I enjoyed the album for a good while but eventually forgot about it & went on to listen to other things. It was the next year when my interest in Pink Floyd was boosted again. My soon-to-be-girlfriend received Dark Side of the Moon for her birthday & during our relationship it became the soundtrack for many a romantic evening.
One more year later it became clear that I was becoming an enormous fan & through the course of several months had acquired nearly every studio album they had released. I savoured each one, they resonated with me in a way I had been searching for since my musical tastes had matured. My favourites arose early on & those albums have remained on the top of their list ever since.
There are some things I'm good at remembering & many I'm not. If you need directions to a particular place I'm familiar with using street names & intersections you may as well stay lost. But if you can handle a list of memorable landmarks I'll take you there. Names of new people rarely stick in my mind for long but if they have a peculiar or notable way of speaking or a certain catchphrase I'm more likely to remember their voice long after I need to. When I recite movie quotes I can easily preserve the timing & inflection of the original speaker. It's just something I notice. So this relationship with sound naturally applies to the music I love.
It didn't take me long to appreciate Shine on You Crazy Diamond. I still remember the day I listened to it for the first time, split between my drives to & from work. Most songs I had heard parts of on the radio but this was the first chance I had to listen on my own without (unnecessary) interruption. It stuck, & I've loved it ever since.
There is a particular moment in the song. Like a number of their other albums it starts out soft & works it's way along without need to hurry. Shine On goes several minutes before the first lyric. It's smooth & soothing & slow, & it is four minutes before something really happens. It is this point -- the four distinct notes at the four minute mark, the first moment that makes the song instantly recognizable to most any classic rock fan -- that has a permanent fixture seared into me. Pavlov would be proud.
These four notes immediately pique a reaction from me. It is a calming, relaxing sensation combined with hey! One of my favourite songs. Its two origins go back a few years. The first is when I had a friend at the time who was schooling for massage therapy. Once we'd gotten to know each other she asked if she could practice on me for class. Having never had a massage of any sort outside the rare & elusive back-rub, let alone a professional full-body massage I agreed, & it became a routine. I was working a lot of Saturday morning overtime back then & after work I would drop by her place, she'd practice on me for an hour or two & then we'd hang out & goof off for the rest of the day. It was a great time.
I'd come to bring music whenever I was expecting a massage & for any wondering at my CD collection this is where my chill, ambient & downtempo/electronic music collection really exploded. My favourite mix CD was simply three of Pink Floyd's longest songs, taking up over 70 minutes. They were Shine on you Crazy Diamond (parts 1-9, edited together by me,) Atom Heart mother & Echoes. I just about wore out that CD & may have if it had not been lost. She would mash play on the CD player just before she started on me & I would drift away, enjoying the music & the touch of her skilled hands working away the stress in my muscles. By the time the CD reached those four notes four minutes into Shine On I was sliding fast & their arrival signaled the drop into even deeper relaxation. Even now, having not seen or heard from that friend in something like four years I still let out a pleasant sigh when I hear the sound.
The other origin is associated with the first. The same year I really got into Pink Floyd's music my parents bought their first Personal Computer. I'd used them before but was generally limited to my laptop with a slow modem & slower Internet connection. I became a frequent user & quickly discovered the joys long-distance communication. I made a number of friends in different parts of the world but only one has really lasted since the beginning. We quickly moved from chatrooms to instant messenger where we continue to this day. Sheri is a very dear friend whom I value as much as any I know in the real world, despite the fact that we've never met. I could go on about how wonderful she is & how much she means to me but that's really the subject of another post.
My preferred instant messenger program like many others lets you customize the sounds it makes during certain actions. There are only two I really use & both of them are from Pink Floyd. When someone posts an incoming message I hear the *Ping!* first note from the song Echoes. When someone logs in, you guessed it, their presence is announced by the four notes from Shine On. This was set to grab my attention in a peaceful way without being jarring or distracting, like some of the default sounds were. Since there is only one person I visit with through instant messenger on a regular basis that sound has really come to mean "Sheri's here." So much so that I am now supersensitive to it, feeling my mood change whether I hear it at home, on CD or over the radio. It's hardwired into me to mean "something pleasant," & I wouldn't have it any other way.
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