When I’m Amid the Noise, it’s hard to tell what’s making noise and what is the noise. So Percussion has a way of imposing its music onto reality. It can either fit perfectly with a moment so that it can stay in the background, adding a soundtrack, or it can define the time and all of the actions and events in my life play with the music like a jam band. Creaks and slams of doors come on cue, people’s conversations go silent, their lips speaking the taps of drums and xylophones. Sometimes I wonder if the music is making my moments for me.
The days in the middle of the week when a combination of work and play, frustrated and smooth social scenes, and getting less sleep than I had hoped for come together and crash on the main highway, causing a traffic jam that sedates more than it irritates. The commuters in their cars have come to accept that there with never be a drive into work without incident. Frustration is too much work. They have found a new way to express their dissatisfaction. It is the added gravity of discontent, slight weight on the hands, feet, shoulders, that make everyone mope, but hey, at least they’re not blowing their tops. I walked into the cafeteria in the morning with this feeling bogging me down, listening to Amid The Noise. The drawn out notes of the music never left the ears with silence, but the inactive spaces between percussive strikes made it seem like silence. I’m used to the sound of conversations and silverware coming between me and my headphones, but nothing like that happened this time. The places where it seemed silent were silent. I saw the people talking and passively staring at their plates, rubbing the metal fork along the porcelain, but the other half, the sound, was missing. I was Amid the Noise of So Percussion, crowded by subtle but constant sound that muted the nuisances of noise that weren’t going to cooperate with my tired and mopey state. It was a relief, and I could take a break for the 15 minutes that it took to eat my cereal.
Serenity is easily disturbed nowadays. People’s wants manifest themselves in screams for joy, the sound of tires scraping continuously on gravel that refuses to catch it, and great and clumsy exhales we know lovably as laughs that can interrupt the gentle sounds of a butterfly’s flapping wings across a field we thought was so secluded, but sound travels fast and far just to be heard, the annoying neighbor down the hall constantly knocking on your door to see what’s up when the only thing going down is my body in a bed, trying to get to sleep. So Percussion gets rid of these things that are too mild to complain about.
Bang on a Can – Industry
Brian Eno – Music for Airports
Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians