Dolf had the best ears. Whether it was clicks and cuts, musique concrete, or the Dead C, he could always hear the continuity. And he didn’t like any of it, which Dolf always indicated by promptly walking out of the room until I changed the music. So, for the year that we took care of him, after several missteps, I only played dubstep CDs. Whether they were the squishy, synth-heavy producers of the Dubstep Allstars series, or genre forerunners, like Rhythm and Sound, the thirteen-year-old schnauzer was always happy. This was his easy listening music. So moved was I by Dolf’s predilection towards a certain sound, I completely excised noise from my iTunes library. That Dolf was dreadfully sick made it an easy decision.
Flipping through our library last week, I decided to put on some old Fall records – the best-selling Infotainment Scam LP, and my favorite Fall song ever, Free Range. Any serious Fall fan will tell you that these are definitely not the most representative works, that it would be best to push them aside in favor of earlier material, like the brilliant Hex Induction Hour. Not for me. These recordings are both laden with personal memories attached to the time and place of their release. As inclined as I am to recount them, even more interesting is how they drove me to connect with our younger dogs.
Skipping the needle between the Joe Gibbs-Lee Perry mashup, Why Are People Grudgeful? and Mark E. Smith‘s bored-sounding intonation of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” in “Free Range,” Pixel and Raster started waving their tails, excitedly barking at the speakers, as though there was something new inside them. Granted, they are younger schnauzers, certainly smaller and healthier than the late Dolf. Nonetheless, it was like somebody spiked their puppy chow with intensely good cheer, and, maybe, a double espresso or two. So surprising was their response, it was as though it changed something inside me, not just my appreciation of The Fall. I’m going to have to play the band for them again and see what happens.