NPU vs Mobile

02006-07-03 | Musings, Travel | 2 comments

Music: Flamenco Roots – Munir Bashir
What a fantastic CD this is, especially the 25 minute title track! Thanks to BB for turning me on to this one.

Regarding a well-put comment to the cellphone-driving post, here is something recent from Robert Fripp’s Diary, in which he comments on the NPU (Noise Pollution Unit, e.g. radio or stereo system, especially in a public space such as a restaurant)

who chose to switch this on?
what function does this serve?
who chose the music?
who is listening?
The plastic flowers on my table were strong, and didn’t wilt under the ongoing attack.

In the above mentioned comment Susana writes:

We, as a society, have been so accustomed to multi-tasking in our work and at home that we cannot quiet the mind.

I am convinced that the reason for the multi-tasking, the mobile-phone-calling-while-driving is the same reason that we have NPUs everywhere. The brain loves playing these games… how much can I handle at once… how far is too far…

I get the sense that in a few years either a chip in each car will prevent a phone from identifying itself to a cell-tower while the car is moving – thus the phone won’t work – or a person applying for a driver’s license will have to master a multi-tasking test in addition to the other tests…


  1. Susana

    Yes, well-said. The multi-tasking test is funny but may turn out to be true.
    The Noise Pollution Units (NPUs) we encounter everywhere in a sense represent lack of trust and subsequent attempts at manipulating us with subliminal messages of one sort or another. In an elevator, we are going to get squeezed-in with a bunch of folks but we’re not going to scream or push because of the ever-present muzak, which must have been chosen by the building manager or security, who else would think it’s any good? On the telephone, the music is calming and says, “don’t hang up, someone will be right with you.” in a store the music tells me in so many ways, “I want to buy this!” Unfortunately, most music, TV-programs, etc., chosen by the many establishments we come in contact with are aimed at the masses and the lowest common denominator. However, now and again we are pleasantly surprised. Many years ago I had a very charming experience while shopping in Old Town, San Diego, California; I heard the most beautiful, jazzy guitar music in a Western shop. I just had to ask who the artist was. The lady behind the counter said, “We have some for sale right here.” I couldn’t believe my luck. I read the title and name, “Nouveau Flamenco, Ottmar Liebert.” I can’t count how many I gave away as presents and I promptly wore out my own casette tape! I replaced it with a 10th Anniversary Edition CD, still a fan. True story.

  2. Boris

    Thank YOU for turning me/us in to the fantastic oud music! As for Flamenco Roots, I’m diving more and more into that track with each listen, amazing what one can hear with good headphones.


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