I have observed that more and more frequently within the confines of my life, I feel as if things become imbalanced. I become more sad than happy, more of an a-hole than is socially acceptable or I just generally feel like a self-aware, walking, talking pile of human feces. So to counter this, I have found that an individual needs nothing more than to recenter themselves and reintroduce the concept of something that is greater than one’s self (i.e. a goal or idea that you support or want to incorporate into your life). The song that I am about to share with you had that exact profound effect to me. I discovered this song recently thanks to a Jazz History class I currently attend. When I heard it for the first time, it took all of my ideas that I have had for audio production and design, cemented them together and a wave of life reassurement over took me. To me, the song sounded like a picture. A picture of late ’20s Chicago.
The opening interlude of the massive trumpet was almost like a mix between a jazzed up bugle call to wake up the city and the brilliance of the notes were so bright that they could have came from the first rays of sunlight licking this sides of the buildings. Then there was a small interlude almost giving us a few small shots of the city. That leads into a very peculiar sound of some sort of wood block or maybe even a glass bottle clanking together to give me the picture of the clanking of the wheels of the trains against the tracks carrying in livestock, people and other freight. I also interpreted it as manual labor so I kind of took turns mixing the imagery in my head. Then the clarinet mixing with the vocals transported me into a dark speakeasy where a jazz performance was being held. Then you had the piano. The twinkling made me think of how light might have twinkled off the surface of lake michigan and boats pulling into the harbor. Then the trumpet roared back. The bellowing brilliance along with the building rhythm gave me the picture of floating up the side of a newly formed skyscraper. Then, when I was almost about to reach the top, the piano comes back in and wafts me back to earth like a dropped feather. The everyone pauses for a second and then entire band give one harmonious ” BAAAAA BAAAAAAAAAHHH” to give me the impression of one last look at the entire city in one panoramic shot.
It is this type of sound design in which I am very strong on creating and sharing with others. That song cemented those values within me and I use it to remind myself of where I want to be. It gives me a north star to guide myself by. I am not that big on creating music because I was not born with that kind of talent, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t record certain aspects and elements of this world (that maybe aren’t even music!) and highlight/mix them together in order to create a certain feeling or impression. That is what I want to achieve in all avenues of sound. That is what I want to do with my life. Sometimes we just need a reminder to help set us straight and I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did. Or, even at all. It’s very good song regardless of all my vivid, imaginative nonsense!
West End Blues – Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five