Deaf Tones

Not everything on here is a review. Sometimes there will be “traditional” blog things. But don’t get used to this.

I woke up this morning to an absolutely dreadful scenario: a lack of hearing in one of my ears. Thoroughly clogged, my right ear suddenly transformed from a device for proper music digestion to a complete nuisance. Not only can I not hear full stereo of music, I can’t hear those around me properly.

So, this left me in a strange conundrum – do I forgo any further listening for the day, or do I try to work around the problem? Being stubborn and having a personal inclination to working under conditions with sound, I chose to try and deal with partially limited music.

It is absolutely unfortunate that I decided to be in the mood for lighter music. I have a playlist called “Chill List” full of lighter, generally acoustic songs. The enjoyable chords were crushed; really, quality was effectively slashed. The first song that really helped me find the pain involved was “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens (off the album Illinois). Instead of the wonderfully whispered vocals and light horn work in the background, I heard a dull rumbling when I held my right ear to the noise. This was depressing. Even with ears at normal positions, the entire song was beaten up. It was difficult to pick out the blending involved, and the final parts just sounded like a mishmash of sound.

Simple songs also felt the burn. “We’re Going to Be Friends” by The White Stripes (off the album While Blood Cells) normally represents a simple, delicate melody, willing to jump into the ears and please the mind. Without the ears as a gateway, nothing seemed right. Jack White tried to pick at that guitar, but it never struck me.

The real low point of my listen came as Grizzly Bear’s “Knife” (off the album Yellow House) appeared. “Knife” is very densely layered with intricate instrumentation and excellent vocals (both melodic and harmonic). The sheer number of sounds are overwhelming (in a good way) to ears in working condition and the song provides a real highlight on Yellow House. Sadly, everything was lost without two ears. Instead of excellent ringing chords, there was a ringing in my working ear. The sound was almost as if out of tune instruments attempted to play the same note; beat frequency was everywhere. I frowned and stopped the song – no use in killing an excellent track.

Here’s hoping for the power of Sudafed and a good sleep to return my ears to the land of songs.

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