The Birth of Memory

Time is fleeting. Life races past us. “Now” is elusive, and yet we are always in it.

Past events seem to linger into the present, one sensation not completely gone before the next one enters our consciousness. How are these moments connected? And why do some past moments feel as present as the present?

The violin string continues to vibrate after the bow has been withdrawn, and even the silence that surrounds it is connected to the sound. The silence before, pregnant with anticipation; the silence after, the birth of memory.

Images for the video courtesy of Mona Be4 Photography.

Disturbed Earth – The Invisible Now (2016)

  • Bonus track: Starkiss (longform)”
  • “Respite”

Dean Richards is Disturbed Earth. Since 1975 he’s been using a combination of guitars and pedals with tape decks to create a unique extended reverb. Recently he made a change, leaving his tape decks behind for loop pedals. He says “The tape decks were always a beast to work with, and when they did work, it was a miracle…there was a scene from Fawlty Towers where John Cleese cusses out and beats his tiny car with a tree branch…I have done that to get them to co-operate.” He uses no guitar synths, only pedals, and “Respite” was recorded using a combination of reverbs and delays: Earthquaker Devices’ Afterneath and a Behringer pedal that has “one great setting”: a subdecay and Catalinbread decay, with a whammy pedal.

The results of his new technique without the John Cleese tape decks are, of course, are fantastic.

In the course of this program, one of our listeners posed a fascinating question:

I am thoroughly enjoying this piece and was curious about how you know when it’s finished. Does the music tell you, or is it a mutual agreement/decision?

Dean responds:

It’s a combination of things…an agreement is a lovely way of putting it. There is also the fact that playing all these pedals with my feet and hands, it turns into a game of “Twister”.

“This Place To Be” – Steve Roach – This Place To Be (2016)

Jeff Pearce – Follow the River Home (2016)

  • “Gathering Stars”
  • “Follow the River Home”

* * *

What, exactly, is the measure of a moment? Is it a single point on the continuum of time, or is it an interval, or a series? And how long is a moment? What distinguishes it from an instant, or a flash?

Or even a jiffy?

A breath? A heartbeat?

Is the twinkling of Santa’s eye an entire moment, or merely a fraction thereof?

Is a cosmic moment different from a human moment? By how much? Or are they the same? Or both?

How much experience can you cram into a moment? Is a moment a single sensation, or an aggregate experience?

Is the experience of a symphony an entire moment, or is each movement a moment, or are there moments within movements?

How do we sense the passage of time anyway?

Do our moments change as we age? Is a single moment longer or shorter for a child as for an elder?

What about the rate of change between what’s perceived and the rate of change caused in the perceiver by perceiving it? How do changes in mental state, in awareness, or in the accuracy of a memory alter our perception of a moment?

All these questions are of great moment.

We can’t experience an instant of time in spite of the fact that the West defines the present as dimensionless, without duration.

We are immediately or directly aware of the time that is before and after the sense-filled patch of time called by philosophers the “specious present.” Perhaps this is why Immanuel Kant didn’t call time a concept or sense data.

In defining the conditions of the origin of a specious present, we may have at the same time defined one of the essential conditions for the origin of conscious states in general.

We have a perceptual assurance of the time being there whether it’s filled or empty.

The specious present must be regarded as specious, as an illusion that is somehow explicable on the assumption that the real present is a point.

The central fact of time-consciousness is the “specious present” — the present consciousness of what is no longer present, namely that elusive instant of time. By the time we consider “now”, it is already “past”, a new “now” replacing it.

But is it?

Notes by George Miler and Rebekkah Hilgraves

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