I am convinced that a noetic revolution begins very close to the point where people begin to really listen to the music they consume. Precisely how music, an art form aimed at the ears, was subverted by the optical regime of the spectacle is almost beside the point. Music has always delivered its goods across multiple modalities, but the degree to which we are asked to “read” our music rather than listen to it is perhaps at an all-time high. In fact, pop music is no longer about listening at all, but rather submits itself to a symbolic decoding of social significations that happen to be delivered through a nominally sonic code, a code that has become more vapid and moribund with each mega-hit stamped out by the machine. But music survives as a body of sound, a presence. Vibrating air dances upon the tiniest of drum heads; cochlear fluid sloshes across neatly ordered rows of undulating cilia. The elegant mechanics of hearing are not the same as the perception of sound. Within the latter, the ability of music to serve the human condition opens up and swallows our most persistent dilemma. Perception is entrainment. Music as a body of complex waves is a force acting upon another, presumably more motile body of waves – the electrical activity of the human brain. Music molds awareness; it does not simply add to its contents.
Thomas Stanley (a/k/a Bushmeat)