In the bridge of ‘Let there be Love’ by Oasis, there is a concerted elevation of sound. I recall hearing it for the first time. A smile had fallen across my face as I envisioned white lights rising up to the sky.
A while later I listened to the song again. But this time, the musician and analyst in me decided to figure out how the white light was produced. With my keen ear, I dismantled the sound into individual instruments. There was the drum beat, the bass line, the guitar chords and the timbre of the organs. Great, I now understood.
While I still found the piece lovely, it had suddenly lost something. Instead of the surreal blanket of light all I could sense was a tame group of instruments being played in a dull room. I had gained understanding at the sacrifice of mystery. No longer did my innocent mind sparkle as it greeted the unknown.
After all, magic is only really magic when it’s magic. No?
These days, whenever I hear a piano I still can’t help but envision the sound coming from an actual piano. I see a man hitting a bunch of white bars connected to a big wooden frame. It’s just what my mind does. And it is not particularly mysterious and hence not very inspiring.
On realising this, I try to imagine instead that the sound is simply appearing from the air like magic. My goal is to take away any tactile, visual and cultural preconceptions of the sound so that I can hear it for just what it is. I try to give it mystery.
The peculiar and enjoyable difference it makes, I shall leave to you find out.