to know what’s playing unless I look at the CD sleeve and concentrate. I’ve been using different equipment anyway – CD players, computers, newer televisions. Making a proper comparison between then and now is tricky.
Having said all that, I dug out an old tape of Neil Diamond’s Tap Root Manuscript to play again after so many years – and it’s wonderful. I didn’t feel anything was missing from what I remembered. Have you heard Soolaimon? It has such energy… a strong wind rushing through the trees and into the heavens.
God of my want, want, want
Lord of my need, need, need
Leading me on, on, on
On to the woman, she dance for the sun
God of my day, day, day
Lord of my night, night, night
Seek for the way, way, way
Taking me home
From Soolaimon by Neil Diamond