If I had to choose one memory of using the internet that changed my life forever, it would be the music. Live-streamed mixes and radio-shows broadcasted globally, like Radio 1’s Essential Mix, ASOT, Group Therapy. The idea of someone on the other side of the planet moving to the same beat, to a genre of music that I think will always be an acquired taste, made me get for the first time how shared the human condition really is. Many pixels have been pushed to these beats.
Even though I wasn’t a huge raver, every time I’ve gone to a rave in person it’s been a trancendent 😉 experience. Now I don’t know when I’ll go to another rave. The way this pandemic has disrupted our deep human need for connection feels heaviest when I think about the music.
For now, I’ll be playing shows like these continuously in the background. Typically I prefer the audio-only streams, because seeing DJ’s work the decks is a surefire way to make sure I don’t get any work done. Now, however, I peek at the video every few minutes, just to see people’s smiling faces, strangers all singing along to the same nonsensical lyrics.
Even though Armada and Anjunabeats were pioneers in this kind of thing (via streams, then podcasts, then videostreams), many forms of quality music can be enjoyed. Here’s what I’ve got playing next on my lappy:
Simplenote is a lightweight note-taking application made by Automattic. The first time I used it was about eight years ago, at a rave at the DC Armory. There was a group of deaf people there–hearing is not a requirement for raving, one can use different objects to feel the vibrations of the music. In this case, balloons. I had never seen people experience music this way though, and it permanently changed my perspective on what it means to feel music.
There was a guy there who started harassing them, knowing that they were deaf, trying to get them to move out of the way so he could make his way to the front of the show. I can’t stand this type of crap. If raves lower inhibitions, in my case it boosted my confidence, because I went up to him, shoved him and told him off–fully knowing that this person was much bigger than me and I was at the show alone.
Well, I didn’t expect the group to notice, but they did. They asked me to join their group at the front of the show. I don’t know any ASL, so I scrambled to figure out a way to communicate. Hey, what about that app my friend told me to try? I’ve refused to delete this note in Simplenote ever since:
While I am very much a hardass, I’m also a very sentimental person. I mean, I’m on version 32 of my blog! But I think there’s something in the memories I have, where Simplenote happened to be, that specific phase of my life, and now working at Automattic. I keep coming back to this theme of connecting the dots backwards on my career, and holding onto certain things about the earlier internet that I feel a sense of duty to preserve. Simplenote, like me, hasn’t really changed much since then, in the essence. We remain, compared to most others, subdued, but ready.