Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

'Pure Arctic Wind' Soundtrack Mixes Well with a Classic Sailing Novel

For two years my friend Jason has been patiently reminding me that to be a true sailor I should *fucking read* Master & Commander by Patrick O'Brien. And on a whim this past weekend, Greg brought the book over to adorn the bookshelf of my man cave.

To gear up for my first reading of Master & Commander, I bought an MP3 on called "Pure Arctic Wind". It's one hour and fourteen minutes of very authentic-sounding wind, with enough low end bass to convince. I'd been browsing the MP3 section on for sound effects tracks that perfectly capture the sound of being holed up belowdecks of a ship while a howling storm rages out of doors. Most of the tracks you find online are clearly synthetic wind noises, created probably by some jackass waving a tube around in the air in a studio to make the whistling sound of cold wind at night. But finally I found the above track, and it's just excellent.

My Process to prepare for reading Master & Commander: I go down into my basement bar and turn the lights down low and close the window. I turn up the subwoofer to 'full' and put the Pure Arctic Wind track on repeat. It's important to adjust the volume so it sounds as if a storm is truly blowing outside the window. You're not trying to make it sound like the storm is blowing inside the fucking bar, man -- just enough to make you sort of believe you're in siege mode, safe inside a warm ship's bar, while danger and uncertainly swirl outside. So volume is crucial. Put the volume on -55 db (not sure how you can have negative decibels, but ok Yamaha) -- that's pretty quiet, if you don't know. The stereo has an enhancer which completes the effect; I choose "Hall in Vienna" for the right reverb effect.

And so begins my dive into the book Master & Commander. I suppose you don't fully believe that I'm going to finish the damn book, considering that I'm blogging about reading it rather than actually reading it. Well, believe what you want.
There are two things I believe. I believe that Tanqueray 10 is the greatest gin made, and should only be used in a martini, not a gin martini because that's redundant, and that you my friend don't post nearly frequently enough.

Isz that my drink?
Ha! Bout time you started those books. I give you a fifty fifty shot you'll like them. You loved Melville and hated Michener's Chesapeake so I really am awaiting you're verdict. There are a few chapters in HMS Surprise that would be perfect for your soundtrack. They dip into the roaring forties.
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