April 13, 2011
I was sneaking another look at this magical cell phone ad from Japan (via BLDGBLOG), which features a xylophone marble track running through a forest playing Bach’s “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
When the video ended, it seemed like the song continued, transposed into some kind of twelve-tone mode, maybe.
The dripping aquarium filter in the tank on my kitchen table was plinking along in nearly the same timbre and register as the forest xylophone. One is an instrument built to play a single tune, the other is not an instrument at all — and yet here they were striking up an antiphonal.
It was a striking moment of acoustic apophenia, a musical version of the way our minds makes patterns and personalities out of random sense perceptions — the way sounds find to link and share with one another in the grey-matter interwebs.