Music: Existence

Every night (or morning or afternoon or evening) before I sleep, after I dig my head under a pillow, I drift off into another world. It's a stark white. With no walls, no ceiling, only a bare floor that stretches to infinity. There's no sun, no moon, no clouds, no wind, no rain. It isn't barren, however.

There's a house here, on a little grassy hill. It's quite small, but large enough for one person to dwell in comfortably. A dirt path leads from the front of this house to some unforseen locale, winding past several pine trees.

I live here. See that house on the shallow hill? Yup, that one. That's mine. Built it myself; took a couple years, yeah, but I still got it done. Actually, I'm the one that built the hill, too. And I planted the trees; that was a toughie, but I had an extra dose of resourcefulness in my pocket. Oh, and I also laid every inch of grass myself.
Well, it used to just be a large white room, as it were, I felt like making it my own, seeing as I come here everyday, staying from anywhere between a few minutes and (more likely) several hours, leaving with a sharp fade as I sink into a deep sleep.

Well, I'll tell you, I love that place. I want to expand the grassy field, plant some lavender flowers, strawberries, and a caapi vine or two. And maybe smuggle in an ocean, with token blue whale. But keep the people out.
Because that's one of the reasons I love it there, and one of the reasons I give you Existence. It's quiet, unconfined, and unburdened by the Human Overwatch. My own geekoric sanctuary where I don't need to deal with people and cater to their whims or clubby opinions and I sure as great Hades don't need to do anything other than lie in the grass and stare at the trees all day long.

It's nothing personal, I just prefer my humans rare.

Well, anyway, not only can't I seem to be able to get my microphone working in Awesomenessland, but life is a curious thing. I guess this won't turn out to be my most inspirational or lucid piece (and please do forgive me, I do have a varied plethora of things on my mind), but it's a fact I've been aware of for longer than the time it took me to make Existence. It's an effect, perhaps, of my introverted nature that I contain an apparently narcissistic trait. It's not an offshoot of vanity, I'll just say, and not classical narcissism (although every person is narcissistic to some degree), but the simple act of being more preoccupied with my own thoughts and tending to ignore others as a result. (Hm, does that mean misanthropes are reclusive because they're misanthropes or misanthropes because of their introverted and reclusive nature?) It's a surprise, then, when it suddenly dawns on me how detailed life is.

Yeah, yeah, but think about it. Sure, I've never looked at ferns, the weather, or my desk the same way since I stumbled upon James Gleick, but that's not even what I mean. As always, I have my own work to thank for throwing it hard enough at my gawking face for me to take notice.

There's a whole world out there. Mine is empty, but this one is unfathomably populous. There are so many different variations of unicellular organisms; fungi; cnidarians; molluscs and other lophotrochozoans; insects and arthropods; echinoderms; tunicates; marsupials; monotremes; amphibians; reptiles; birds; rodents; afrotherians; chiropterans; even- and odd-toed ungulates; caniforms and feliforms; primates and apes (these are only those my meagre knowledge can remember, by the way, so there are many more) that to attempt to list them all is impossible. Seriously. I tried, but not only does the fact that we still haven't discovered every species on Earth make it tricky, but we still haven't even managed to name and properly categorise all those we have discovered (I forget the exact details, but I remember this story of a mouse-like creature discovered about a century ago that managed to go extinct while the scientists were thinking of what to name it. Apparently, the animal's discoverer regretted taking his cat), so difficult and time-consuming is the process.

This is the scope of life on Earth (let's disregard life elsewhere). Maybe it's smaller than the infinite expanse of my white world, but it's so much more rich, detailed, dense, and unpredictable. And this is perhaps the greatest reason for the above collection of songs. It does fail to encompass everything 'round these parts, obviously, but it's the effect of, yeah, looking out a window like all recluses do, and feeling like you're seeing Earth for the first time. And experiencing it as an observer (because that's what I do, observe). Watching the cars go by, listening to a person talk or the birds at five in the morning, or an accordion (seriously! When I see a sidewalk performer nowadays, I have to stop and listen. Those things kick ass), and experiencing the sputtering power of a garbage truck.

Existence is, then, to me, the soundtrack to Earth's mind-bending complexity.


Late April: Recorded around 7 p.m.

Jerry: Plane was recorded near Cabo de São Vicente in Portugal by Dobroide. Jerry was interviewed by Charlie Bennett in either San Francisco or Denver (there's some confusion here, but I think it's San Francisco), on 5 January, 2007.

Nifflasic Shower in Another World: The name is part-reference to the indie developer and musician, Nicklas 'Nifflas' Nygren, because the shower reminds me of one of the rainy settings of his games.

Introspective Stranger: None.

Politics: Recorded with a Digital Wave Player, during the (British) Prime Minister's question time.

For Food and Communication: Bats were recorded by Digifishmusic. Worldwide HF radio beacons was recorded by Acclivity one 21 November, 1999 at 18:10 GMT in Sussex, England. The whale crying was recorded by mkoenig.

Incomprehensible Form: Herb Morrison's reaction to the Hindenburg disaster was extracted from a video on the Internet Archives about said disaster, produced by C. E. Price. The police helicopter was recorded by Dobroide, as was the garbage truck and the mentally ill homeless woman shouting. San Franciscan street noise was recorded by LS. The street accordionist was recorded by Reinsamba.


The Freesound Project and Internet Archives, these sites are pure Awesomeness. Everyone that had to suffer my indelible racket; and those that had the patience to let me disappear for longer than I cared to be away. And Lee for astute observations and criticism.

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