Last night, past midnight at about 1 am, I and my friend Meme were audio-recording at a suspension bridge across the Sekmai somewhere at Wairi, Kakching for my film Walking Home. We required the sound of a broken suspension bridge wood planks and naked metal cables creaking when stepped on and disturbed their abandonment. We had set up the equipment and I was just about to start walking on the bridge when dogs began to bark on the other end of the bridge, which was very disturbing. I waited for a while and when they have not stopped, I calibrated my police torch for a sharp pointed shaft of light and trained in on the eyes of two dogs–one white and the other black, their eyes glistening against the light.
I loved some fun–I walked to them and when they started to retreat, I followed them, and then chased them, shattering their barks into pieces of annoying barks. They ran through the bamboo clumps to their homes. I was laughing soundlessly. I love dogs.
I waited there for the dogs to come back for a while. They came back and I ran head on into them and they ran back again. After five minutes of timid barking, it was silent again. It was my time.
There is no complete silence in nature–listening closely to silence, we come to hear a myriad of quiet sounds within the hearing range of the human ears which we are used to ignoring and taking for granted as absence of sound. Silence, thus, turns out to be the absence of both expected and unwanted sound frequencies, while we do not consider most of the nameless finer frequencies between and beyond these arbitrary sound-marks. Everything in nature produces frequencies within and/or beyond our hearing range.
The physical properties of sounds in nature can trigger our auditory nerves in myriad ways influencing our psychic states. Some frequencies are soothing while some others are disturbing. The sound of the drizzling rain has a different effect on us than the sound of the thunder rumbling or a cricket chirping.
The frequency of the cricket’s cry I recorded a couple of hours ago and am posting here has a tensing effect on us. In other words, this cricket gives you some tension. Play the track and feel it for yourself.
Among what make the world beautiful (despite itself) and life worth living is Frank Sinatra. His songs. His Strangers in the Night (among many of his other numbers) is one of my all-time favorites. This really makes my nights beautiful even when I spend them alone. Lyrics here.
And here is another version. From a live performance. Of course, as we know, most live performances by the singers themselves of already famous records have flavors slightly different from the originals. A concert performance is a different medium than a studio recording session.
Another number among my all-time favorites is his Killing Me Softly. O my! He is–I mean is–a singer. Such a singer. Lyrics here.
Recorded last night at Mamangching.
Me reading A Winter Night by Tomas Tranströmer.
Thirsty city steaming after a long foreign rain,
The warm wet streets throwing its colorful neon lights
Back up into the thick night. Greetings, laughters, cries,
Indistinct weather chats, swears, sirens, horns,
All kneaded into a thick air going in and out of everybody,
Threading the towering black buildings through their bright eyes,
Threading in and out of hotel rooms
along dark and half-lit gullies smelling of urine,
Slow stilettos and boots giving momentary lives to puddles
That live quick colorful lives.
I languish wandering about the city with the languid wind,
My pockets full of heavy coins with foreign heads
Which I have long stopped throwing at the counters.
Amorous breath of breeze
Singarei blossoms fall quietly,
Dewy grass of morn