Tuesday Photo Challenge – Music by Frank JansenFrank Jansen (Dutch goes the Photo!)
Music is all around us and more than just a human form of expression, as Nature is filled with examples of great music from the birds in the trees to the whales in the oceans. As usual, you can take poetic license into any direction that you desire, so that it can be music to your ears, a great performance or a cacophony of atonal sound!
  • Aperture—ƒ/4
  • Camera—NIKON D5100
  • Taken—25 June, 2017
  • Copyright—© 2017 Khürt L. Williams
  • Focal length—24mm
  • ISO—200
  • Shutter speed—1/160s

Growing up in the Anglo Caribbean ( the old term is British West Indies) I was mostly exposed to Kaiso ( Calypso ) and later reggae. Kaiso gave way to Calypso which due to American musical influences became SoCa (Soul Calypso).

I remember that my uncles listened to a lot of American Country Music by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Junior but also quite a lot of Elvis Presley. I can’t explain why my uncles liked that music but I developed an appreciation for it.

My father preferred popular American musicians such as Andy Williams and Nat King Cole but as I grew older and my dad became an audiophile, he switched to Pink Floyd, Chuck Mangione, and Gato Barbieri. My musical tastes changed along with him.

In high school, I discovered my own musical tastes. I liked Bob Marley, David Bowie and The Police, the Beatles, Peter Gabriel and Devo and Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, and Prince and Michael Jackson and … yeah, my musical taste was all over the map. Consistently inconsistent. But in the 1980s I mostly listened to European alternative music.

First, it was records spun on my father’s audio equipment. He was a serious audiophile. Linn Sondek turntable and pickup, Bose 501 Series 3 and Quad ESL 63 hooked up to NAD preamps and Marantz amplifiers. Our living room was a listening room. I learned the difference between high bias metal cassette tapes and normal cassette tapes. I learned how to set the equalizer for each type of music listening experience.

Then CDs came and my tapes and vinyl were replaced by plastic discs. High-quality digital discs quickly transitioned to lower quality but “good enough” digital downloads. It’s not good enough. But that’s where we are.

I discovered the band U2 in my second year of college. I listened to the Joshua Tree album until it fell apart. I had to buy a second copy. Then I bought all their older albums. And the new ones as they were released. I had friends who travelled to Europe and who bought me bootleg copies of tape recordings of concerts. I couldn’t get enough of the band.

U2 lead me to REM and to Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Nirvana. My 1990s was mostly filled with American alternative rock. I still listen to this genre today.

In the 2000s’ I listened to Cold Play and the OneRepublic.

Lately, I have been stuck on EDM. Paul van Oakenfeld, and Tiesto, and Armin van Buren. Right now that music seems to calm me when working and help blot out the voices of self-doubt.

Bob Marley reminds me too much of the life I used to have in the Caribbean and which I miss dearly. So … I don’t listen to reggae and calypso as much as I used to.

Collection of Musical Items
  • Aperture—ƒ/4
  • Camera—NIKON D5100
  • Taken—25 June, 2017
  • Copyright—© 2017 Khürt L. Williams
  • Focal length—24mm
  • ISO—140
  • Shutter speed—1/160s

Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography.

In terms of its meaning, I am not sure about the origin of this Simon & Garfunkel song, but after listening to this version by Disturbed, I have to think it has something to do with the alienation and disconnection humans, mostly in the Western world, have from each other. The feeling of being alone with an inner voice screaming I am here but silence all around. We each know that the other is yearning for connection but yet silently continue about our affairs — suffering.

According to Wikipedia:

Garfunkel once summed up the song’s meaning as “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”Wikiwan

I watched the video a few times, pored over the lyrics and realized that the song could be used as a commentary on our culture and the current overuse of our smart devices — our iPhones and iPads, and MacBooks.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.

Perhaps that flash of neon light is the collective flash from millions of iPhone screens lit up. Then another part of the lyrics cemented that imagery for me.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.

Maybe Simon & Garfunkel were prescient.

Clan sold its latest album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, through an online auction house. As one of the most innovative rap groups, the Wu-Tang Clan had used concepts for their recordings before, but the latest album would be their highest concept: it would exist as only one copy—as an LP, that physical, authentic format for music—encased in an artisanally crafted box. This album would have only one owner, and thus, perhaps, only one listener. By legal agreement, the owner would not be allowed to distribute it commercially until 88 years from now.Dan Cohen

A “review” of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

Montgomery Township, New Jersey, United States of America