Samuel Beckett Taylor
Imagine a map of the historical earth through time, rendered as music. Mitochondrial
Eve begins somewhere in the Congo, somewhere between a pure note and a shriek,
and fans out over Africa, flute-like ripples here, staccato drumbeats there,
into the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the Pacific. Harmonies, arpeggios, cacophonies;
hymns, dirges, and laments. At some random moment—later revised to a precise Sunday
in God's victorious sleep—the North begins to raid the music of the South.
The music grows in the pantries and breasts of the north, shrinks in the cupboards
and lungs of the South. In the computer infographic, you can watch the music siphoned up
like grass-green money or chirping birds, as if vacuumed by a straw, swelling
the thin northern countries through their kings' fat cheeks. You can see the music
like beclouded honey, every decade more and more amber in the hive of the North,
more lustrous, layered, lacquered, princesses bathing in orchestral milk.
With every decade, you see the music of the South grow more threadbare, slashed with screams,
its gunfire recycled as precise background percussion in the lofts of the North,
where they listen to the North's music—and it is all the North's music—
through a speaker made somewhere in the South, though that's all anyone has ever heard
of those parts. And when the southern hordes swarm northward hungry for their music,
they are blocked at the border, held in place by the towering walls of sound.