Thursday, December 10, 2009

Loud bass music ‘killed student’

Loud bass music ‘killed student’, Metro 9th December, 2009

A student collapsed at a freshers’ party and died after complaining the loud bass music was ‘getting to his heart’, an inquest heard yesterdayTom Reid, 19, was taken ill in a crowded London club after standing close to the speakers and telling a friend: ‘The bass is affecting me.’ There was no trace of alcohol or drugs in his body and his heart was in good condition.
A coroner recorded a verdict of natural causes, saying the straight-As student was killed by sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), a heart disorder which kills 12 young people a week.

Cardiac experts said the bass could have triggered SADS if Mr Reid had underlying, yet unknown, genetic problems. On September 27, he had gone to Koko nightclub in Camden, north London, for the party, dubbed Night Of Mayhem. His friend Alisha Riseley told the inquest they were pushed towards the speakers. She added: ‘Tom said he felt like the bass was getting to his heart and we went to stand at the back.’ He told her: ‘My heart feels funny. I think the bass is affecting me. Oh God, I feel very weird. My heart is beating so fast'.

A sad story, don't think we should make too much of it - sometimes everyday things affect people in very serious ways (e.g. peanut allergies). It's not strictly true that bass killed him - a heart disorder killed him, for which the music may have been a trigger. There is some evidence that infrasound (very low bass frequencies) can cause discomfort or worse - see this Basswatch summary. These are generally too low to be used musically though, even if Throbbing Gristle apparently experimented with them using an industrial tone generator.

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