Thursday, January 18, 2007

WALK IN(frasound), WALK OUT

Topic: Sound

The first time I heard the idea of a "Walk Out Song" was at a bar in Brooklyn. A friend, "The Marco", heard "A Message To You Rudy" by The Specials. He got up and left. "That's my walkout song" he said. Ok, so that's it, when you're about ready to leave you pick a song, play it on the juke box and when it comes on, you walk out. It's unclear as to whether you look cooler when doing this- or if anyone even notices, but that's beside the point. It feels cool. Now the "Walk In" song, or "Entrance" song is completely new to me. I received an e-mail from a friend the other day announcing her husband's choice for "Best Entrance Song Ever". Billy's choice was "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk. He walked into a bar in Florida and it was playing. It struck a chord with him, so there it is. "Robot Rock, Best Entrance Song Ever" . . . according to Billy. He's yet to weigh in with his choice of "Walk Out Song". I'm sticking with "A Message to You Rudy".

I gave a little thought to my "Walk In Song", kicked around a few songs and finally settled on "Pulk-Pull Revolving Doors" It's from Radiohead's Amnesiac record. I'm still not sure whether it was my subconscious that drew me to a song about doors or not. This song has so much bass it could literally make you sick. . .and it has when they performed it live. It's a tricky one though, because it sounds terrible on a system without a good sub woofer.

In 1957, while working in the field of robotics,(curiously enough considering Billy's "Robot Rock") Dr. Vladimir Gavreau and his research team periodically experienced nausea. Medical researchers were called in and though they couldn't find anything in the lab, they began feeling nauseous as well. It was discovered that the symptoms occurred only when an exhaust fan was running. The fan's motor was creating a low intensity pitch of 7 cycles per minute, far below the range of the human ear. The sound generated by the motor vibrated in an adjacent concrete duct, which then behaved as a pipe in an organ. The building itself, with it's vast empty space, concrete walls and tall ceilings acted as an amplifier. Though the French government denied it, Dr. Gavreau abandoned his work on robotics and took up studying experimental infrasonic weaponry.

While working on a sound effect for a cartoon, Walt Disney and a few artists became very ill when the audio tape of a soldering iron was greatly slowed down and played through a theater sound system. The original 60 cycle tone was lowered to 12 cycles. The effect was sickening and left Disney and the crew nauseous for days.

In the very early stages of an earthquake, the grinding caused by the movement of tectonic plates creates a low frequency tone that is heard and felt by animals long before humans can detect it. This accounts for the erratic behavior of many animals in the moments preceding an earthquake. Coming from deep within the earth's crust the animals can't pinpoint the direction from which it comes. Therefore they scramble, terrified, in every direction.

Billy's "Robot Rock" has been tested and proven in the field to rock the house, whereas "Pulk-Pull Revolving Doors" might fail for lack of bass capacity, or just a plain flaw in design on my part. I'm sticking with it though. Hopefully it's, "YEAH! Grab the room. Listen to the bass go BOOM!!!" and not " . . .and boom goes the dynamite."

1 comment:

Roni said...

Oh great... Now everyone knows Billy is gay. ;)