Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Techno Music (aka the MRI visit)

This is a stretch, but stick with me here as I explain something...

At a young age I was introduced to playing the piano. I didn't really have a choice as my mother was an organist and working towards her own degree in music theory. Now mind you, as a first grader it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when older people are commenting to you about how when they were young they also played the piano and then they quit a few years later. And now when these older people look back they regret not sticking to playing.

I guess I listened to them enough to keep pounding on the ivory. Yeah, pounding! My teachers were never impressed with my skill to play music softly, because I was drawn to playing everything loud and hard. Call me a hardman of the piano. Needless to say, I stuck with lessons for eight years. Toward the beginning of high school I started focusing on basketball and less on music, but still enjoyed playing from time to time. Probably one of my favorite moments was at high school graduation where I busted out a Bach sonata to the surprise of all my classmates.

Around this time I was discovering electronic music. This was in the late 80's, early 90's and Kraftwerk had laid down the roots of this genre. I soon discovered Orbital, The Orb and Underworld. BTW, one of my favorite concerts was Orbital/Underworld tag team at the Fillmore in SF. Absolutely brilliant...stayed up all night and fell asleep at my desk at work at 3pm the next day. Woke up with sore calves from jumping up and down to the music.

I thought I could put my piano background to use. I dabbled a little bit with hooking up my old synth to my Apple Mac II and trying out the
MIDI stuff. It didn't work out too well because my synth was mono-phonic; it could only play one sound at a time. So much for trying to layer a bass line, percussion and a melody all on top of each other. And I realized that the cost to do this would have been tremendous between all the gear I'd need. So back to the drawing board...

I ended up being introduced to DJ'ing by some friends who were into the rave scene in LA. I spent a few months finishing up school over in Oxford and fell head over heals into the club scene, particularly around the music. I ended up coming home with almost 30 pounds of vinyl in my backpack. I got hooked up with some people here in the Bay Area in the mid to late-90's and did some DJ'ing. Mostly small stuff, but fun nonetheless. On a side note I still have my technics and bust them out from time to time for my kids...it trips them out that I'm able to
match beats.

So what does this have to do with my MRI visit? A lot to me if you look at it from a musical perspective. There are times where I can let my mind wander and allow my ears to travel down a sonic journey. Whether this be on a beach, amid the redwoods or while listening to a mix tape, it's a fascinating little journey in my head.

While the MRI was pounding away taking pictures of the bulging disc I let it happen. I let the pulsating hits of the machine wash through my ears and I found myself focusing on the secondary sounds the machine was producing. When you think of the MRI and the sounds it makes, it's usually the "click, click, click" that is common. When I'm lying there I hear that too, but after about twenty seconds my ears start picking up the smaller, more faint sounds of the machine. It's like I can hear all the inner-workings of the MRI; gears clicking, things rotating, stuff like that. It's like my own little techno mixtape in my head.

Yeah, so it's a far reach to pull these two things together. But for me, I actually like the MRI as I know it will be a twenty minute mix of minimalistic techno at its finest.


Dr. X said...

Aw yeah!!! I feel it too - worked in brain imaging for a few years and I heard it all the time! (You should hear the lame mp3 crap I train to; musique, non-stop...) Hope the disky thing doesn't hold you down too long.

Tall & Manley said...

Nice to know I'm not the only person who can hear those other sounds at the MRI.

As for the disc, just talked w/ the doc yesterday. He didn't reveal anything too new, but the injury isn't as bad as it was when it initially happened back in June '07. Just need to add more rest into my routine, continue my core exercises and stretching, and add some general weight training (more from a maintain perspective) into my routine.

Anonymous said...

I fully agree with your thoughts on the mri sounds! The fact that it sounded like techno actually kept me calm (although I was trying damn hard not to move to the beats lol).

Jason Bowen said...

Yup! Pretty friggin cool, had a hard time not getting all wiggly in there. The tech probably would not have been amused.

Jason Bowen said...

Yup! Pretty friggin cool, had a hard time not getting all wiggly in there. The tech probably would not have been amused.