Led Zeppelin, “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” Led Zeppelin III
Synesthesia is a fascinating condition experienced by 2% to 4% of the population, wherein a stimulus of one sense (taste, say) is processed and perceived within the framework of another sense (hearing, say). A person with the condition might say “That spaghetti tastes loud,” or “That song is purple.” Some minor crossing of wires that leads to a harmless yet stimulating state of affairs for those who have it. Notable synesthetes include Nikola Tesla, David Hockney, Vladimir Nabokov, Duke Ellington, and Wassily Kandinsky. Nabokov famously felt that each letter had a very specific color, which is a relatively common manifestation of synesthesia.
Erin Kelly at All That Is Interesting has posted the, well, interesting “song portraits” of a Missouri artist named Melissa McCracken. As Kelly writes,
Each of McCracken’s paintings is based on a certain song, and incorporates the song’s notes, tempo, and chord progression through textures, hues and shapes. It is not imperative that one understands the condition’s neurological underpinnings to appreciate the work being done here, but those with a taste for abstract art will perhaps extract the most enjoyment from these pieces.
Check them out, they’re quite wonderful. I woulda said the Prince song would have a lot more purple to it, but I suppose McCracken knows best.
(Clicking on a song title will bring you to a YouTube version of that song. Highly recommended to refresh your memory! Hearing the music makes the pictures pop a lot more.)
Stevie Wonder, “Seems So Long,” Music of My Mind
Etta James, “At Last,” At Last!
Radiohead, “Karma Police,” OK Computer
David Bowie, “Life on Mars,” Hunky Dory
John Lennon, “Imagine,” Imagine
Prince, “Joy in Repetition,” Graffiti Bridge
Jimi Hendrix, “Little Wing,” Axis: Bold as Love
Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight, Tonight,” Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
Radiohead, “Lucky,” OK Computer