a couple days ago i listened to an excellent episode of one of my favorite radio shows, radio lab, which was all about the musicality of language, and one woman mentioned that sound is like touch...from a distance. i thought about that statement for a long time, and tucked it away, but nearby.
having just experienced a live show at the elastic venue (which continues to offer incredible live music experiences in an intimate, orange-walled room above a chinese restaurant that's a ten minute walk from my house) by hauschka i'm beginning to think that i understand what she was getting at.
hauschka is: volker bertelmann on the piano and a variety of noisemakers - bottlecaps, scrunched up pieces of plastic wrap, tin foil, duct tape - accompanying him in the band. bertelmann plays hypnotic, repetitive songs that sometimes jag off course in the blink of an ear. but as striking as the melodies he performs are the additional sounds coaxed from his piano thanks to the obstructions nesting on (and IN) its strings that resonate around, under and through every key that's struck. the sounds that materialized were physical and active - you could almost taste the vibrations and disrupted airwaves. you could feel them, tapping nerves and knocking on veins, nudging cells. i felt coated by the end of the performance - with simply a thin layer of piano covering my arms. for an aspiring (slowly, and without direction) pianist, this was about the most welcome lotion imaginable.
i have no idea if this is the sort of thing the woman from radio lab was talking about. but i think she's spot on: sound is like touch...from a distance.
think of all the fingerprints out there. then treat yourself to some hauschka.
i'd be interested to know of other musics - live or recorded - that anyone reading this post has felt, in her/his bones...