The monotone symphony.
August 20, 2032
Many of us start the day by turning the tape player on. The same song is always queued up. Monotone Silence by Yves Klein. After the crash you heard it everywhere.
First on the student radio stations … then at spontaneous gatherings which sprung up in NYC, then in San Fran, then Austin, Toronto, Montreal and Chicago.
People would sit in circles. One person would start to hum it … then another … and another … before you knew it, everyone was humming. Leaning against a stranger. Holding hands with an elder. Eyes closed or looking ahead with blankness. The first hit of the new Earth. It’s twenty minutes of an entire orchestra and chorus playing D followed by twenty minutes of silence.
They say that when it was originally played back in 1960, it brought the entire audience to uncontrollable tears.
Silence is a real thing. It’s not nothing. Yves said silence is the most important part of sound … something we all lost sight of somewhere along the way. No beginning. No end. One chord with all the emotion and intensity of a single build … poured into the physical anguish of twenty minutes.
New songs come into your head. You hear words and melodies where you once thought there were none. And then smash. An abrupt halt. All the notes in the world in your head and not a single string moving … not a single breath pushing air.
I think Yves was onto something … but then he went and died of a heart attack not long after. He was 34.
The other day I had Yves playing in the car. I passed one, abandoned, that was the same make and model as mine. I pulled over. I managed to get both rear tires off. Then I smashed the driver side window and took a peek inside. Just a bunch of paper and garbage. I felt a bit bad in case the folks who left it were coming back. But no one ever comes back.
I siphoned what fuel was left in the gas tank into a milk jug. Three litres maybe. The hood was up. Looks like they busted a belt. I snatched the spark plugs too. I don’t know why they didn’t take the gas. I kept the modified tape player in my car at full volume while I was scavenging. At the moment of crescendo into silence I cried.
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