You are resting on your favourite soft surface.
Your headphones are plugged firm into your digital music player/computer and rested carefully on your ears.
Behind your closed eyelids, the space you are about to enter isn’t built by sight. It will be created by sound.
What kind of sound?
Anything to satisfy your individual taste, the choice ranging from classical music to white noise. But to scale down such responsibility, you can try “Don’t Call It Love” by Zero 7 – a nostalgic new age piece to fit your compressed jukebox. This song seems as if scraped from vinyl samples, mixed with a 20-year-old beat and electrocuted to life like Frankenstein’s creature.
But it is much more than that.
It is an escape tunnel. A tunnel 6 minutes 26 seconds in length and your mind in width.
You press ‘play’.
The first thing you hear is a pulsating pedal. Its periodic tempo bangs against your eardrums until it synchronises with the valves of your heart.
Next comes the bass and together they create a mood, which deviates from the tense state in which you have lingered for most of the day. As you follow the new tone, your rambling thought gradually calms down, and is forgotten into one of your mental chambers.
The curious sound waves carry through to your auditory nerves and push you into the ‘emotion dome’: a playground for rewiring and reprogramming the brain with physical sensations. Maybe the song makes your head nod in agreement to something invisible. And maybe this thought makes you smile.
Not only does the song make you feel movement, but it allows you to see it. Images and figures are popping up. You observe the graffiti-stained undercurrent of an urban metropolis, channelling its most indulgent individuals into a single alleyway. You follow them down the stairs. Even at these small hours, this back pocket club is still burning.
The room is crowded.
People jump and jive until their cropped T-shirts slap to their skin, whereas others mingle until forced to grab a seat by their self-consciousness.
Lured by calling vocals, you move to the dance floor and sway.
The enigmatic lights, smoke and substances cloud the dancers into forgetfulness. The highlighted faces alternate. At the back of the room, the atmospheric conductor behind an electronic panel gets their split second in the spotlight. For it is them, the neon coloured engineers, who create a tangible world of energy with digital synthesisers and pixelated technology. Their invisible hands guide you through the night. You hesitantly trust yourself in them, and let go.
Your mood amplifies exponentially.
Your body parts seem to disintegrate and to twitch as separate entities to the rhythm – your heel on the drum, your index finger on the base and your mouth with the words. The dancers are covered in triangles, octagons and pentagons, which create Venn diagrams with intersections of flashing blue. Couples twist around each other like East Asian dragons, arms glowing like blooming cigarettes. The music becomes an electrical current that pressures CPR on your chest, fixing you into the floor and to the present. Led downwards by aggressive euphoria, the venue fades and the colours blend into a constant stream of neurotransmitters bombarding signals inside your head.
And is this not why you are here? To loose control and responsibility, to escape choice and to become submissive, even for a moment?
The song strips down everything, exposing the very essence of the club, and of any piece of music: an artificial feeling. And as soon as you realise you came here to lose something, you are enriched. You gain a real experience, a memory, that puts the rest of your day back to perspective.
You press ‘pause’ and lift your headsets. You realise that nothing has changed – your room is the same, your clothes are the same, and your body is the same.
Yet everything is different.
If music can accomplish this, what else is it capable of?