It’s Jimi’s song, I just wrote it.

Bob Dylan

46 years ago, Jean-Michel Jarre published Oxygène IV, one of his most successful singles. His latest, 22nd, album is called Oxymore, recorded using multi-channel and binaural rendering for spatial audio distribution technology. – WHAT is that???

Jarre was also involved in the design of a new underground concert venue in Paris with 171 triangular prisms that can reflect, break or absorb sound, depending on the desired sound effect, produced by 339 loudspeakers. Performers can thus change the sound experience from that in a cathedral to one in a small kitchen. An incredibly technical and advanced installation for the most incredible concert experience.

In an interview with German Radio, 74 year old Jarre says that stereo will soon become as obsolete as gramophones and there will be 360o space for music in all spaces that we move in, including cars. While many of his concerts were, so far, in addition to the music, also huge visual installations, he now asks his audience to close their eyes and produce the cinema in their heads.

Truly amazing technological changes are happening in the way music is offered to us.

But the experience of creating pictures in our mind while listening to music isn’t really new or as revolutionary as Jarre seems to believe. I frequently close my eyes when I listen to music. Many people I know do. That is one reason why music is so powerful. We can interpret it and create our own different experiences with it.

Even with one song when it is performed in different ways by different artists. Like the song that captures a conversation between a thief and a joker, written by Bob Dylan, but really made famous by Jimi Hendrix. All Along the Watchtower is one of my favourite songs. I would struggle to explain why. Although I understand the words, I couldn’t explain their meaning. It just resonates with me. And I’d agree that it is probably more Jimi’s than Bob’s song. For no reason. It just feels like it.

You don’t even need music to create your own experiences. Sounds can do it. Smells, touch and textures.

A bit like this morning’s experience out in town. It wasn’t the breakfast, pretty standard sausages, toast and eggs, that made the morning special and truly enjoyable, It was the sun flooding the Dunnes Stores café with light, the warm sun touching our skin. It was the sound of the voices in the background and the clicking of the cups and the cutlery reaching our ears. It was the smell of food, people, and very different surroundings getting up our noses.

I’m sure we had different experiences and were in different ways receptive to where we were and to what was going on around us.

In a way, it was like a song, like music, that we listened to, sometimes with our eyes closed, producing the cinema in our minds.

Enjoying that song that was written for us by others.