On mics, music, and a long year of screen time

Because he idealized North and often thought about solitude, Gould was considered after 1964 a recluse. But it was hidden only if you did not count phones, photography, recorded audio, recorded video, and fast distribution networks. For two decades, Gould has managed to be nowhere and ubiquitous. Although often isolated, it inundated tens of millions of televisions, cinemas, car radios, and eventually outer space, when, in 1977, he made his startling interpretation of Bach good clavier From Earth’s atmosphere on the phonographic time capsule aboard the Voyager spacecraft. Gould’s best experience may be the presence of curious aliens, those with proper rotating discs or at least a working electrostatic precipitator.

Gould was fond of some pop music, including Petula Clark; He described Barbra Streisand’s voice as “an instrument of infinite variety and a resource of time.” And although he had a perfect tone, he was fascinated by unusual speaking sounds, whether unconventional or otherwise. He invented a form of documentary known as contrapuntal, in honor of (possibly) Bach, in which speaking voices are intertwined with strange influences. The most evocative example is Gould’s film about the bleak Canadian tundra, North idea, which easily ranks among the best shows on YouTube.

Although he compulsively swayed while playing, avoided handshakes out of fear of illness, developed an addiction to prescription pills, and dressed up for a winter storm whatever the weather, Gould managed to survive in the flash of electric perversion, never slipping into monotony. out of madness. This delicate psychological equilibrium is evident in the cultured stem fascias he delivered straight to the camera. This comes through with his experimental audio complexes and the countless radio broadcasts he has recorded. Gould also spoke for hours on end with unintended friends and acquaintances on landlines and pay phones, sometimes putting his buddies to sleep while he shied away from theories of everything, a one-man vocal spectacle whose speech rhythms shifted like he played the piano. “No pianist has ever given his heart and mind so overwhelmingly while showing himself in moderation,” said Gould’s close friend, violinist Yehudi Menuhin.

Gould became what would now be known as a pandemic musician. Tim Page, a music critic and confidant of Gould, was asked last year what his friend might make of living in quarantine. “Glen loved the Internet,” Paige replied. “He was phobic and didn’t like physical contact very much. But he would have enjoyed things like Skype and Facebook [so he could] He still enjoys his friendships while keeping his distance.” In fact, Gold was at his best on distanceFar from the baroque room and the modern stage, hiding where he could only send a signal to another, lonely, like him, frightened of touch, through the same precarious Canadian spaces that inspired media philosopher Marshall McLuhan, Gould’s frequent interlocutor.

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