Lately I’ve become so bored of music.
I was dully teasing my dopamine doused brain, scrolling through the endless pit of social media looking for the next mild prod of unimportant something to let my eroding attention feed on. I found a conversation about noise music, and someone cited Merzbow’s “Pulse Demon” as a “palate cleanser,” so I decided to listen to it.
There are no ideas in this album.
There is nothing memorable in this album.
There is nothing of independent significance in this album.
There is nothing at all special in this album.
It’s just pure grating noise.
But after five quarters of an hour of nothing, something neat happened. Everything else sounded different. The silence was the same, the songs were the same. But the way I was conditioned to hear it was different.
I decided to put on some of my favorite tunes. Don’t get me wrong, my enjoyment of the music that I listened to afterwards didn’t change, but the way that I heard the music was totally different. I could hear everything. I paid mind to everything. This is how the artist thinks. I could feel each component of the music and how they all connect. I could think about it far more critically.
Pressing play on a track from “Pulse Demon” and skipping to the middle to listen for a few seconds is silly. Playing this for someone who has never heard of it before and only giving them a snippet is ridiculous. It’s like saying “c’mere, lemme show you a clip from this movie,” and it’s the entire movie sped up and condensed into five seconds, complete with cartoonish sound effects.
It’s a comically overwhelming amount of information to push onto someone for such a short period of time. However, the humor is just the method by which we reject the rush of information. Once your mind gets over the hurdle and is able to acclimate to it, it becomes entrancing.
If you relax your eyes, look at the cover art for “Pulse Demon” long enough, and immediately look at something else, it’ll start to warp. The image tricks your eyes. The harsh bends and folds hurt to look at, but once you’re done looking, everything else looks different. This effect is fleeting, but it’s noticeable.
Is this placebo? Is this real? It’s not astounding or groundbreaking, but nonetheless it’s fascinating- and it might be the cure for music.