Infra 1

What I think I’m doing here: I’m tagging these little pieces as “Song Notes.” I pick a song I like and use it as a writing prompt. The results may often be tangential to the song itself, so this will be less reviews/analysis (I have no musical expertise) and more a series of little experiments. If nothing else, it will give you some songs to listen to that weren’t recommended by an algorithm.

It sounds a little like waking up from sleep. Static, fragments of sound, feedback. Slowly, notes start to coalesce, providing orientation, stepping stones out of nighttime confusion towards coherence and wakefulness. And then, around the two-minute mark, there is the lift of the strings and a build towards a moment of resonant beauty before the song fades again into static.

“Infra” is, as Richter’s website points out, Latin for “below” and there is a sense of emergence in the piece, of a climb out of darkness into a moment of light (you can read more about the album and its origins at the link). I’m a big fan of the entire album, but I’m not quite sure why I like this particular song so much. I think it is that climb of the strings, that moment where I can hear the unity pushing through the confusion of static, even if it is only a glimpse, a hint of something more than an established fact. It is the hope of the moment before dawn, of a sun that will rise and dissolve the shadows.

Or, maybe it is an image of the self. We are a mess of inputs – a mix of history, genetics, environment – and most of the time we wander around in a haze of static and blips of electronic noise. But, every once in a while we manage to hear a melody that makes sense of it all. We become awake to who we are, what the world is, and our place in it. We are permitted to hear a hint of the melody that resonates, get a glimpse of the narrative we hope makes sense of the mess of our everyday life (Psalm 139). Sometimes it is external, a vocation that draws out our response; sometimes it is an internal alignment that comes into focus. Sometimes it is just unexpected beauty. It doesn’t last, we are human, and we drift back into static, to sleep. Confusion returns and the melody fades out. But, we keep listening, and the willingness to listen is what makes the difference – the difference between noise and music.

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