About Meditations on Present Time

Environmental Sound and the Limitations of Hearing
Recording gear with Aphex 207D and Oktava MK 319

We are surrounded. From the moment we wake up to the time we fall asleep, our ears constantly sense the vibrations of innumerable air molecules encircling us. We comprehend these oscillations are sound.

During all our daily activities, this is a constant accompaniment. Most of us are always hearing something; unlike vision, we cannot close our ears. To fight this constant barrage of signals, our earliest animal ancestors developed a remarkable ability to unconsciously distinguish between pertinent sound and noise. What was once a survival mechanism, we now use for more modern purposes.

Through the Industrial Revolution and the Technological Age, the variety and volume of artificial, machine-made noise has grown substantially. Most of these sounds have little meaning to us directly; instead they are only a byproduct of utilitarian functions or other practical needs.

If we gave equal consideration to every sound we hear, our senses would be overwhelmed. Yet through this act of filtering, we end up missing something interesting, invisible, mundane, hidden - even possibly beautiful.

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