On Life’s Soundtrack

Call me old-fashioned, but file sharing and portable music devices have spoiled us. It is my belief that the infinite world of audible vibrations has been hit hard by those iPods of ours.
Music and sound have become commodities. We buy them and sell them in cute digital packages. That’s a sad thing. Why? Well, think of this: If you were now asked to act as a Foley artist to reproduce the soundscape of the world around you, you would hardly even know where to begin. Do oak trees hiss? How would you describe the song of a gutter? What about the musical interludes of the brakes on a bus ride? If you can’t answer these questions, maybe you’re no longer listening. Well, maybe you are, but there are a lot of folks who aren’t.
Today, in the year 2011, we all have our own personal soundtracks. With these soundtracks, we are now capable of muting life’s daily chance encounters. We dictate what plays when and thereby plan how we’ll be feeling throughout the day. We are now in control of what symphony will be pulling at our heartstrings on a train ride from Lisbon to Lyon.
When we do experience life’s chance encounters, there is no vibrancy to the color of these memories. It’s sound that makes these realities we experience memorable. Some argue that this lack of memorability has begun to lead to a disintegration of direct human communications. That may hold true, but what I find more alarming is how this degrades our individual relationships with the world of sound.
Sound will always be that billowing force that, despite man’s efforts to sculpt, will always at its core be untouchable. To treat sound in any other manner, to attempt to wield it greedily like a drug that can rocket you into states of orgiastic bliss, is hubris.
Love music and love the noise. Make the music and make the noise.
-Juan Fernandez