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Hearing Double.

Preferences in music are probably formed as purposely and arbitrarily as preferences in food and clothing. There’s a little bit of tension between a necessity like food, something indisputably vital for survival and clothing, a baseless “necessity” anchored on social protocol. But I use these two examples regarding the formation of music preferences for two reasons: 1.] I’m from the school of thought that believes that art is necessary to thrive/survive and in that way, music is food but 2.] unlike food, music is an optional pleasure and one can indulge themselves here and there, and assign their own degree of value to it–like clothing. What’s pleasing to you is only necessary so long as it continues to bring you pleasure.

Listening to music is actually a perceptual event that takes place in your brain. It’s auditory, true, but your mind actually grasps onto music almost like sight. It tracks note, tones, pieces together melodies, groups structures. There are two branches of study that address sound as it is interpreted by humans: psychoacoustics refers to the human perception of just sound while music cognition relies more on human perception of sound as a musical event.

I like to think I have phonographic memory. If I’ve heard it before, it’s there somewhere– locked in the mental cache, the sonic rolodex– and can be roused at any time.


Albany – Kev Brown

How Big Is Your World? – Median

This Kev Brown track was included on a mixtape someone made for me during the fall last year. I remember going for walks and listening to this on repeat. It’s a sweet, sentimental song. I feel like I have synesthesia [a neurological condition where one sensory pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory pathway] when I listen to this song. This song smells like pumpkin pie and feels like the kind of sweater with buttons instead of a zipper.

I just heard the Median track a few days ago and it evoked the same feeling. I can’t really grasp onto how to describe the fuzzy chime sound in both of the songs. It kind of makes my heart melt. I like Median’s voice a lot. Sometimes I feel like people have “rap voices” that strip them of the essential tone of their natural voice. I imagine it’s very subtle in the way that you can tell the difference of your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s voice when they’re only talking to you and when they’re talking to other people. I imagine Median sounds the same when he’s rhyming and when he picks up the phone to say hello. I like that.

If you play both of these songs one right after the other, it almost sounds like the same song is starting over again.


About Etta Strange

Writer, obsessive audiophile, secret bedroom DJ, local daydreamer with more books than shelf space. I'm stockpiling for the inevitable drought. Let's collaborate.

One response to “Hearing Double.

  1. That’s damn fine prose. I’ve had similar experiences but I thought you were gonna go in a different direction. My experiences are usually like I’ll go back and listen to the original that a sample is taken from and connect it to the new version. I’ve also heard songs from different artists that capture identical sentiments almost as if they could be on the same album…BTW, if you’ve found any of that Stiffed material let me know. I couldn’t find that stuff ANYWHERE.

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