Physical effects of music

It’s no secret I’m a music lover. As a result, it’s probably no surprise that music that I listen to has direct effects on my mood – both to pump me up, mellow me out, what-have-you. There’s one band, however, that has a bizarre physical effect on me: listening to their music makes me nauseous. Which is not a good thing. Intellectually, I really like the music. It’s intensely minimal techno, really more of soundform experiments than songs.

The particular album is Alva.Noto’s Transform – a series of low-octave note patterns exploring the “essence” of techno to some degree. How few clicks, beeps, pops, etc, does it take to form a song? Well, it turns out very few, and yet there’s still a lot going on in there. I’ve discovered, however, that I can’t listen to it, no matter how much I want to. In particular, “module 10” (all the track’s are simply called “module X”, where X is the number of the track on the album), barely 30 seconds in and I can feel this horrible weight pressing down on me. I find my breathing becomes laboured, and moments after that, this awful churning starts in my belly and I feel like I may vomit. It’s an incredibly intense experience. It reminds me somewhat of the panic of drowning, as a wild-animal panic threatens to overtake me and force me to rush to the surface. And I really do feel like it’s surface I need to find…surface above the sound, or something, I’m not sure exactly, but I do feel this need to escape.