Inspired by the works of Random Earth Project.
“When was the last time you listened to music?”
The question had been on my mind since noticing a faint, rhythmical squeak from the garage door after parking the Benz that morning. It sounded orchestrated against the background whirr of the powerful electric motors. Birds singing in the cedar trees lining the drive had added a natural undertone to the soundscape. We are human and such thoughts can often be sparked by the most random thing.
“I’m listening to music now. It’s Radio Two.” She replied.
I pull one of the rattan stools from beneath the bar, fiddle with the sun umbrella’s remote control to give us both more shade, sit down and pour myself a tumbler of chilled Prosecco. More manly than a glass with a stem I fancy.
“No, I mean really listened. Doing nothing else – not driving, not reading, not having a massage – just submerging yourself into the sounds musicians have created.”
She glances up from her magazine; my beautiful wife is the mistress of casual leafing. Vogue or some such. Glossy. A comic for the chronically insecure or the terminally pretentious, but the photos are nice – a pretty lady and some bloke wearing a green tee shirt. Ukrainian I notice from the headline – fetching, I think to myself.
“I don’t have time to sit around doing nothing and I certainly don’t have the energy to search for new music.” Her voice trails off or I’ve stopped listening. Not sure.
Nevertheless, it isn’t the response I hope for and my face must be showing it because she curls her lip and gives me one of those ‘here we go again’ looks before vigorously flicking over a page. After a few moments of scrambling around in my brain, I utterly fail to track down any relevance in her comment. Eventually, I say, “But, isn’t that precisely what you’re doing now? Nothing.”
“No, I’m reading a magazine.”
“No, you’re skimming through a magazine. You’re not reading it. It may as well be wallpaper, something you notice only once and then ignore or are completely oblivious to.”
“And what’s wrong with that? It helps me relax.”
“And the radio? You’re not really taking any notice of that either, are you? In fact, you’re actively not doing two totally different things simultaneously. You must be exhausted.”
She takes a sip from her glass and fixes her deep hazel eyes upon me. She possesses the air of an indulgent mother superior about to chastise an immodest novitiate. I can almost feel the vibrations from her neurotransmitters through the soles of my loafers.
“Oh, for God’s sake! Not everything has to be complicated.” She is forthright. Blunt. She continues, “right now I need distraction without having to commit to anything. It’s not deep, it’s simple. It’s called chilling out.”
Her phone begins to chirp. Perfect timing, I think. For her anyway. She snatches it from the pocket of her robe, rises from the chair and walks into the house. I gather it’s her agent calling about preparations for an upcoming trip to Sorrento – apparently, she’ll be launching memes into the Twittersphere. Throwing out clickbait for pod-blasting tubers and soundbites for the mentally petrified. Involuntarily, my eyes roll, I hate it when she goes away.
And so, I am alone with my thoughts.
In the early evening sunlight my lawn, freshly misted by the sprinklers, is glinting like a field of diamonds. Beyond the summerhouse, my cherished willows stand as wistful sentries on the emerald green bank that fringes the lapping Thames. We talk often, the willows and I, of many things but later this evening, whiskey in hand, we shall speak about music. How we are overcome by a hot flush of excitement when we discover something new, not just the latest hyped-up offerings from the very few modern-day performers worthy of merit, but more usually from mature, grounded, sincere musical virtuosos who know their craft and have spent many, often gruelling, years honing their gifts, their talent. Who, when the time was right, when their creative stars aligned, joined together and fashioned something sublime. Something that could not have existed if one incidental note in the opera of their individual careers had been misplayed.
I flick through the sound system directory and find “Holy Blues” by Random Earth Project.
From the first dissonant chord, I am a dissected human being. My heart starts beating to an intense rhythm hewn from the molten core of the Earth while my brain disconnects and floats away, vacantly benign, upon an ocean of quicksilver. It is classic blues, but is it? It is amazing, that’s for sure. Prog Blues? Potentially.
Whatever badge the music is bequeathed and whatever it is that’s happening to me now, when you listen, really listen, and absorb the combined magic of that steaming voice, the thrashing guitar, the orchestral grandeur of the Hammond organ stitched together by the driving elemental percussion of the bass, you are going to be swept into an alternative state of being. You too will be a dissected Human.
It is music that demands your full attention and rewards the listener with treasures far in excess of the effort expended.
I watch as my beautiful woman slips through the bi-fold doors, steps onto the lawn and begins to sway. Her body glistens with the going down of the sun as she dances naked on gilded splinters. A perfect vision.
It takes a big man to cry… and I am crying.
Core collective members of Random Earth Project
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© Rod McRiven 2021