By Richard Coca
Recently, Mark Applebaum, one of the instructors for one of my classes this quarter, presented his own concert at Memorial Church. While we were technically obligated to be there — or else let our grade suffer — I found it to be an experience I didn’t regret going to.
At the center of this concert was an unusual instrument — although it did look more like a sculpture — called the ‘mouseketier’ that had the capacity to make a wide array of exciting sounds. As someone on the “Stanford Memes for Edgy Trees” page artfully wrote, “that bad boy fit so much timbre.”
However, this Grind article isn’t a review of that concert. Not only is that outside my scope, but if I were somehow able to pull that off, it would be filed under Arts & Life, and not The Grind. Thus, do not expect this to be a piece of art; because I assure you, you’d have to have been at the Mind Altering Concert to find that.
I’m not going to lie in saying that the first five minutes were intimidating. We all sat there for five minutes straight listening to and processing experimental music that we had never heard before. The event began with an idiosyncratic piece full of coordinated hand gestures synchronized with experimental sounds.
After the five minutes ended, I stood stunned and truly wondered to myself how I was going to get through this event. After a brief spiel, the music began again, but something was different. The vibes coming from the mouseketier and the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble elevated me into another state — and no, I did NOT pregame this event. The music started visualizing in my head.
This mind altering that occurred was different than your occasional sleep deprivation. With each different timbre, my mind shifted to different memories. At least for me, that’s what occurred. Every different sound triggered a different memory for me, many tracing back to my childhood. Other sounds triggered images of war especially when the timbre was more abrasive and sounded like a war zone.
Each of the scenes and flashbacks moved my train of consciousness along so much that I almost forgot there were other people around me. I was frankly moved to tears at one point because the music somehow guided me down a path of memories that I hadn’t explored in a while. The experience was nonetheless remarkable.
As a Grind writer, I’m supposed to capture what student life at Stanford is like. Often my views are very much distorted or as someone recently told me so eloquently, “just plain wrong.” I hope in even teasing you about what I felt at this mind-altering experience that I am able to encourage you. I want to encourage students to pursue what exists of Stanford’s live music scene and to attend musical events or, in general, events that feel outside of your zone of comfort. After all, just because you got into Stanford doesn’t mean you get to turn off your intellectual vitality — so go alter your mind.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at stanford.edu.