Implacable Sweetness of Sound

"Abstract Fruit" by Laurie Salmela

You thought I was going to talk about food, didn’t you? Gotcha!  I’m going to talk about music instead.

Music is like… well it’s like a… well, hell, I’m not sure how to put into words what music is like for me. I was prompted to write about it because I was shuffling through my iTunes library and I came across a little gem I forgot about. There is a woman in my home town named Datri. Datri Bean to be specific.  She is a musician. A singer. A song writer. A band leader. A fabulous gal.

I have a sort of round about way of knowing her, though in truth, I don’t know her at all. She’s the wife of the man who is the best friend of my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband. I’m sure you get that.

This song I have on loop right now is called “I Saw A Sign”.  It pulses in a delightful way with her slightly twangy voice undulating with the lyrics.  It tastes…sweet. Sweet like a peach, but also a little creamy, almost buttery.

Weird, huh?  That a song tastes like something to me.  Music has always tasted like something when I hear it. It emits a certain fragrance or odor, depending on how it makes me feel.  Ever since I can remember, and more so when I became a musician, I would have these feelings.

It’s not really all that strange if you believe that the phenomenon of synesthesia is legit.  There are people who see color in sounds. They associate color with certain letters or numbers. Sometimes they feel differently when they experience things like dates. Maybe 1920 just feels so much further away than 1990.  The brain is a complicated organ. It can do fascinating things.

For me, I taste and smell sound. In another one of Datri’s songs, “Foolish”, I taste lemons and mint, but I also feel the humid nights of early September. I feel warm and silken.

As I mentioned, I am…was…no, am a musician. A violinist to be specific, so it’s no surprise that orchestral music is particularly enticing. For example, baroque music is warm almost too hot to play. It leaves me breathless. It tastes like clove. Vivaldi. Corelli. Telemann. Clove and a little cinnamon, but just a hint.  Bach tastes like an orange and feels like an ocean wave washing on top of me.  Sibelius? Crisp temperatures. The taste of ice. And Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” just feels like I’m pressing my face against the cold, smooth surface of stainless steel. It tastes like salt, but that’s because it always brings me to tears.

There isn’t a kind of music that doesn’t elicit such vivid sensations. They’re not all pleasant, but most of the time it’s an exhilarating experience.

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Six Degrees of SXSW

It’s over!  The annual onslaught from Hipster Nation has ended.  I’m saying that gleefully but if I’m being honest, I’m a little sad that it’s come to an end.  I didn’t even get to any shows or films or events. I never do, actually.  That’s not because I don’t like the festival. It’s usually because I also seem to have something else going on at the same time.  When I was working (thus having my older kiddo in day care), I would take off a few days during the music portion and work some industry events as an event manager, but those days are gone.

Now I live vicariously through the experiences of my friends thanks to the miracle-curse that is Facebook.  It was a blast to see people post their stories about who they ran in to, hung out with, gawked at from 50 feet. Here’s a little run down in my own SXSW version of the Kevin Bacon game (incidentally, no one saw him at the festival.)

  • 2 degrees — Anthony Bourdain!  Say what?!  He is by far my biggest celebrity crush. He was in town and a mom-friend of mine who has a record production company ran in to him while she was out with one of her bands. Group hug pic and everything!
  • 2-3 degrees — Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler — Honestly, it’s not hard to run in to Matthew around here. He is a local and loves to blend in with the other greasy hipsters. It’s also not hard to run in to the Wilson brothers (as in Owen and Luke) either, but I wouldn’t be upset if I did.  Now Gerard Butler? That’s definitely a fun brush with celebrity!
  • 1 degree (maybe 1.5) — Mumford & Sons — This one was the best SXSW story I read, by far.  A little background: my brother in law is a pedicab builder and rider. He has a business partner, K (also a friend) who is a very cool, likable guy. SXSW is a huge week for them and their riders, so they busted tail all week working hard and giving rides.  The reward (besides bringing home some serious dough)? Mumford and Sons!  Here’s how the story goes: The partner, K, was hanging at the main shop and M&S rolls up to the bay around 4:30 am looking for a ride. K was not aware at the time it was M&S and just had a laid back time with a few drinks, a nice chat, and a stroll through the city. At their final stop, M&S tipped him well and then invited K as their guest to their Saturday show!  I thought it was a pretty sweet story.

My other favorite part about SXSW is the trade show (I am a former event manager after all). I don’t attend as it’s for badge holders only. My husband’s best friend from college is on staff with SXSW and for the last few years as asked him to consult on some things involving the interactive portion of the festival. For his expertise, the hubs gets a badge for Interactive & Film.  He’ll generally hit up the trade show and bring me all kinds of fun swag. This year is looks like buttons are in as are magnets. Cards with links and promo codes to free downloads were also a big hit. I’m just a sucker for a nice tote bag!