Farben – Silikon

11 pm on Thanksgiving night, a bunch of suitably overstuffed Americans. I want to put on some music to sleep to, as the last several days had been filled with the oldies station on the four hour drive to Bellingham and Nancy’s mother’s collection of NPR incidental music since arriving the night before. (You know the drill: cool jazz, twinkly sub-Fahey guitar pluck, etc.) We settle on Farben, thinking it unobtrusive enough.

It’s amazing how – at low volume – almost all the midrange in this music falls away, leaving a few high-end pops and an obscene low-end. Obscene both in the “embarrassment of riches” sense and “ooh, that’s so nasty.” Something that typically gets lost in the Farben-specific Incredible (Headphone) Journey Through The Organs of House Music rhetoric. Eventually I had to reach over and turn the stereo down.

And suddenly there’s another holiday memory: I’m 16, and my friend Alexis had just given me my first jungle mixtapes before Xmas break. I sat up Christmas Eve playing them, way too fucking excited to keep it quiet for long. The volume kept creeping up, until my boombox speakers sputtered under the weight. And my dad, pounding on my door, demanding to know exactly what it was I thought I was doing.

My parents tolerated a lot out of me, musically, as a kid. Screaming-at-a-wall hardcore. Gabba at impossible volumes. Black metal, thrash metal, speed metal, noise. ‘Devil music,’ the bin my mother cheekily slotted it all in. Yes, they tolerated a lot of things. But disrupting the Long Winter’s Nap was not one of them. I didn’t understand then. (Who does?) But being woken up at 7:30 on Friday to the sounds of NPR-shlock… I understand now.