See You On The Other Side

December 22, 2012

It’s been five years since the rediscovery of The Antikythera Mechanism, during which I’ve picked up This Binary Universe – the still most mathematically beautiful album so far – for countless times. But it’s been a while I haven’t met with it in a state of shallow subconsciousness in an early morning – when my brain can’t fall asleep again but my eyes are still heavy. Only when I recall now what the state of mind was, how the air smelt and how freezing my body felt, do I realize I was supposed to encounter something new “unexpectedly”. But interestingly, the earphone that I used this time also helped a lot…

Being quite obsessed with “bass boosting” low frequency performance, Apple’s low-end earphone has never come into my sight. But yesternight, thanks to it, with the poor performance in restoring the foundation deep under, making the music slightly abnormally light and thin, I started to notice some gentle grinding on the bottom of my right ear before the long-known sharp upturn of the scratch. On a first thought I just classified it as the sound of thunder from afar that sneaked into my ear and happened to mix into the flow of music seamlessly. As these days, thunders and rains are our regular visitors in the east Mediterranean coast. But holding my breath for a second, the rhythmic pattern emerged, with the granular components resolved (it’s just like the way the kicks are segmented).

The slow dance of wind bells fades in. My heart beats like on tiptoe when a glittering guitar chord passage trickles in, filling the air with serenity, and more serenity. Soon there are the lovely perturbations – the unique glitches made for each individual bar. From here the picture goes dynamic, as if the light of Telperion in Valinor trapped by the tears of the leaves on earth. At some point, the newly discovered fine-tuned rubbing sound rolls in. Once I notice it, the dimension of the space suddenly extends as never before. Up until now the soundscape is far from being lush, but just made out of sparse occurrences of nano sounds rather than continuous textures. Yet it lacks neither depth nor diversity of hues. The second part is dominated by one of the TBU’s most significant characteristics – kicks and bass programming, which has been well explored and enjoyed for years (though I couldn’t say “well explored” forever).

This is my blissful early morning. Another moment I would hold so very close to my heart for eternity.

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