Sound Heals the Wild Beast

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I don’t know about you, but sound, audio, music, making mixes on spotify, catching up on my favorite standards on pandora keeps me well whole happier.

Spoken words, a whisper, a shout, sirens in downtown Baltimore, the caw caw caw of the crows and bread eating birds that follow as a flock like your shadow – the sound of wings doing that whoosh whoosh whoosing to the air makes my steps stutter.

The connection between sound and creativity is one and the same to me. A first memory of sound comes to listening, obsessing on cinderella (disney 33 rpm) while a sickly child and finding old 88s in Seattle during undergraduate studies, looking at old scores, learning how to write music as a kid taking piano in Kolding, Denmark, receiving 45s of american pop songs from Uncle Joe at Hickam AF Base on Honolulu to help socialize me while I was being homeschooled, isolated and alienated due to the academic differences in Denmark and my education. One white gray winter’s day, at 8, peeking from the corner of a hallway, I watched my German piano teacher in Kolding play the rise in Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue and I dreamt and I was hooked.

As a person with shared lived experience, I also, during this annual season of Fall thru Winter experience what fits the descriptor of audio psychosis elements where sound enters me peripherally and I hear music with improved orchestraic arrangements, orchestration and direction. I could have been a musical director, I muse to friends. Perhaps. Nothing would make me happier than to live well making art.

acrylic on wood, original
acrylic on wood, original

My father, Pete, was the same, I think. In Schofield Barracks, outside of Wahiawa, Hawaii, during Vietnam, as a 1st grader, I would slip into the back patio door rather than the front door because of my soiled white Our Lady of Sorrows socks that matched my milk-spilled wool uniform for school, and see my Father, the Soldier, there listening as I do now. He was laying down, feigning a nap on a large sofa, the Japanese pillow over his head and La Boheme blared and bled out of his headsets, which he wears inasmuch as I do my red beats today. I fell in love with Puccini and Mimi’s death rang true to me, then and there.

Call it sun deprivation in the Fall-Winter season. Call it seasonal affective disorder. I call it soothing the wild beast as my hyde goes inner and I hide inside while pumping and amping Vitamin D 5000s. It is interesting to note how that works, too, actually.

I invite you to search out and hear my music and mixes. Sound heals. I believe in thermoacoustics (use of sound as a natural energy source via deep low vibrational tones that naturally act and drive engines to cool off. NASA utilizes it.) Then again, there was NASA SETI where while working with the State Legislature in Monterey/Carmel (AD-27 Monterey) with the now Congressman Sam Farr (CD-17, Carmel), I visited and saw 1st hand the system analyzing millions of incoming sound signals for proof of life outside of our universe. SETI are heroes to me.

At Atlanta Productions in Stockton, California, I cut 1/4″ tape for industrial and commercial but primarily jingles teaching me the hook – how to get it, how to write it, how to engineer it out onto 2″ tape. Studying playwriting and screenwriting and Interning with the original George Coates Performance Works Company in San Francisco, sound was essentially why I did it. I managed multiscreen motion picture houses and would stay after closing to watch and listen my favorite 35 mm’s inasmuch as Jax, Greg and I did with Kit Parker Films in Carmel on their 16 mm.

While Beethoven laid his head on his piano to listen to tone and vibration, as do I with music, sound, audio… anything that emits. Hour long electronic podcasts with Chris Tietjen like EG.546 blows my headsets off and I’m sure, my neighbors as well.

Healing and so it goes that the Holidays are around the corner meaning the Boston Pops, Harry, Sinatra and the barrage of, “… what are you doing New Years Eve…” or Mariah’s “… all I want for Christmas…” and Ella and Louis’ “… Baby, it’s cold outside…” or Eartha Kitt, Henri Rene & His Orchestra’s, “… hurry down the chimney tonight…” plays out more than I would ever admit to you. Florence, my sister, took me to my very first concert at UC Davis when I was 13 to see Santana play and the guitars hit the highs and lows that I hear, see, feel.

Bring it on.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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