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EL CON MALL SOUNDING



SONIC TOUR OF THE EL CON MALL 

In addition to my myriad of titles, I’ve embarked on a new adventure: Sound Scout.
 
Now what, you might ask, is a Sound Scout?
 
Honestly, I’m not completely sure and I’m inventing it as I go along, but in a nutshell I imagine a Sound Scout is someone who searches for locations or sets which he or she finds particularly sonically pleasing and then shares them with the world for further exploration
 
Naturally everywhere always is the perfect place for listening, but we all have an affinity for one place or another based on purely arbitrary and capricious esthetics and I hope to share some of the locations I find, beginning today with:
The El Con Mall.
 


As a New Jersey expatriate, you’d think I would love
malls as much as national parks.
 
But I don’t.
 
I loath them.
 
The thought of so many people passing within a hair’s breath bent on mindless consumption down corridors lined with subliminal and overt corporate marketing ploys of every shade demanding my money and attention by emphasizing what I need rather than what I have causes me to break out in a vicious sweat every time.
 
Not to mention the fetid air, the garish lights, and the Petri dish food court. 
 
And all of it comes at you simultantely from three hundred and sixty degrees with only a handful of tiny exits miles away.
 
Give me a flea market, a town square or a
farmer's market and I’ll do alright.  The sky above and home grown marketing/products does me well.
 
But malls? Shiver. The horror.
 
So why then The El Con Mall to kick off this series?
 
Because dear listener/reader the main mall is almost entirely abandoned. 
 
And not in a run down, apocalyptic fashion.
 
Rather in a well maintained and highly accessible way.
 
Like what you would find in the aftermath of a
hydrogen bomb attack.

The floors gleam.
 
The lights shine.
 
The plants grow robustly.
 
Yet it is almost entirely devoid of people.
 
Like an empty movie set just waiting to be over run by hordes of flesh eating zombies (By the way, I always root for the
zombies when they enter a mall).
 
Empty store fronts full of faded possibility, some still bearing the names of former tenants, line the corridors, their pitches hollow and forgotten.

Lights sizzle, air ducts drone, occasional distorted voices bounce off the marble and tile in elongated waves, footsteps echoing and mysterious winds rolling as the mall’s internal pressures change throughout the day.
 
And there are open benches everywhere to relax upon when taking it all in.
 
However, be warned ahead of time: While there are no signs prohibiting
photography, the El Con Mall management frowns on photo taking, but there are plenty of helpful, security guards circling on foot, in cars and on bicycles to answer any questions that may arise.
 >
My favorite route for an El Con Mall sound excursion
 
1.  Enter the mall from the southern Broadway entrance via the ROSS department store. Be sure to take in the multiple languages being spoken by customers and the sugar-hyper dance music blaring over the p.a.
2.  As you pass through ROSS heading north you will enter The El Con Mall proper on the other side. Turn right and head east.
3.  Once past the nexus of the still active J.C. Penny, and the former Egees and Piercing Pagoda, the empty mall in all it's glory begin. Slow down, breathe deep and be sure to take time to choose multiple listening positions along the way.
One favorite location: The abandoned atrium at the north entrance.
4.  When you finally pass through the east end mall doors, you’ll find the remains of the once great El Con Mall sign, complete with glaring conquistador head and spear in tact.