Monday, October 31, 2011

In which the Alien blows his eardrums out

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."
Probably we can argue about what the greatest first sentence in the history of English-language literature is, but there is no doubt in my mind that the greatest fourth sentence in the history of the English language is that one.

When it's November in my soul, I retreat to the quiet comfort of having my eardrums blown out. The prototype for this:

This to me is a related phenomenon to "the drone." Except turned to eleven. The drone soothes, while the burst eardrum overwhelms. I remember a time when I was so overcome with noise at a show that I thought I was having a stroke. I could not move, see, or think, but it didn't matter.

There's something almost dehumanizing about doing this to yourself. I love feeling completely exhausted by the sensory overload. First comes enervating, then comes energy depletion. I just don't care any more.

I'm not sure what the essential element is. It's not just volume, because My Bloody Valentine don't really have it. I think some bands insert an element of malice, even when they're trying to be pretty. Listen for the sawtooth wave, which sounds exactly like what it's called.

And after that, all you can do is listen to white noise and hope the ringing isn't too bad the next day.