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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #276
Spatially Disorienting Music
David Gunn

At 6:30am last Friday, Detective Sergeant Reginald Petters was slouched down in the back seat of his undercover Lada across the street from the entrance to the Adobe Hills Savings and Loan in Salem, New Jersey, watching a five-foot-nine man with sandy colored hair, a small, crescent moon-shaped birthmark on his left cheek and a congenital bipolar astigmatism in both eyes skulk silently towards the row of the outdoor safety deposit boxes, his clandestine approach marred somewhat by the trail the tail of his whale costume was leaving as it etched a "follow me!" imprint in the soft loam behind him. As the masqueraded intruder fiddled with and forced the catch on one of the weather-resistant lockboxes, Sergeant Petters clicked on his radio to report the early morning shenanigans, keyed in his password, and awaited Apprehending Suspect Authorization 37D from Police Dispatcher Judy. But instead of the dulcet tones of the former Dover, Delaware diva, there issued from the radio speaker a sound so alien that, in comparison, it made fogdogs keening in parallel fifths sound like light opera. In his report, the detective said that the sound "seemed to swaddle my ears, nose and tongue like a bloody big serape made out of music -- spatially disorienting music."

Meanwhile, at 5:30am local time, in a Farcraft B21 jet jitney 39,000 feet above the Tylenora, Texas floodplain, Squadron Leader Lieutenant Reginald Bolingbroke checked the approach to his target, compensated for wind turbulence from tropical storm Ysidra, then powered up the experimental internet weapon he was testing for the Mexican DotCom Army. A hum enveloped the aircraft, causing powerful sympathetic vibrations from the cowling to the mudflaps. The plane pitched and yawed like a hula dancer on a high-speed escalator. A concerned Lieutenant Bolingbroke decided that this was reason enough to break ten hours of air silence, but still he did so surreptitiously by piggy-backing the transmission atop an innocuous email to his mum in Kidney, Australia. The message to Mission Command reported his position, estimated time to objective, and, not inconsequentially, the apprised status of his vehicle. A light on the instrument panel winked blue, signifying an incoming message, but when he punched the Receive button, his cockpit filled with what he later described as "squeebles, fleens and mad burnapes boring through my head like ravenous earwigs; it was the most unnerving, spatially disorienting sound -- no, make that music -- that I'd ever heard."

One hundred and ninety due west miles, in Ostrogoth, Texas, the dawning sun peeked over the Finlay Mountains, saw its shadow and, as Spumoni Indian legend asserted it had done every day for eons past, commenced such an unholy caterwauling that its children, the eleven planets, absquatulated into the heavens, never to return. At the same time, T. Reginald Larabee of the nearby Bar L-Larabee Ranch, was firing up his combine, preparing to harvest his winter purslane crop. While it was only 4:30 in the morning, T. Reginald appeared precariously tipsy, as if hed already been drinking heavily. In fact, he'd been drinking heavy water, deuterium oxide, in an attempt, as his affidavit later reported, "to git that dadgum sound outta my haid!" The sound he was referring to was the same spatially disorienting "music" heard by Reginalds Petters and Bolingbroke simultaneously in the two other time zones. According to that same Spumoni myth, this caterwauling of the dawn, roughly translated as the worst plucked parts of the crow, was caused by "an inversion of the subatomic particle vortex of a quantum gravity chain collapse, creating a Boolean paradox of the tenth dimension" -- in other words, the sound of a squawking, microtonal bassoon.

Clearer heads might posit that this is utter bunk, but clearer heads are not in abundance on this 276th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, where we are about to present for your spatially-disorienting pleasure the worst plucked parts of the microtonal bassoon, briefly preceded by a few unnerving ear-swaddling squeebles from our own squawking Kalvos.