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Q: Did you ever have a time in your life when you made a certain sound so much that people asked you to stop? Like not just once but for a time period spanning months
A PSYCHEDELIC SOUND WORLD INSIDE THE TONE / STOP IT / ELIANE ET AL / READER RESPONSES / LINKS
My "sound I made all the time" was a really high-pitched sustained tone that I made circa age 10. It's hard to describe how this sound was produced but I could do it with my mouth closed, and it was independent from my breathing, so I could hold a single note for a long time. It was a little bit like the sound of a steam radiator, or like a very slow train eternally coming to a stop. And I could only make one note, I couldn't vary the pitch at all, not even a little vibrato. I didn't know that anyone else could even hear it until one day my cousin just said, "that's YOU making that sound!!!". Somehow I thought I was making a noise that only I could hear.
I can't make the sound anymore, I guess my skull changed. But years later when I discovered people making music with high-pitched sustained tones, like Éliane Radigue, the Onkyo scene, Tuvan music, insect field recordings, etc., it really felt like a homecoming. And now I love to hear about "what was your sound". Here's a selection of responses from when I asked you guys this a while back. To all the musicians that answered, you should consider putting this kind of info in your bio!
Teen phase "everything is a drum"
When I was 10 I had a thing where I would alternate puffing out my cheeks, back and forth on either side - making a sort of swishing sound - I would do it absentmindedly while watching tv, or in the back seat during a car trip, and my sister or mom or whoever was close by would have to tell me to please knock it off. I don't remember exactly how long it lasted, but being asked to stop happened a lot - enough for me to remember that it was a thing that I did.
Constantly. Im an idle whistler and it used to drive Alex Curtin nuts. This went on for years at Wayward Boys house. He got me back by playing the bass line of Rock Lobster for a year while teaching himself to play bass.
glottal stop mid-word for enhanced effect, inspired by watching "encino man". drove my partner insane, even more so after she found herself doing it too.
there was indeed such a time. The sound was called a "frog vomit noise". could be produced by creating suction with the tongue on the roof of one's mouth while doing a kind of swallowing noise. keep your mouth closed the entire time and act casual. best deployed as a covert disruption in a junior high mathematics class room. success is achieved when your teacher loudly says: whoever keeps doing that weird frog vomiting noise... knock it off! attack has a higher rate of success when used against substitute teachers.
No, but I was accused of asking people if they've ever seen Arachnaphobia too much as a tween ("you've asked me that like 100 times already").
I can make a sound with my mouth that makes three different tones come out at the same time and I used to do it A LOT. People are either entranced or horrified by it. I did it once in front of a good friend of mine and she ran out of the room screaming. She came back later and very seriously asked me to never make the sound in front of her ever again and I haven't. That was the most intense reaction, but others have very plainly asked me to not make the noise around them.
oh big time, learned how to make armpit fart sounds as a 12 year old or whatever. parents did an intervention
Compulsive throat-clearing during early double-digits, annoying at sleepovers, inevitably related to other OCD compulsions like hand-washing, counting, cigarette-phobia and drawing
i used to sing in the car, like hum-singing. my mom said her dad used to do it too and she told him to shut up as well.
this has been an issue my whole life... for the last 3 months the sound is "skippity-dappidoo-badido"
I was in several hardcore bands, does that count? Besides that, I was a super quiet kid. Very much didn't wanna be noticed or bother anyone.
it's kinda dark, but my mom has misophonia, and growing up as an only child (thus the only chewer), she would make me eat in a separate room from her... i guess i still make this sound but now i'm surrounded by chewing-tolerant friends.
It happened on FC63 tour that I kept singing Waterloo Sunset to the point that people told me to stop, but I would change the lyrics to " My name is Kelley, I'm drinking a beer..." etc.
I got a little too into saying "bingo" for a while, I was told
very ordinary but I'm a pen-clicker. On zoom calls I always try to make sure I'm muted, but occasionally I have forgotten. No one has said anything about it yet.
no thank u
No, unless listening to the the same record over one million times is "making a certain sound", in which case guilty as charged. Mostly with Marianne Faithful and Death Vessel
No, I am pathologically aware of the people I am sharing a space with and whether or not I am doing something that would attract their attention/be annoying or otherwise remarkable. I would literally never.
excluding situations where someone wanted me to stop talking, no
yes. one of those has been described as "clicking" and you do it with your mouth a little open and sort of pulling your tounge backwards. i was told i did that at work constantly when i was "trying to be nice and about to talk".i would say i had been doing it for years, minimum. in high school, i was asked to not make a sucking in air sound when smoking by a boyfriend i was in the middle of breaking up with. i continued to make that sound for the next 20 years of smoking.
Éliane Radigue is really really great, and if you're not averse to the idea of a music made of long sustained sounds, you should check her out. Here's a shimmering number in the mid range: [youtube, 55min], and here's a long one at the high end of the sound spectrum, way up with the insects and individual hairs: [youtube, 3hrs]. Finally here's a little video portrait of the artist, which is very nice: [youtube, 15min]. The cliche of the avant garde musician is that they're super serious and mean, and this is especially so for those with a seemingly monolithic output. But in my personal experience I find that by and large they're fun and engaging (in a personal way) and love sweet pastries and animals. They radiate the joy of the person who has found what they like to do, like those people that only wear one specific shade of blue, or niche academics, or extreme holiday decorators. Éliane is no exception, she's like "wow, come on in, listen to the sound of this thing!".
here's a dynamite set from Hong Chulki, I'm sure there's other more famous acoustic (non-electronic) music in this sustained high-pitched sound format, but this is one that really got me. [youtube, 9min]
solo live set from Sachiko M, playing (I think) a sampler with no samples loaded. [youtube, 19m]. She has a lot of great collabs, many with Otomo Yoshihide. Here's a good one that also has "Mr Tabletop Guitar" Keith Rowe and "Mr No Input Mixer" Toshimaru Nakamura: [youtube, 20min]. Sachiko and Otomo also worked together on this video for one his songs, from the "TV themes" side of his career. As I understand, this was a huge hit-- he did the song and she stars in the vid, and did the choreography???? [link]
This post is derived from responses to a questionnaire I posted back in April. If you would like to join in, the original questionnaire is here: [link]. I'm not going to edit your answers in to this or the other two "questionnaire responses" posts I've posted so far, but I will fold them into future posts.
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