February 07, 2005

Disassociated Soundscapes

A year ago I bought a little XM satellite radio for use in my car while commuting around the Bay Area. One of the odd side effects has been the disassociation between mental soundscapes and landscapes on longer trips. Until now I've almost never had a CD or tape player in my car, and so I've always strongly associated particular regions with particular radio stations or genres. For example, the Owens Valley with the cheesy country music from Bishop's KIBS ("The Greatest Country in the World Serving The Eastern High Sierra and South Central Nevada!"), or the Central Valley with the endless chain of Crap Rock stations bursting at their aging macho seams, or Bakersfield with the sometimes-excellent classic C&W stations down that way, or LA with music from KCRW's deep eclecticism, or the High Desert with Barstow's dreadful (and now defunct) The Burner.

But now I can just cruise through landscapes with my own diverse soundtracks. It seems vaguely wrong to be driving through the remote forests along the Klamath listening to Caliente or "Deep Alternative Rock (tm)"...


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