Requirements for a Drug-like Sound

[There was another fire about a mile south of us again today. The wind, blowing East, caused evacuations and, I imagine, difficulty breathing as it swept toward Boulder this time and not us. It appears to be out as I write this]

In order to make progress here, I will go out on a limb and just start listing things *I* think are present when I have experienced large does of Drug-like sound in the past:

* Decent to excellent Micro-dynamics
* Very High resolution
* Good, often vivid harmonics
* Good continuousness, sometimes even good PRaT


Personally [and all of this is personal, but hopefully there will be consensus as you all reflect upon your experiences], I am often ‘lulled’ by the music [sometimes assisted by being tired from overwork on my part] into a dream-like state before ‘waking up’ and experiencing some really cool mind-blowing experiences.

So let us assume that there is an extreme comfort with the sound [and the situation] required as a prerequisite for us to even appreciate a drug-like sound.

It is this lulling into a susceptible, dream-like state that I think requires a sound that the listener is very comfortable with, a sound that matches their preferences quite well. I think tiredness can help us ignore some harshness and sound that is NOT exactly to our tastes [but being this tired is not all that much fun, let me tell you :-)].

I think, also, that no matter what your preferences, a decent, perhaps vivid harmonic content is of value to assist the lulling… it’s guarantee of approachable sweetness is comforting.


For me, it seems to be the swirling change of the mathematical relationships between various melodies [which appear to evoke corresponding patterns in the thinking side of the brain. We talked about this several years ago] which kind of occupy and lead my thinking brain places …COMBINED with extreme harmonic color and/or purity [which often sounds extra-vivid during the experience, perhaps because the thinking (distracting) part of the brain is occupied elsewhere] that kind of satiates the emotional ‘heart’ part of the brain.

So…. 🙂 …. *if* we use this as a template for what is required/ happens for / during drug-like music experiences, then we need:

* Decent to excellent Micro-dynamics [and separation, to be able to hear and differentiate the melodies and their relationships to each other]

* Very High resolution [increases the number of melodies – there are beautiful, evocative relationships between the transitions between various harmonics in every tiny note. You can hear this on very big notes like, say, Roy Buchanan “The Messiah will come again”]

* Good, often vivid harmonics [To lull us into a susceptible state and to please and entertain our emotional side during the drug like music experience. In some sense this is the ‘engine’ that keeps us from burning out on too much detail and complexity in the micro-dynamics and high resolution. Note that this does NOT necessarily require tubes, that very good solid-state has a natural purity that tubes must work hard to achieve (but they CAN achieve it!)]

* Good continuousness, sometimes even good PRaT [the melodies are sequences of notes in time, if there are no flowing marching sequences – then there is no melody and one just has a hodgepodge of distinct notes appearing all over the place in the soundstage]