October 12, 2010 § Leave a Comment
When Cage entered Harvard University’s anechoic chamber in 1951, he was surprised to hear two distinct sounds. Both originated from within. One—the higher-pitched of the dyad—turned out to be the electrical humming of his nervous system. The other tone—relatively lower in pitch—was produced by the movement of blood through his circulatory system. He would say later in reference to the experience, “Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue after my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”
A strange Gethsemane this Gethsemane transposed.
There, in the dark of the studio, the twisted olive grove given way to acoustic foam and thick, double-paned glass, a face is turned towards the ceiling and hands are wringing. There, the negative space and silence (the immense pressure of emptiness!) push fist-wise against blank eardrums.
It’s October 1971 and a mind is roiling: chronic insomnia, depression, anxiety, despair—a fetid brew indeed and one that will ultimately prove lethal. For the moment, though, Drake, sitting alone, voice and guitar: two consecutive midnight recording sessions is all it takes to produce the record. A feeble lamp twice lit, twice snuffed.