There is a great scene in the Kurosawa film Dersu Ursula when the soldiers are sitting around the fire with Dersu, who they only met hours before. He is an Indigenous person and offers to help them through the forest but the soldiers see themselves as superior. The fire crackles and spits and Dersu speaks back at the fire as if it is someone with bad intentions. The soldiers look at each other like Dersu is nuts. Then he reaches into the roaring fire and pulls out the specific stick of wood that was making the noise and curses it while stomping it out and now the fire is quiet. It’s like he knows the sounds of each piece of wood and each piece of forest. Soon the soldiers will be freaked out about how much more he knows all the time, from the attention of listening.
They’re playing Gypsy Kings in the cafe, it was my father’s fave, so yeah all right cafe, keep it up, brings him back to life as would Saint-Saëns. Love how sound triggers memory. My friend’s great aunt is dying, told him he better make sure he records her voice, it’ll mean more in the future than a photo. I have a recording of my grandparents along with my parents, at a Passover seder in 1951. They were recording it for my older cousin when he was a little boy. Thirty years ago, he made me a copy. Hearing their voices is such a strange mystical gift, my grandfather even plays a small tune on his balalaika, changes all the imaginary ideas I had, makes them real, plus a young woman laughing throughout the recording. Later realized that’s my mother at twenty, one more piece of sound gold.