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Performances Song History Jamming Chart

The Vibration of Life

Music: God

Vocals: Instrumental

Albums: At the Roxy

Debut: 1992-11-23

Historian: Ellis Godard (lemuria)

Last Update: 2011-07-13

Like “NO2,” “The Vibration of Life” is more a mix of dialogue and noise than a song. The vibration itself is a phase pattern created by Mike's bass and Trey's guitar being slightly out of phase with each other. Trey usually introduces its arrival as something that will “energize you... for the rest of the evening” (2/20/93). He has said: “healers have been known to get their hands to vibrate at seven beats per second” (11/17/94, where Forbin proceeds to “surf the ‘VOL’” with the crowd). He also called this rhythm the “theoretical universal glue” that will “tune you up with the energy of the universe and fill you with incredible energy (11/19/96). You’re gonna feel it in your ass....” (See also 4/16/94 and 11/3/94, both at UMass).

”The Vibration of Life” – 11/16/96, Omaha, NE

Most versions have been near year's end (Nov/Dec '92, Oct/Nov '94, and Nov '96); but four appeared in the spring of 1993. The 2/20/93 version is particularly interesting for the confusion it created: While Trey interrupts the build to “Kung” with his signature “VOL” intro, Mike alternates with the lines “Your eyes may be feeling heavy... your nose light, your eyes heavy.” But these are lyrics from “NO2,” not “VOL.” They had not appeared prior to this show, in “NO2” or “VOL,” and are repeated in later versions of “NO2” but not in any other version of “VOL.” Moreover, they seem more befitting “NO2” (which is all about relaxing) rather than “VOL” (which is all about energy). “The Vibration of Life” is nonetheless usually understood to be these lines repeated over Trey’s guitar loop. Also note that music is usually measured in beats per minute; therefore, “The Vibration of Life,” at 7 beats per second, equals 420 beats per minute!

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Recommended Versions: 1993-02-20, 1994-04-16, 1994-11-03, 1994-11-17, 1996-11-19

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buffalo_voice Reply
buffalo_voice I only saw them do this once at 1994-10-26, Boone NC, but I can attest that I could feel something very odd going on in the room, I felt it in my body, very fleetingly. I needed them to keep doing it as the crowd was milling around and you needed to be still for you to really have a chance of feeling it. I always wanted them to do this again, hopefully they will.

Incidentally, a friend I knew at the time did an art installation where he had some kind of sequencer or drum machine replicate the 7 beats a second thing, and he would play a didgeridoo at the same time. You knew that was coming, didn't you? How could you not add in a didgeridoo?
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DollarBill Reply
DollarBill My friends and I always joked that this was an excuse to tune the guitars during a show without anyone knowing that they were out of tune in the first place.

I'm not sure of the "truthiness" of Trey's claims about the vibrations re-energizing you for the rest of the show. Let's get on that musical science people!

We attended the 4-22-93 Cleveland performance of the vibration during YEM.
Great show, by the way.
Score: 0
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