It Might Get Loud

Posted on January 30, 2011

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The scene involves three guitar players, each one representing a different musical age. They are seated in a comfortable, warmly lit, somewhat homelike stage, surrounded by a room so vast the ceiling fades into darkness, and the walls are a dim impression in the background.

They share stories and songs of long forgotten days. The youngest resembles a minstrel of old, everything about him appears to be slightly out of place. Be it his out of time clothes, or his unnatural pale expression, which suits his name rather well: Jack White. Then there’s the alchemist, a man whose years of experimentation rendered his face with an expression of a happy lunatic, he is known only as The Edge.

The oldest of the three is also the quietest. He seats like a shadow, merging perfectly with the surroundings, if it wasn’t for his long white hair shinning like silver in the darkness. His face tells a story of its own without him even uttering a word. He listens with surprising attention and modesty, stating an authoritative remark here and there, for he is the wielder of the secret light, keeper of the thunder’s might, he conquered both sides of the great ocean’s shore, travelled to every land known to man and beyond, the Master, the Wizard, the Traveller: Jimmy Page.

The remaining two can barely conceal their admiration and fear. They dare not to stare into his eyes, dark as a cold winter night before dawn, for they know that whatever craft they may possess, or power they may exert, may be rendered insignificant by the old man’s fingers. Both of them grew up with fantastic stories and myths surrounding him. His tale growing ever more in grandness as it passed on through songs. As their esteem and wonder slowly overcome their reverence, the pair, rather surprisingly, sum up the courage to ask the man to grant them with a song, and not just any song, the quintessential melody that changed the course of history: Whole Lotta Love.

The hall turns uneasily silent, it felt like time had come to an halt, as if the world itself had anxiously stopped turning, awaiting the gentleman’s answer. Page, in an act of infinite generosity, conceded to their childish request. What happened after he got up is best described in words more masterfully crafted than my own:

“He raised his staff. There was a roll of thunder. The sunlight was blotted out from the eastern windows; the whole hall became suddenly dark as night. The fire faded to sullen embers. Only Gandalf could be seen, standing white and tall before the blackened hearth.”¹

There was great fear that the hall, albeit enormous, might collapse from the powerful reverberation that poured from Jimmy’s fingers. For the walls were shaking and the floor was trembling, it felt like the sound was coming from all directions and several dimensions. Page now appeared to be, at least, twice as tall as before, and the room half as big.

The skilful musicians, forthwith mere apprentices, stood mesmerized. Air was being turned into matter before their very eyes. Like being caught in a tidal wave, there was nothing left to do but hope to survive the encounter.

by Jack Rabbit

¹ Excerpt from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings – The Two Towers”

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Posted in: Sound Matters