noise

i've been taking a lot of walks lately, most of them on the same route. this route includes a stretch in which i'm walking along a path next to a busy road. and i do mean busy: there are cars on it at all hours of the day. i like to listen to music while i walk. i have a small mp3 player and some bluetooth headphones, and i'll play an album or something while i go down this path along this highway.

one day i was taking a walk and listening to an ambient album (if you're interesting, it was the ep 'canal seven' by second thought - you can find it here, i can wholeheartedly recommend it). it had a lot of silent bits in it between sounds, and whenever i hit one of these gaps i could hear the cars passing by. this irked me the slightest bit: i wanted to be fully immersed in the album, and having to hear noise whenever there was a pause was not conducive to that goal. so i was walking, enjoying the music but thinking it would be nicer if there weren't cars constantly driving by, when suddenly there was a gap in the traffic. there were a few seconds where no cars were passing by me, a few seconds of silence, and i was kinda struck by the effect: a second ago the music had seemed secondary, for lack of a better word: like it was trying to compete against the noise of the road and at best it was a stalemate. but in that moment with no cars passing by, it was silent save for the music, and i really did feel immersed in it. it wasn't competing against anything, it was just me and it, and the fact that this had happened out of nowhere only added to the effect. then the gap closed, cars continued to pass by, and the noise returned.

this got me thinking a bit about other times i'd had similar experiences with the music i was listening to interacting with the noise on this road. a couple times i'd been walking and listening to some more melodic music (exactly what escapes me, sorry), and most of the parts had been loud enough to drown out any noise from cars, but occasionally there would be a quieter bit and it came through. but with these songs, i didn't feel like the music was losing its fight: it was winning by a lot normally, and these quieter parts of the songs allowing the noise of the cars to shine through was a concession of sorts, letting the sounds of the environment work with the song before it went back to drowning them out. the noise had a distinctly different character here: whereas with the quieter ambient music it seemed almost malicious, covering up what was an otherwise beautiful album, with these songs it seemed benevolent, complimenting and improving a track.

i don't know what i was trying to get at here. i just wanted to jot some thoughts down somewhere. who knows, maybe you found them interesting. i hope at the very least they weren't boring. thanks for reading i suppose.

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