Like in a silent film

July 30, 2023

I suddenly had the urge to buy myself some headphones. I walk to the office most of the time, and my walk is silent, observant or totally blinded by various thoughts.

I listened to a lot of music when I was younger and glued to Radio-Canada Classique for a long time. I'd buy vinyl records and explore the esoteric-humanist worlds of Meredith Monk and Laurie Anderson. I threw myself wholeheartedly into the New Age and the almost prehistoric, hatched universe of medieval compositions.

Popular songs and rock were of little interest to me, even if I was a rock opera fan from the 70s and 80s.

As the years passed, my musical interest turned to soaring, simple compositions. One of my neighbours doesn't like the atmosphere in my house when he hears this kind of music. He finds it pessimistic.
Inside me, however, my thoughts dissolve and calm down, my heart walking quietly in an abandoned cathedral without certainties. It does me good.

Still, I realized recently that music was almost absent from my daily life, a bit like this writing that is only used at propitious moments, so to speak useless, even if it is marked in my sky that I vibrate to the beauty of the world and the urgency to describe it.

These little headphones are a marvel. Technology is evolving exponentially, encouraging us to embrace obsolescence. What will the sound be like in a few years? A simple touch to one of the earpieces and the ambient sound disappears. It's a miracle. You immediately feel like you're watching a silent film but in colour. Deprived of your ears, your eyes light up and take a closer look.

Isolating myself is not in itself a goal or a necessity. It's like wearing glasses. I've always hated wearing smoked or self-tinting glasses as if they were an affront to the primary senses. Surrounding myself with city noises has always been comfortable, except for the thundering sirens of fire engines or ambulances.

Still, I'm suddenly thirsty for music, and these headphones now offer unprecedented hearing accuracy and comfort.

This Friday, I walked in the company of Voices8, an almost too-perfect vocal ensemble. I immediately became a monk, slow, lulled by the call of cavernous, personal sirens.

I crossed the few neighbourhoods that separate me from my workplace. Time flew by. Since I'd left early, I found myself alone in the elevator, all wrapped up in alluring sounds.

I sat at my desk, turned off the music, and removed my headphones. The building's monotonous ventilation immediately seemed to me an unbearable bore. I put my headphones back on. Perhaps for a while longer, until the colleagues arrived.

It was Friday, however, and with telecommuting in vogue, few people had arrived. Still, I took off the little earphones and got to work.

At the end of the day, I set off again, putting the devices back on. This time, however, I didn't choose the usual music. I put on Corsican and religious songs from another era. It was sometimes danceable, finely played, and passionately sung. Music is more than a science or an art. She is a goddess dressed in many prayers.

My heart rejoiced. There are so many beautiful things around us, so many creations, so much refinement. What a contrast, of course, with war, murder, envy and other parasites of the soul.

No wonder I want to isolate myself while searching for my antennae turned towards endless reality. I embrace contrasts. And I nourish my life with the mysteries of the universe.