by xenaudial

“It’s true, there are separate functional brain systems for perceiving pitch, melody, timbre, rhythm, meter… But these networks work together in such a way that musical identity remains… a fragile concept. An impairment to any one of these systems can bring on wildly disparate, unpredictable…

“…non-standard musical perceptual syndromes?”

“Yes… and not subject to prediction! Read the British cyberneticists. You’d like the way they sideline statistical rationality, in favor of a tactics of… pinging. Abduction. Proceeding hypothetically, pinging an organism so that it reveals its capabilities. With the help of FMRI machines, of course.”

“And where does this… abduction get you in the end?”

“You start to uncover a… shadow musical system. Deafsides… in relation with our current concept of hearing. Zones where music… disappears yet remains in plain hearing. And you have to be deafsided… you know, like blindsided… It gets to you. You can… open things up by impairing one or more of those music structuring areas.”

Discomfort came over X, who found odd Synjoyce’s cavalier switching between brain lesions—actual neurological impairment—and these frankly odd hallucinatory séances and baroque musical simulations… but the discourse urgently continued nonetheless.

“Have you ever fantasized that amusiacs might have an entirely different… alien conception of music? You knock out the part of the brain that organizes the world musically along a particular parameter and you gain insight into the contingent nature of music’s conventions. See?”

“Only if you lose what you once had. What about native amusiacs? How would you understand how music structures the world if you can’t access the other side?”

“It’s only ever gonna be asymptotic… Let me put it this way. You don’t get to deafsides just by reversing or negating your conditions. You only exit that binary… by pinging, disordering… reorganizing variables in accordance with a set of relatively hermetic instructions. It’s a game. You set traps. The Situationists knew the score. Fuck ontology! You have to stay one step ahead of the fictions that penetrate life… totally.”