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Capture My Voice

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Cables twist around my feet like snakes, ensnaring me in their black coils. There are metal poles, wooden boxes, glowing buttons and LED screens, knobs and switches, computer screens, microphones, amps, and people. All of them stare at me with blank faces, some of them inanimate objects that I only imagine to be staring at me, others classmates and recording technicians who will record my music with all this fancy equipment.

The faces are kind, but neutral, as I stand before the box, the microphone dangling before my lips, just waiting to capture my voice, the sound waves traveling down the cables into the mixer where they are patiently waiting to control the sounds and add the effects; anything to make it right.

Can you feel the emotion? It drips in the air like venom from the fangs of the snake, deadly if you are to swallow a drop, but harmless should it fall upon the ground. Anything can happen. They are waiting for the words; my words. It’s the oddest feeling, knowing that every word you say will be captured—stolen from your lips and twisted and turned until it no longer sounds like your own. Already it sounds different, standing before the microphone...as if it was replaced when you weren’t looking and now that you have noticed it is too late to search for your own.

I clamp the headphones over my ears, glancing at the small group of men around the computer, their eyes darting back and forth between the screen and me. He gives the thumbs up and I return it, everyone watching his every move and mine, learning the trade of capturing sounds and turning it into music. As he turns back to the screen to do his job, controlling every last aspect of this complicated process that I cannot begin to understand, the music begins to issue from the headphones. My fingers strumming the strings of my guitar, tinny and electric as it comes through the speakers of the amp, so strange to hear without the reassuring feel of the strings beneath my fingers.
Drawing a breath as my part approaches, I glance around. Everything is still staring at me. Everything has eyes. What a strange room, where my voice is the center of the universe. My voice; plain, ordinary, totally normal...or so I thought.

When I begin to sing, I know that my voice is all they hear. I hear the music through my headphones, but for them it is just the sound of my voice, ringing out in the empty room.

It is far from perfect, that I know, but it sounds magical when he plays it back to me, all the effects twisting my voice until it echoes and wavers, eerie and utterly beautiful. Amazing what these people can do with all these things littered about them. They can take anything—even a voice—something that is mine entirely, and steal it from my lips, twisting it until it is perfect and beautiful, just the way I imagined it.

The microphone is silver, the pattern looking almost like bars. Like a prison. They say it frees your voice, but I know that in truth it captures it. I like it that way. The control—free is not what we need or want. What we desire is utter control; nothing left to fate but the words falling from my lips. It’s empowering, knowing what we are capable of. What I can do. Believe it or not...I can capture my voice.





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