Radio Quarantine – Michael Nyman: Decay Music (1976)

I chose the above image more for the tone and timbre. It felt a match with the music. Decay in music, of course, is quite different than the traditional definition of decay… or maybe it isn’t. Something loses the intensity of vibration that holds together the atoms, and it drifts into the nothing. Everything goes that way. Mountains do. Feelings do. Everything in between, yes. The energy that made it a thing dissipates. The world is funny and everything is equal in that respect.

The music is odd, almost meditative but not quite. I can’t tell if it’s me or the music but where it could be relaxing, there is a low-key anxiety. Perhaps it’s anticipation that something will build, some traditional song form or composition, but it never happens. Curious how our brains are tuned to look for the specific patterns and constructs we are used to and in their absence we get nervous. This (and other compositions like it) may offer a good opportunity to re-tune the brain and the nervous system and let go of our personal conventions. Or not. The anxiety may not necessarily be a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

I’m going to have to look for this in a CD format or LP so I can channel it out through a larger system where the decay would be more fully realized in a larger space. It needs room to breathe. I’m wondering also if that mild, anxious claustrophobia is a result of it playing through tiny laptop speakers in a digitally mixed down format. What would it sound like opened up to the air where it can get molecules moving?

Noted for further exploration.

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