One of the most rewarding conversations I had in the past year took place in one of the least conducive of settings for substantial discourse.
I’d just finished relaying to a friend — unloading, really — the mess I’d made of things recently, and we’d moved on from a favorite bar down to the art space that was hosting the singer we’d come out to see that night. The opening band was playing a pretty underwhelming run of softspoken, droney tunes that neither of us was into, and as we stood at the back edge of the crowd nursing watery gin & tonics in plastic cups, I struggled for a fitting topic to follow up the relatively heavy stuff I’d just barfed out moments prior.
My friend came to the rescue with a nod at the sleepy crew up on the stage and an observation that everything — even the vaguely pretentious scene before us — could be made better with more reverb.
A reverberation, or reverb, is created when a sound or signal is reflected causing a large number of reflections to build up and then decay as the sound is absorbed by the surfaces of objects in the space – which could include furniture and people, and air.
Music and Sound, Llewelyn Southworth Lloyd (1970)
I've contemplated this notion regularly in the months since that night, mostly in relation to a lot of the music that I tend to favor. If you’ve listened to at least a few episodes of my weekly music diary you’ve certainly heard this tendency play out, even if you may not have taken note. My musical moods bounce around a bit, but I find that I linger on distorted, echo-heavy songs longer than I do most others. I seem best at losing myself in what I’m doing — or what I’m feeling — when I’m surrounded by a wall of sound.
And I’ve been looking to lose myself a lot lately.
Whether in concert with the mess-making I mentioned earlier or as a direct result of it, I’ve been wanting that wall of sound more and more these last few months; not just in the literal sense, being enveloped by a raucous noise, but in an almost metaphysical way, yearning for everything I perceive to get louder, break down, bleed together and wash over me until it fades out to make way for another wave, or crashes into one and creates something entirely new.
That brings me here, to writing this — whatever this is. I’m a bit late for a new year’s resolution, but I don’t think this call for more reverb is a resolution, anyway. It’s not a committment or a plan; I don’t like those, either. It doesn’t have any direction or path.
It’s more like a musing, a midnight ramble; it’s an awkward, reckless articulation of an impulse to make more noise in my life. Not to just do more, necessarily, but to get better at the shit that I do, to make it louder, more meaningful. To break everything, rebuild it, and then break it again. To crash into more people making their own noise, and then maybe together create something new entirely.
I’d be honored if you’d be one of those people.