March 10, 2007
Everyone has their own personal soundtrack.
The drive up the coast to Santa Barbara, and it’s retrograde counterpoint back down, are both beautiful.
This, above, is a brief moment of the counterpoint.
I have a nasty habit of snapping photos through the windshield while moving at high rates of speed.
So far, no run-ins with the highway patrol or, even better yet, with other vehicles. I sense that my lame excuse would not hold up well in court.
“…But Your Honor, the light was hitting the ocean just perfectly…”
The music I listen to… no, blare… on these drives back and forth runs the gamut. Lots of rock, alternative rock, alternative jazz, music from other countries, film scores, electronica, and of course some contemporary concert music. The latter is heard least often in my car even though it’s heard most often in my head and in my work as a chamber music composer. The low frequencies and subtleties of the tricky mid-range just get lost and boomy against the omnipresent road noise. Rubber tires on pavement at 72 MPH is not a delightful sound, and only certain kinds of music can hold up against it.
What fascinates me most is how my random listening choices underscore what I’m viewing from behind the wheel, and how that view can be completely altered with each new track. One minute I’m lost in the midst of a meditative and inward world; the next I’m being pushed down the highway with a groove that lights up the entire scene unfolding ahead. Either mood direction usually works, although I find that when I’m stuck in traffic, I’ve got little patience for pieces that are stuck in their own tedium. When the rest of me is just stitting there, my ears need some action, dammit!
Before I switched my career to such artsy-fartsy pursuits, I made a modest living composing soundtracks for film and TV projects. Now I’m happiest to let the composers and songwriters on my iPod or CDs create those road-movie scores for me, and I can just direct.
After all, isn’t that what everyone in L.A. wants to do?