Ambient 5: Music for a Sea with No Waves

“Music always wins.” [Samuel Beckett]
On August 13, 2015, I was close to proving this is true.

The following was written in the midst of summer. An average of 33 degrees in the past weeks in Germany: my dreams became true. Getting used to the european weather proves itself as an almost impossible mission for me. But this summer Frankfurt is playing Tel Aviv. Yesterday it peaked to 38 degrees. Valentin got me a new bike and we went for a ride all the way to Langener Waldsee which is the largest forest lake in our region. It is also the closest thing we have to a beach.

Langener Waldsee


We pedalled our way and arrived to the lake and its sandy beach ready to jump into the water. A couple of hours later as I was laying in the sun, I tried to figure out why doesn’t it really feel like a beach. Given the fact that I tend to be very cynical and negative about where I live, for no good reasons (especially when it comes to experiences that would have been far better if they were happening somewhere else), I decided to analyse the situation and find a reasonable argument as for why I’m not having as much fun as I should. That is, find a reason for complaining. So I was thinking:

I’m laying on hot sand wet from swimming. This is one of my favourite feelings in the world. What is missing?

The sound. No waves, no sound of the sea.

Only a few moments later Valentin said: “They should put a huge loudspeaker their at the back and playback sounds of waves…”

Did we just prove the supremacy of sound? Is this why music always wins?

Let’s imagine for a second that Langener Waldsee was sounding like a real beach. Would it feel exactly the same as laying on a sunny beach in Tel- Aviv? Would I feel more at home? Probably not, because of more differences: It didn’t smell like the see, no one was playing Matkot, and I could see where the water stops at the opposite bank. Yet if Langener Waldsee did sound more like the sea, I would have been much happier. I’m sure of it.

So after much thinking and thorough experimentation, I have to admit:

Yes, Mr. Beckett, you were right: music always wins.

Back to the fake beach. Well, if I was John Cage then I would probably stop complaining and start listening to the sounds of music Langener Waldsee was playing, which would mean a much more objective listening rather than trying to hear what I wish to hear. What a better practice for a performing musician, (and for life anyway…).

If I was Ludwig van Beethoven then the sounds I was so longing for, would have probably vibrate in my head crystal clear, regardless of the silence.

If I was Claude Debussy, I could have focused on the family sitting some steps away – a mother and three little children playing in the sand. My impressions might have become a suite for piano solo, describing a still moment of happiness.

If I was Brian Eno, I might have looped some tapes and mixed some sounds, creating music “as ignorable as it is interesting”, to be played out of loudspeakers on the strange beach of the Langener Waldsee. A new album might have been born, titled: “Ambient 5: Music for a sea with no waves”.

But I was just me, laying on the sand, trying to get a decent tan…but too many clouds were hiding the sun…