Critical Section


Rock 'n Roll

Tuesday,  08/19/03  11:15 PM

I'm mountain biking with my good friends Bill and Jim, and one of the highlights has been Bill's incredible Rock 'n Roll collection.  1700 terrific songs on one little MP3 player.  Wow!  One great song after another.

Some reflections:

  • Isn't it amazing how much information the human brain can store?  As we're listening, the three of us recognize virtually every song and band, and know almost every note.  That is a lot of information.
    • And it can be random accessed so well: 
      "Remember Argent?" 
      "Oh, yeah, 'Hold Your Head Up'". 
      "Yeah, that was cool." 
      And we all have Argent's "Hold Your Head Up" playing in our heads... 
      (You probably do, too, right now, huh?)
       
    • And it can be cross-referenced so well:
      "Hey, doesn't Eric Johnson sound like Joe Satriani?"
      "Yeah, he does!"
       
    • And it is so tied in.  Sometimes you hear a song, and you associate it immediately and exactly with a particular place and time (and even sights and sounds and smells...)
       
    • And the indexing is so efficient.  We compete to see who can identify a song first, and usually the first few notes are sufficient.   I can pick off Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath" or Supertramp's "School" on the first note.  Try writing a computer program to do that kind of search!
       
  • Music triggers emotions in an amazing way.  Who can say why Trower's "Day of the Eagle" makes me feel good?  But it does...
     
  • The human hearing system is incredible.  It can pattern recognize sounds across a wide range of frequencies and amplitudes (including VERY LOUD :), and can parse rhythm from harmony from melody effortlessly.
    • Even if we're talking about the rhythm section of Bad Company, buried behind vocals and guitar, or the drumbeat of Rush, or the guitarwork in Deep Purple's wall of sound.
       
  • The music industry is so very very dead.  We carry around all this music at $0 and listen to whatever we want whenever we want.  Too bad for them.
    • Best line, from Jim, in regards to a particular album: "I have the hardcopy".
      Meaning the CD. 
      I love it!
       
    • Let's hope there is some way to go back to the original days, when artists were performers and people paid them for the enjoyment of their performances.  With online distribution the record companies are superfluous.  But right now they are in the way.
       
  • Finally and least importantly:
    What the heck does "TVC15" mean?
    (Or was Bowie just, like, on drugs when he wrote it...)
    • Update: Hey, we figured it out!  TVC15 means "Television Channel 15".  TVC15 was a company in New York which was working on holographs.  The song is about a TV which sucks in a girl and displays her as a holograph.  Oh, and yeah, the Duke was probably on drugs when he wrote it :)  [ thanks to the Davie Bowie FAQ (and Google) ]

It's better to burn out, than to fade away...  Rock 'n Roll is here to stay...

mountain biking!

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