Experimentalist Podcast Writing Submissions: Entry 002 / by Brandon Mitchell

"I quit smoking in 2008. That was almost 10 years ago. Imagine what else can be done in 10 years. . ."  --  Ogle B Straight

IN REFERENCE TO headphones. I don’t call them ‘cans’. No wait. Sometimes I do. I know other people like to call them ‘cans’. When I’m around those people, I call them ‘cans’.

I’ve been listening to. . .I guess I should say “ideas”. My headphones were on and no matter what sound was entering my ears, it was an idea. Speeches, music, performances, commercials. Ideas.
    They would get to a point were I started to realize unintended ideas. Ideas placed in the audio not by the performer or the artist. Ideas just out of ones reach. There was a live performance from a storyteller named Slashtopher Coleman. He was performing in a poorly lit, annoyingly colored auditorium. Poorly lit meaning: All of the lights on, no spotlight, the crowd is basically lit too, and it’s a giant beige, cinder blocky, square-shaped room. He was at a lower level TED talk. He was delivering an expertly conceptualized tall tale. It was so convincing that I started to believe every word of it. I knew it was supposedly false, but I wanted to believe it. And then I thought it could have been about me; that I could really learn something from this.
    Just then, I noticed a slight, high-pitched little buzz. Mentally, I retreated from the story a little bit. What was that noise? The camera angle cut, but the audio remained unchanged which immediately made me realize that this was a multi-cam shoot and the audio was recorded by a separate team and there was eventually going to be a post-production part to this video that I was watching.. .  . I was way out of the story.
    But, I figured out what that buzzing was. It was something electrical. Something in the lights and the equipment fucking with the microphones and making a feedback noise in the recording. They probably did a lot during the audio mixing stage to get it as minimal as it ended up being in the final version. From the angles in the video, it doesn’t appear that the room was very well put together in terms of the acoustics. I could definitely see some trouble spots.
    The buzzing was so minimal, but I couldn’t stop paying attention to it. I knew it was wrong and I knew that everyone involved in the project probably did everything in their power to eliminate that noise. They knew it didn’t belong there. It wasn’t part of the original ‘idea’. As I listened to it through my headphones, I knew that it itself was an idea. Like I said though, it just wasn’t one intended to be there by the storyteller. But, who would place it there? And why? Or was it just there and all these people got in the way? The performers, the audience, the set builders, the camera crew? Or further back: The construction workers who built the building or the architect that designed it? The city planner who gave the project the green light? Thomas Edison? God? Or is this performer so clever that he knew he would be in a venue where this sound would be occurring and he designed this specific tale for it to build and incorporate the buzzing and...and I haven’t been paying attention for the last 5 minutes so I may have missed that whole connection.
    At this point, I try to pay attention to the story again. It’s still amazing. I listen to it.