After a relatively minor surgery (there is nothing minor about full anesthesia, however, and apparently there were complications) I had a near total recall of where I went and what I heard while I was ‘under’. One could liken this to a near death experience. I can only say it was exquisitely beautiful! Sound and color were the same sensation and the sound was like the aurora borealis shimmering and glistening, refracting like rainbow prisms, like the delight of watching dolphins surfing the florescent wake that I once experienced during a full moon sailing adventure off the coast of New Zealand. It was a swirling ecstatic ocean of sound.
I have since heard sound in a completely different way. If I pause and listen I can hear the music in everything from the air conditioner to the drone of the distant motorway.
I continue to embed elements of that sound experience in the music I have produced. One particular time we were mixing a string quartet part on the Well of Ancestors project and it all sounded rich and full, but the mix engineer said ‘something is missing’. I listened closer and agreed. It turned out we had muted the keyboard parts that were playing resonant higher overtones and even though they are imperceptible in the music when we brought them back in the whole movement came alive.
I think modern technology has brought us closer to being able to replicate the inner sound of the cosmos, the sound current, but it has always been within us and all around us. I am currently working on a new project where I took a different compositional approach beginning with ambient sound that I have collected (I take snapshots of sound the way others take photos) forests, caves, sacred spaces, and I massage the sound with filters and effects until I find the hidden tones and the music grows out of that.
I wonder how many people who have been through surgery have heard the strains of ‘heaven’s gate’ but because they don’t have access to MFR have no recall of the experience. Perhaps the music is frozen in them. Perhaps sometimes it is frozen in us during a traumatic birth or other shock.
One certainly doesn’t need to go to near death extremes to hear the ‘music of the spheres’. It is all around us. Nature is full of it, the birdsong, the crickets, cicadas, flowing water, the sea, all are reminders that we are surfing a blissful sound current that is life flowing through us (as the Navajo call it) like a holy wind.