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Caliope Hell- Sonic Torture


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Apparently, it's parade day here.


Not only does the parade go right in front of my house, but it seems to stop every half hour or so. Now that was OK when the dixieland band trailer was stuck out front. But for the past 25 minutes I've had a 40 foot trailer out front with the biggest and loudest steam caliope I've ever seen. This thing rolls complete with a massive boiler and tender crew!


Not only is this thing badly out of tune, and incredibly loud, it's being played by what I'm sure is a female who weighs in easily at 350 lbs, (that's about 25 stone for you brits) and whose girth must have been placed in that players cockpit by judicious use of large timbers for leverage.


Her(?) fingers look like those giant carrots that win first prize at the county fair. As such, the frequency of wrong notes is astounding to the extent that I can't be entirely sure what tune is being played, in spite of the lyra stand overstuffed with sheet music. To add to this rather TimBurtonesque scene, every small child within a block is now crying.


Now I have a glimpse into how those holed up in Fallujah must have felt after being bombarded with Metallica music for days by US special forces.


From:Amnesty International:

. . . such tactics may constitute torture - and coalition forces could be in breach of the Geneva Convention. This is an issue that seriously concerns us. It could well be considered torture"


The US's Psychological Operations Company (Psy Ops) said the aim was to break a prisoner's resistance through playing music that was culturally offensive to them. Sergeant Mark Hadsell, of Psy Ops, told Newsweek magazine:


"These people haven't heard heavy metal. They can't take it. If you play it for 24 hours, your brain and body functions start to slide, your train of thought slows down and your will is broken."



That's just about where I'm at right now!

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Could have been worse I suppose. Imagine if it was the a Stephen Hawking lecture float parked outside your window...


On a serious note, I hope the hell you stuck a mic out the window and snagged some of the horror on tape/disc. We could do remixes on it.

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Or it could have been a Barney the Purple Dinosaur float with a horn array blasting, "I love you . . you love me . ." which I've read has been quite effective at Guantonamo Bay.


Time for a song . . .


I think bagpipes would have been much more tolerable. Had they hit wrong notes, who'd know?


At any other time it might have occurred to me to sample the calliope cacophony, but when even your will to live is in doubt, mustering the ambition to perform even the most basic motor functions can be an insurmountable challenge.


We've been told that the calliope player, (calliopist?) does have a sister, Chris. But she can only be seen during visiting hours at the sanitarium and I've heard the orderlies there are charging admission.


OK, I actually found some pics of this thing on the web. If it were tuned and played well, it would be pretty cool.



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I'd sure as hell want to record a few notes here and there, then make sure they were in tune...It's make a hell of a sample.

Indeed it would. I'm not sure about close mic'ing techniques. We'd need some 20dB pads on those capsules. Note that each "voice" is the equivelant of a normal steam locomotive whistle. If you've ever been next to one of those when they've gone off, you'd know what I mean!

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