Posted by keithosaunders on February 1, 2012
Have you all noticed how loud life is getting? I’m not talking about the street noise of a bustling city — I like the mayhem of honking horns and people screaming good-naturedly, or angrily at each other. I’m talking about ancillary noise that did not exist a decade ago.
When you go to a movie, even before the trailers begin, there are commercials playing at an uncomfortable volume. Forget the feature, which is deafening.
When I lived in New York I used to dread walking by the Peruvian folk bands playing on the street, or in the subway stations. You know those guys: They’re the ones with the amplified pan flute players. What is it with the pan flute anyway? First of all, the instrument itself is an abomination. Second of all, nobody wants to hear it. And third of all, they are particularly offensive when PLAYED THROUGH MARSHALL STACKS!
Closer to home, I am distressed about how loud jazz music has become. In the old days bass players didn’t have amps — they were felt more than heard. Perhaps this explains why they felt so good! These days you have bass players playing through amplification at uncomfortably loud levels. The drummer ends up having to play louder, and the horns and piano require micing. Ultimately, unless you’re playing at a serious listening venue, the audience talks louder. It’s a vicious cycle. Or is it a vicious circle?