01
May
10

Music That Doesn’t Exist


I can hear music that doesn’t exist yet. To me, this is probably the most amazing fact about the universe that there is.

As a keen fan of astronomy, physics, and the like (Michio Kaku allowed me to rationalise life in ways you wouldn’t quite believe) I can promise you that there is a hell of lot about the universe that’s amazing. But think about it. I can hear music that doesn’t exist yet.

If I could hear voices that didn’t exist, rather than music, you’d probably feel quite differently about me than you do, and would probably like a minimum of a ten-foot buffer zone just in case I happened to hear a voice that said KILL EVERYBODY. Not to worry though, I don’t hear voices. Well, except when I do, that is. 😛

Moving swiftly on, the point is that I hear music, and it’s this fact that has, throughout my life, gradually pushed me more and more towards the music industry. You probably hear music too, like when you’re thinking about your favourite song being on the radio and you absent-mindedly start singing or mumbling along to it. You don’t hear it as such, but your brain processes the information in more or less the same way as if you did.

There’s probably some fancy neurological explanation for all of this, perhaps one day some random supergeek who knows about these things will read this and enlighten us with their wisdom – in fact I really hope they do. Because I’d love to know where it comes from.

OK, theoretically speaking I do understand and accept that because there are a limited amount of notes in the octave there is a finite number of combinations in which they can be arranged, as well as a finite number of sonic frequencies that can make up the sound that they make at that note, and therefore it is absolutely undeniable that there is a finite number of tracks that can be made. Given that the majority of these combinations will be hideous to the human ear, you could argue that any “music” that I “hear” in my head is just the result of a highly advanced calculation going on in my brain at a subconscious level. I think I’ve already proven that my brain is quite happy enough to spend its’ time thinking about these things after all 😉 If I’m honest, a lot of that time has been whilst I’ve been mixing all the sets you can find on this website!

Anyway, you could still argue that because the potential for this combination already exists mathematically, the music I hear does already exist. But I still can’t help but feel this is a kind of soul-less explanation that somehow devalues the whole thing, rather as if I was saying that Shakespeare wasn’t special because one of those infinite number of monkeys with the infinite number of typewriters would have gotten there eventually.

Thankfully I don’t appear to be the only person in the universe with this musical version of schizophrenia. It’s quite a widely documented phenomenon, and I’ll wager that most songwriters, musicians, vocalists, composers, producers and the like, all have some variant of the same condition, and have gotten to where they are by translating this into actual music that does exist. Chances are I’ll also wager that it never quite sounds like they expect or want it to.

So either we’re all hearing things from the same meme-pool or we’re all calculating the same equations in our heads. But the thing I always come back to is that the music doesn’t exist yet. Not until we make it. But yet it does exist, otherwise we wouldn’t make it to begin with.

Sonic architecture is one thing – I confess it doesn’t interest me that much – which is very important in the act of actually producing music in the studio. It’s a vital part of making real music that does exist. But the music I can hear in my head involves none of that messy, technical process – after all, how could it, when it doesn’t actually exist yet?

If we assume that the music that I hear does not exist, it needs to be rationalised another way, and try as I might to do this, I think it all comes down to that it is the manifestation of the creative urge. My muse if you will. After all, it’s probably the reason I’m a DJ, the reason I sought out and eventually discovered trance, the reason I became a producer, and the reason I spend a lot of my free time running a label too. By contributing to the scene I’m not just satisfying my muse, I’m helping to define who I am. Because the music I hear is as much a constant in my life as anything else I can imagine, and in that sense it’s absolutely a part of who I am. From this, the only logical conclusion seems to be that being a part of this scene is something I’m supposed to be doing with my life.

Trance isn’t the only music that I hear – you probably wouldn’t believe some of it. When I was 13 I wrote a track in my head that at best you’d probably describe as industrial hardcore (it sounds a bit like a band called Cubinate I discovered later on), but I’ve never since been in a position to make it in the real world. It’s as real to me as any other track in my music collection, but I’m the only person in the world who’s ever heard it. Once when I was about 19 I was drunk and wrote a country and western song which just happened to occur to me over the space of about ten minutes – I still have the lyrics in my filing cabinet upstairs. As country and western goes, I still think it’s rather good. The problem is that I’ve no interest in the country and western scene, I don’t know any country and western bands, and nobody I’ve ever met has ever even admitted to listening to it. So how on earth would I ever be able to make it? But again, that’s another track which is still very real to me yet which doesn’t actually exist.

I read about string theory and M-theory, which demonstrate the idea that there are extra spacial dimensions in the universe (or multiverse, if you prefer) which our pitifully evolved beings aren’t able to see, manipulate, or prove exist (yet). I wondered if there was something you could also call memetic or conceptual space, where ideas and potential exist in their own realm, which we as homo sapiens occasionally access by accident without knowing how. After all, I’ve gone over the idea of the static, unchanging concept already in one of my earlier ramblings.

Cynics would point out to me (and they often have) that I shouldn’t over-analyse music and just enjoy it for what it is. Over-analysing things is, I believe, my life’s greatest failing, as I have an incredible ability to over-analyse the fun out of just about anything. Realising this, however, doesn’t change a thing. Because just like the music that doesn’t exist, over-analysing is just a part of who I am.

The universe itself is amazing, as I’ve already said, but I also find it quite humbling. How anything could possibly be so vast and so complex, so brutal and yet so beautiful – simply knowing that I’m a part of that makes me appreciate it all the more. And knowing that I’ll never understand it – even pedantic, little old over-analysing me – doesn’t bother me at all. With music, it’s much the same thing.

I don’t understand intricate music theory, or the techniques of advanced sound engineering. I’m baffled by the biological processes involved in the human ear, and there’s not anyone alive who understands the brain or why it processes the information in the way it does. None of that matters to me, because simply being in a universe (or multiverse) where music exists is enough.

If you believe in God, you could conclude that I’m this way because God made me this way, and hence I should pursue the music I can hear as if it were a gift from God. If you were a scientist, you could conclude that it’s partly my genetic potential and mainly the result of random chance. Either way, it seems to point towards the fact that being involved with music as I’m now doing is what I should be doing.

Every day I’m humbled by the comments of people on this website and others who say they love what I do. I’m eternally grateful for knowing that I’m able to bring people pleasure simply doing something that I love. This website is a testament to that, and I owe it to all of you who’ve ever listened to one of my sets or one of my tunes.

I do all of this for you, and I do it for myself too. I never thought I would be able to share it with other people who love it as much as I do.

As I’ve already said before, the only advice I can ever offer anybody about life is to be who you are. So if like me, you can also hear music that doesn’t exist yet, don’t let it go. Be who you are.


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