Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The World's Making Music All The Time

This morning a friend sent me a link to an argument happening on somebody's blog, about local music writers and who was good and who was shit, and I wondered if any of it was even about music and what was the point. It seemed like a bunch of snakes that grew out of the soil of true love, forgot where they came from, and then started eating each other.

Then I found something beautiful, an interview with Tom Waits, conducted by Tom Waits, in which he is still, irrevocably smitten with life. The soil of true love is caked underneath that man's fingernails and there to stay.

Compare the racket of bloggers devouring themselves to a list Waits gives of his favorite sounds. There's no contest. The first is a single, ugly sound made from many ugly bleats blending into one. But Waits' list is full of the commonplace and the gorgeous things that we filter out. It's like Haiku; brief and spellbinding. I took a second to picture each one, got a little transported, and came to the same conclusion that Waits did: the world is making music all the time.

From the interview.

Q: What are some sounds you like?
1. An asymmetrical airline carousel created a high pitched haunted voice brought on by the friction of rubbing and it sounded like a big wet finger circling the rim of a gigantic wine glass.
2. Street corner evangelists
3. Pile drivers in Manhattan
4. My wife’s singing voice
5. Horses coming/trains coming
6. Children when school’s out
7. Hungry crows
8. Orchestra tuning up
9. Saloon pianos in old westerns
10. Rollercoaster
11. Headlights hit by a shotgun
12. Ice melting
13. Printing presses
14. Ball game on a transistor radio
15. Piano lessons coming from an apartment window
16. Old cash registers/Ca Ching
17. Muscle cars
18. Tap dancers
19. Soccer crowds in Argentina
20. Beatboxing
21. Fog horns
22. A busy restaurant kitchen
23. Newsrooms in old movies
24. Elephants stampeding
25. Bacon frying
26. Marching bands
27. Clarinet lessons
28. Victrola
29. A fight bell
30. Chinese arguments
31. Pinball machines
32. Children’s orchestras
33. Trolley bell
34. Firecrackers
35. A Zippo lighter
36. Calliopes
37. Bass steel drums
38. Tractors
39. Stroh Violin
40. Muted trumpet
41. Tobacco Auctioneers
42. Musical saw
43. Theremin
44. Pigeons
45. Seagulls
46. Owls
47. Mockingbirds
48. Doves

The world’s making music all the time.

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