[NetBehaviour] Happy Holidays! metal, the bells

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Dec 25 04:47:48 CET 2018

Happy Holidays! metal, the bells


i have always gravitated in and out of the sonic; there's no
instrumental tradition in our family. for me, music has always
been a problem; nonetheless it's an escape among other things
into the ineffable, away from the dreary sooted reality of the
physico-visual real. the sonic is always second-person, always
surrounding, always and never present; it's present only in its
passing. and i've lived within that passing, i've passed within
it, i'll be passing out of it and everything and everyone sooner
than i'd like. the sonic permeates me; i'm in both senses of the
word, in-visible to it, perhaps not in-audible, perhaps that as
well. its ontology is always contrary, contradictory; its
epistemology oddly variant as envelopes, structures, spectra and
a sense of escape. to escape into the sonic is also to leave
behind the somatic, the everyday, the hardness of the brute
reality of the world. i think of the patina of the kyizi as its
physical slippage within the world between sound and sign,
weight and ineffable vibrations, the brass coated and belonging
as if its surface were history. the brass is the universe's
metallic, the dense materiality of this planet's interior,
vibrating in tune with (always of course in tune with) its
complex resonant modes, its connection with their entanglement,
its belonging elsewhere than where it is, and signaling that
elsewhere with nothing more than the intrinsic weightlessness of
sound, which is heard, always in-itself, always pure and
cleansed, which is always present, and fine. this isn't the
sound of warfare or the literally eardrum-splitting sound of the
industrial revolution or an ear-splitting music that permanently
damages your hearing; this is the sonic of depths and soundings,
of finding one's way among the modes of the world, the audible
language of materiality. we must remember of course that spoken
language is also the oscillation of material objects, even the
air itself; without the physical medium, there is no sound at
all. in metal, the kyizi's sound, its striking sound, is sent
through various reverse reverberation real-time programs in
supercollider; the sound is spread among channels and pitches
and presented with fast-forward real-time buffers in reverse,
giving the illusion of reverse time in real-time. the pitches
and their processing take over physical reality, transforming
the world into a grainy envelope of signals. i think of this as
meditative, calming. i think, what else could it be?

but a hideout, holdfast, somewhere safe, out of reach or touch,
where sound cradles, holds us within the inconceivably thin
strata of the miracle of music, as if such were sourceless,
present in its unpresence, a respite from the world. surely we
have heard the sound on mars, without our own making, with the
murmur of distant worlds brought close, within our minds. there
is the refuge from tragedy, at least from many tragedies, as
long as the mind runs, and there is food and sleep and the time
and space to listen.

or so we want, desperately, to believe

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