Imagine this : 107 beats per minute.
We’re used to hearing stuff synced
up to clocks so this is an almost
indivisible number for regular counted
time, the time of sports and records and
estimates and comparisons.
If you can’t hear, the part of your brain
that handles math and/or got rerouted
from where it would go if you could hear, that will do the job.
The brass instruments that are playing
in this tempo are lazy, barely registering,
with that unnatural dampening only the best can perform.
The percussion is robotic, uninspired,
trying very hard to be a clock
and yet not able to be there. There’s always an urge to speed up,
never to slow down.
The high hat and the snare
have the same unfortunate conversation,
the same eight bars, over and over again.
The brass is having trouble breathing,
each instrument breaks slowly free
of the ensemble of soft, tight harmonies, a
pinball bounce against the constraints of melody.
The flugelhorn, the trombones and the tubas
pause in horror as the piercing notes of the cornet
and the blaring agitated french horn crash into each other.
They perfect an oscillation which mimics the collision
of two great stellar masses. No one in the audience
cares about that, most of them want their money back.