Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What this soundtrack leaves silent

In High Fidelity ─ based on a novel by Nick Hornby; two other Hornby novels were translated to the celluloid as well: Fever Pitch (twice) and About a Boy ─ by Stephen Frears we can see the main character Rob categorize events in his life with the help of music. What is the soundtrack of my life? So far I listened today to Herbie Hancock, Björk, Massive Attack, Tricky, Tom Waits, 16 Horsepower. Right now I am listening to And it Rained all Night from the album Eraser by Thom Yorke (also the lead singer of Radiohead, which is also a song by the Talking Heads). What next? New Model Army’s Small Town England or Janacek’s Kreutzer Sonata (inspired by Tolstoy’s novel, which in turn was inspired by Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, which in turn was inspired by the violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer) or Motorspycho’s Demon Box? But all these records do not complete my soundtrack. The noise that comes from just outside my window: the construction site, the countless vehicles inhabiting the highway, the call for midday prayer. And when I leave my home there is a soundtrack provided: TVs are screaming of another ongoing war in Babylon. Radios are promoting the latest single of Britney Spears. Many households I visited in Indonesia over the years seem to be equipped with audiovisual equipment that cannot be turned off. In many homes TVs and radios are in a competition for attention, while both seem to be ignored. And in shopping malls Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is played (which is used at a Dutch railway station to scare away the heroin junkies) and inside a shop you can enjoy Puff Diddy or Audioslaves while shopping for apparel or eating a slice of pizza. But this morning I went to the supermarket for my daily milk&bread. Right away I noticed something odd was going on. And I searched for the cause within myself. My vision was blurred, my feet as heavy as bricks. I felt like I was intoxicated with a drug that impaired my senses, sounds came from afar. Only at the cashier I realized that there was no music playing. The silence, the horror. Typing these last words I have turned to DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing.

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