AKA Abraham Bacoln

How odd
May 10, 2007, 6:23 pm
Filed under: tidbit

I had my first intensely synesthetic experience today and it was fascinating – to me, of course, not you. You weren’t there.

The album Colony by In Flames had been in my car’s CD player for weeks. Yeah, I know that’s kind of messed up but I don’t drive often and so I don’t hear it with great enough frequency to get tired of it BUT ANYWAY it’s been in there for a long time. I must also mention that my copy of Colony is an audio CD that was made from rather poor-quality MP3s so it always sounds flat. The highs are always a bit muted, the lows never quite … there, if you know what I mean. I’m no musiconomist so cut me some slack on the proper terminology.

After weeks of listening to Colony on and off I was finally ready for a change. I opted for III: In The Eyes of Fire by Unearth. In case it’s not obvious I’m on a little bit of a metal kick. The first track on III does not mess around – there’s one single second of intense drums and then the whole of everything comes crashing in. I have to make mention that this is an honest audio CD, mastered correctly and sounding great as opposed to some crappy home rip. So as I’m being assaulted with this wall of ferocity and pleased at finally getting some depth in my music I literally think, “Ahhhh, this looks right.”

And I meant “looks”, not “sounds”, because at that moment my brain was completely taken over with the image of a perfectly-contrasted and balanced photograph. There was no distinct image, no picture I can relate back to you but all the same I saw it as clearly as I was hearing the music. The darks were jet black, the lights were brilliant white, and everything else in between was all of the appropriate shades and colors (though mostly muted or earthy green, brown, and blue-ish). I can’t begin to describe how surreal the experience was because … well, it was involuntary. See, I can make the analogy that Colony was that washed-out flat snapshot that I know all of you (and I’m included in this) have taken. III: In The Eyes of Fire was that image you see on the front of a travel magazine. There’s an obvious difference.

I didn’t consciously make an analogy, though. Apparently my mind chose to deal with that difference in purely optical terms. That’s why I’m making these claims of synesthesia – those wires felt crossed. The new music just looked right and it took me a full second or two to even understand why music looking right wasn’t the correct way to experience it.

I’m reminded of that Mitch Hedberg quote: “I was walking down the street with my friend and he said ‘I hear music,’ as though there’s any other way to take it in. ‘You’re not special. That’s how I receive it too… I tried to taste it, but it did not work.'”

I think it’s like when you try to breathe that water you’re drinking – I must have just tried to take it in the wrong way. I wish I could do it again.

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