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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #175
Susurrus, Gurgle & Boom
David Gunn

The soothing gurgle of a woodland brook in late spring; the gentle whisper of the wind through a copse of rubber trees; the delicate pitter patter of a summer rain on a rayon roof; the happy tintinnabulation of belladonna alkaloids whenever their host jimsonweed goes into estrus; the comic belch of a laboratory geyser spewing Physics Department Bean Coffee all over the urine samples; the soft susurrus of park grass screeching in vegetative pain as the ChemLawn truck driver applies excessive amounts of chlordane after spotting an unwanted ant; the cognitive sigh of a south sea wave shortly after meteorological conditions begin to transform it into a lethal tsunami, and the collective sough of 2,200 hapless fish in the vicinity who are about to be uprooted from their underwater lodgings for the umpteenth time; the hot hiss of lava coursing down the volcano cone into the sleeping village where, up until a minute ago, the natives -- featured in a National Geographic television special as the last of a Stone Age culture with no ties to the outside world, a fact that had anthropologists drooling in anticipation of long-term scrutiny and large research grants -- were completely ignorant of imminent catastrophe: these are but a few of the musical sounds of nature.

Oh, and did I mention the mischievous rumble of plate tectonics spawning an earthquake registering 6.9 on the Richter scale, an omen of rather extensive seismological discombobulation for the hundreds of millions of west coat denizens who live alongside the San Gabriel Fault? Yes, that too, and more. And while some of these sounds may strike apprehension in the hearts of musical ignoramuses who wouldn't know a good acoustical event if it whacked them upside their cranial appendages, the local artistic intelligentsia, which includes many of our listening audients, realize the truth in the adage "No pain, no gain."

It's true: the more unpleasant, offensive, distressing or awful an event -- such as hearing a piece of not readily accessible music, for instance one played on Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, this 175th episode of which is no exception as will be evidenced throughout the show -- seems, the better, more gratifying and propitious it will in the long run be for you. Like the medical application of hungry leeches to open sores bedewed with bile-filled pus, or the removal of an idiot savant's brain to forestall excessive limerick production, or even the amputation of Enya's trust fund, the end does justify the means.

The burbling brook, the whispering breeze, the drum of the rain, the tinkling alkaloids, the eructative geyser, the shrilling grass, the sighing ocean with its hapless fish, even the seething lava and booming temblor -- all are acoustical events that at times we humans have difficulty turning into musical events due to our own petty partialities.

Such is not the case with today's guest, an authority on hot springs and the deleterious effects they have on the Craftmatic beds and reclining chairs they inhabit by often causing them to spontaneously combust or squeak, as is evidenced in the following field recording. [recording]

A 1969 Barcalounger in the throes of geyser discombobulation, recorded without external funding in interiormost Vermont and providing a needed if somewhat tenuous segue to the welcome back flambonically throaty discliplines of Kalvos.