In October of 2011, I did an extensive email interview for an article in a weekly paper on Michael Esposito, paranormal researcher and experimental artist. Esposito specializes in Electronic Voice Phenomena, the occasional tendency for voices to mysteriously end up on more or less quiet recordings, when there is no logical reason for them to be there. Not simply a ghost hunter, he also incorporates these sounds into compositions either alone or with other well regarded collaborators. His biography makes one wonder how he ever slept, as he was a psy ops officer in the gulf war, a student at four different universities (including American University in Cairo, Egypt), and he has performed all over the world in support of numerous releases, many of which were published by the venerable Touch Music UK. He's been interviewed or featured in films more than a handful of times, and he has worked the “lecture circuit” for paranormal conferences, as well as festivals and exhibits in Graz, UK, and Sweden. As is to be expected, my article, with a small maximum word count, couldn't possibly do justice to the depth of background necessary for such an undertaking, and after it was done, I had a longing to be able to communicate just that. In the process of my research, not only did I do an interview but I also followed up after the initial article, read an extensive bio, numerous published and unpublished essays, and plenty of information online. In the process of this final interview, Michael probably flew to 5 different countries to perform or record.
Through the course of numerous conversations and common interests, Michael and I naturally struck a chord. We ended up recording at Bachelor's Grove, a notoriously haunted cemetery which has been mentioned a few times in this interview, one that I have a very personal connection to. I ended up experiencing first hand Esposito's processes, along with his psychic research partner Heidi Harman, and Chicago sound artist Jason Soliday. The only time I have ever found anything significant in terms of capturing EVP, was on accident, and this “ghost hunt”, I thought, was no exception, as the phantoms have never been kindly to my recording devices, and despite recording for 40 minutes, I had maybe 15 minutes of material, then a long, flat, line of dead, pissed off silence. Jason took photos, which to my knowledge, were to no avail, but when Heidi arrived on the scene, one of the first photos she took was opposite the position of the sun, yet near a part of the old rickety chain link fences which were inexplicably collapsed and dramatically bent out of shape amongst a couple of fallen trees, she captured a big glowing white orb. It was huge, and it had a red hue coming from the outside of it.
I listened to my measly 15 minute recording and didn't hear a damn thing. When Michael got to it, he sent me a significant number of sounds. Some of them were arguably no more than background talk from far away, but more than a few of them were at least mysterious, and at best, completely insane: A woman longing quite emphatically “Let Me Fly”, or a man with a pitched down voice saying “I'm Disgusting”. I honestly can't imagine where these voices came from in my recording, but I trust that Michael did not hire a little girl to come into his studio and fake it. I've heard a number of his other captured EVPs; some of them have singing, some of them have yelling, and in a couple of cases, you can hear the voice that Michael expresses hearing in his head on the very same recording, as he responds to it, like some kind of psychic gibberish fairy. Maybe some people are really “mediums” for attracting certain unusual events, and I am just a medium for technical malfunction.
When Esposito takes part in a sound composition of this nature, sometimes it sounds like organic, minimal waves of thick and ornate fuzz, with occasional burbled mutterings coming out of the muck that is the noise floor of his field recordings, or sometimes voices weave in and out of lengthy bouts of silence. Other times, there are compositions of a more conventional sense, with synthesizers, guitars, or whatever else you might expect from your basic garden variety of outstanding and well established sound artists.
Below is a transcript from various exchanges on various days over a period of months. In the context of the interview, we see a lot that gives credence to just how involved this man is in his pursuit of finding out and making a soundtrack to, what happens when we die, or what happens when we don't.
Oh yes. The phenomena is never located in certain areas. In fact I have been developing research on conditions under water, under ground and even extreme altitudes. I have found certain places to be more active than others. Places where tragic events [have happened], river towns, and places where the land itself is very tainted or specifically special for a particular reason.
If so, do you see yourself touring with this kind of approach in any capacity?
There are many places throughout the world that have an interesting historical or metaphysical attraction to me. Electronic Voice Phenomena is a human condition and there are great events in the human condition that I really feel would be nice to create a sort of audioscopic historical record of. In other words, simply because time has passed, it doesn't mean history hasn't left it's mark.
Also tide information and other great info you can find in a farmers almanac. A great deal of the material found in them were at one time deemed witchcraft by the then fledgling catholic church.
How have your results differed over time, with transitions from analog to digital recording technology?
My work with different technologies is an ongoing corpuscle to my over all work. Many times open reel recording is preferable to wire mic, digital recordings or even baby monitors have come into play at different times. Remember, the earliest captures of EVP were on Edison wax cylinders in 1901-1902. I believe that the better the technology is to compress atmospheric particles is and the condition of the atmospheric environment at the time has a great deal to do with the varying levels of success.
Are you familiar with the software that supposedly creates EVPs at random? Are you able to call out a fraudulent EVP recording?
I've dealt with and tested many many many new technologies, ranging from the electronic snake oil salesman to actually interesting devices. Remember, they are only tools. Tools themselves never create anything. There are a variety of ways of determining what are authentic EVPs vs. fraudulent ones. But the very best way and the way that there is truly no substitution for is by personally being at the experiment location and being aware of the complete environment. Remember, there is no substitution for scientific method in a phenomenological situation. I prefer backing everything up with video.
How important do you think your degree in communications is in doing your research?
Absolutely. True research in EVP is completely multi-disciplinary. Everything from History to Speech pathology is represented. I hold a master's in Communication Theory and the amount of theory and research about how people communicate not only with each other, but also within and around the environment, their world, if you will, is key. We filter everything that we experience through every past experience that we have ever had. Every message that we receive is an accumulation of every experience the sender has had filtered through every experience that we have ever had. And that is actually something that I extracted from one of my undergrad degrees in Political Science theory. Like I said completely multi-disciplinary.
Do you research the history of any given location that you have chosen to record in? If so, what are your findings?
Many times I do. Not being a physical medium, I don't suffer the trust issues a medium who may walk a location and recite either what they are getting telepathically or through spirits have to prove they haven't researched the place and made up what they are saying. Many of the historical things I look for are serial instances of traumatic events or known haunting. I let the voices speak for themselves so the main issue for me is to be in control of my working environment to make sure the samples aren't contaminated. Sometimes the voices [corroborate] what I've read and sometimes completely separate.
How did your collaboration with FM Einheit come about? Had he been to the Sallie House? Has he had an experience that brought him to work with you?
I grew up with [Einsturzende Neubauten] and Mufti's work (solo etc) and I was working on some research tracks that I could use and static material to infuse frequencies into an environment. I asked FM to create some of this work for me and he was very fascinated with the idea. Happened to be developing some such material for a play he was working on. So he created a couple of wonderful pieces that I used in my research of the house and the results were fantastic. Some musicians understand the musical (if you will) construction of EVP such as Leif Elggren and CM von Hausswolff (just to name a few) and some musicians end up not quite taking full advantage of what the anomalies have to offer. FM is one of those musicians who actually completely understand how to accentuate those voices.
How would you sum up your involvement in the various collaborations that you have taken part in? Is your input purely in the contribution of site-specific source material, or do you have a certain end result in mind? You've evidently been in a group of recording artists called “Phantom Airwaves”, is that something that includes synthesizers, guidelines and compositional compromises?
Phantom Airwaves, I created as a research umbrella for a revolving group of contributors. Under that Phantom Air Waves is based on antiquated media, Fantom Auditory Operations is based on magnetic tape works and Phantom Plastics is work on vinyl and sound sheets which will be a foundation for a set of writing on theory and audio pieces vinyl and sound sheet format collectible into a 7 " formatted box called Phantom Monographs. Everyone I collaborate with has their own interpretation and contributions to the final work. Sometimes I do most of the composition and tracks, sometimes I simply contribute some or most of the source material and field recordings. "Unsure" is a track I created and performed on a Yamaha Motif 6 and a laptop with real EVPs mixed in. With the wonderful LP "There Must Be A Way Around this River/The Abject" with John Duncan and Z'ev, they both interpret the field recordings completely in their own way. In this research path there are no wrong turns.
It's obvious that your ancestral background seems to have had some influence on your interest in EVPs. Was there a pivotal point in your development that you can refer to as somewhere that foresaw your interest in the subject of EVPs?
Yes, that's pretty interesting. I was asked that question in the past and had to actually sit down and work backwards to see where I took that turn. Then I realized it wasn't a turn at all, but rather a point where all these separate roads in my life joined into a large fork. From growing up with my mother, who was a huge Stephen King fan, and her personal stories of experiencing supernatural occurrences, long summer afternoons listening to the other kids tell ghost stories about local haunted houses to the childhood games with my brother, sister and all my cousins breaking into teams and creating our own haunted houses to try and out scare the other team.
Artistically I was a fan of experimental and Avante Garde art and music from as young as 10 or 11. My influences from that age were Zappa, Beefheart, early Pink Floyd, Yoko Ono, Marcel Duchamp, Magritte, Dali and cautionary tales by Belloc and Gorey. Odd mix for an 11 year old, then in the early 80s Throbbing Gristle, EN and Wax Trax! Records stuff. I studied Scientific Illustration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, hoping to be a scientific illustrator and my counselor one day announced to me that everything was going digital and we were all now fine artists. I discovered the phenomena while building and modding computers from scratch. I was building a studio computer and was trying to expand the freq ranges to infra and ultrasonic ranges. I read about these anomalies, tried them myself, got great results and realizing how every bit of my past desires to marry science, art and (mysticism if you will) ghostly research all came together, I found where I believe I was meant to be.
Have you ever taken part in seances or anything of the sort, in attempts at receiving communications from the dead?
When I was young I dabbled a bit with Tarot cards, but after running through a string of bad luck, gave them up. One year for Christmas, my mom bought us a Ouija board, not any serious attempts with that. I do use dousing rods, also known as water witching, and I have a research partner, Heidi Harman, who handles most of the metaphysical research with me. She is a reiki master and an energy healer. She also scrys using pendulums and is quite a gifted medium.
What is your foremost ghost hunting story?
Oh my. There are so many really great ones. I've done hundreds of investigations so it would be hard to give you foremost. I've been pushed and shoved. I've been jumped (slight possession) at least three times in the last six years and seen people burnt cut and scratched to ribbons and thrown around.
So I will tell you a ghost story that once happened to my research partner Heidi and I. We were on an investigation at Waverly Hills Sanatorium, in Kentucky. Waverly is a very large abandoned Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Our equipment was malfunctioning at every turn and it was very hot. We were in an outer hallway where they used to roll the patients out to get fresh air. It was a cloudy moonless night. Heidi was standing in front of me and she asked me if I had a strange feeling. Just then I turned around to see a guy in a red shirt standing right behind me. I could see the color of his skin, the shirt and his black hair. Just then he darted away from me. At first I thought he was a [ghost] hunter and darted through a doorway, but all that there was there was a wall. So I immediately ran a few feet to the nearest doorway and through old patient rooms to the inner hall in pursuit. As I reached the inner hall, a small group of hunters were running toward me. I asked if they had seen anyone come through this way way and they confirmed they had just seen a shadow figure come through the wall right next to me. I snapped "ah! that was my guy!" It was really great to have even verbal confirmation in the absence of my malfunctioning equipment.
You've had intelligent responses where you ask a question and a voice responds right? How do you relate that to your theories about past sounds sort of carrying over into an inaudible realm?
There are two basic catagories of EVP. Intelligent and Residual. In 1971 for BBC 4 there was a television play made for the christmas season called The Stone Tape. the premise was that this sound engineering company set up shop in an old country estate to develop a new recording medium to compete with the Japanese. The workers who were building out their labs in the building refused to finish the project because of a haunting. The haunting was a residual one and the head of the company realized that the ghostly image was a captured energy in the old porous stones in that part of the building and came up with the idea that if they could duplicate the technology behind this phenomena into a new recording media they would be untouchable in the industry.
The paranormal and psychical research groups in England grabbed on to this idea and started calling it the Stone Tape Theory. Marconi once observed that sound created could never completely disappear only grow infinitely smaller, very much akin to Einstein's theories of how energy could never be destroyed, and could only remain in one of two forms, resting or kinetic, or active energy. My research partner and I have conducted many experiments over the years related to regeneration of or freeing up residual or as I call it embedded EVPs but introducing pure tone frequencies from tuning forks and Tibetan singing bowls directly to floors, doors, windows and walls or investigation sites. Actually, there are photos of my applying contact microphones directly to these as well, a technique I learned from working with Leif Elggren.
Do you have any other methods other than singing bowls? Do you believe that certain keys on a keyboard or synthesizer are conducive to the freeing of residual energy? Do you have a desire for your recorded output/albums to release residual energy in the presence of the listener (in a mystical or scientific sense)? What do you think the listener might get from listening to one of your albums? Do you know of other experimental artists that are working with tones in the same way that you are?
Yes, many. Not only the Bowls and tuning forks, but I have created a concept of what i call Situation Specific Frequencies, based on the idea that there are so many new and foreign frequencies that are introduced to the modern atmosphere such as fluorescent lighting and cell phone towers that I wanted to infuse the atmosphere with freqs from objects or situations a particular spirit may be familiar with. It's like a sound engineer who will Pink out a large concert hall before recording an orchestra to absorb the echo. I select sounds from objects or songs that are time and situationally relevant and create a composition to play before or during a recording session. For example: The John Mouat Lumber Mill Tests were based on a turn of the century Scottish Lumber baron that basically built Denver. I found sawmills that were actually ones he might have had from the 1890s, Bagpipe songs of songs popular during his childhood in Scotland and other sounds he would recognize from his life. I built them into a composition and filled the rooms of his mansion with them before I would start recording. So far the Tests have worked out very well. You can get a free download of that one at the Belsona Academy Podcasts. Also, my research partner Heidi and I have used her frequency healing material such as combinations of pitches used to help with illnesses. For example, we put together healing freqs that would be used to help with breathing and heart problems and played them in Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium.
It's clearly evident that musique concret is part of your musical interests, I have to ask what other kind of experimental music is stimulating to a person with your knowledge and background. Are you tuned in enough to pick out frequencies or microtonal elements in other people's recordings?
Oh yes, not only do I often go through other peoples field recordings but I often go through old historical speeches, news events and even musical recordings. I am currently working through Wlademar Borgoras' wax cylinder recording from the Siberian Jessup Expedition (US and Russian) from 1901-1902. It is also interesting to listen to them in Reverse. Reverse Speech Phenomena is a technique we often use in EVP research, but that's another story. i would recommend David John Oates (the father of RSP)'s website www.reversespeech.com
I was born in 1964, the last year of the baby boom generation. My earliest favorite bands were Kraftwerk, Zappa, Beefheart, Pink Floyd and Yes (especially their Mastwerks stuff like Gates of Delerium and Tales From Topographic Oceans and Close to the Edge) you know Avante Garde and Art Rock stuff. I remember a lot of Yoko Ono (with Lennon like Sphinx) also. Then in the 80s it was EN, Wax Trax! records stuff, Revolting Cocks, Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey, Psychic TV, Caberet Voltaire and almost anything Industrial. Now its Cage, Stockhausen, Duncan, Farmers Manual, Russell Haswell, Chris Watson, Jana Winderen and all my friends and colleagues. I still love everything from the past as well, so I guess it was a path.
By using EVP in recorded material, do you hope to conjure more EVP, or to communicate in someway?
* Great question! Realistically my goal has been to collect evidence and develop theories that may one day be found and used down the road by scientists that may actually come up with answers to the ultimate question of what happens to us when we die. Of course, if I could document proven strings of communication (which i have in small scales) it would really be something to pass on!
Do you think that tones are comparable to different dimensions then?
Oh yes! And it's not only not a new concept but I believe a very relevant one. Ancient Indian tribes and Tibetans have linked sound and frequencies to other dimensions for eons. Keep in mind we are not so advanced. We have lost or forgotten (historically) greater information than we have been able to catch back up to.
If I'm not mistaken David Oates was on Coast to Coast AM talking about reverse speech. Do you give any merit to it? Do you think that we can interpret people's true intentions by reversing their speech?
I do completely believe that reverse speech is a phenomena. Now based of any forensic or psychological value, I stand on the sidelines at this point. I believe psychology is a combination of gross generalization and rational man theory. By labeling what rational behaviour or thinking is, the ontology of human psychology is seriously flawed right from the start. I mean sure, being a serial killer in a community based society is anti- social, but in a Darwinian context, it may not be so unnatural (I know that is a horribly extreme comparison but you may get my point). If a persons true intentions are not to completely submit to full disclosure then what is disclosed in reverse speech may be evasive. So, in the context of EVP we also get things said both forward and backward and partial sentences completed in the reverse state. Now that IS interesting. The physical manipulation of sound wave, atmospheric molecular structure and time constructs to me is way more interesting than intentions or message. Remember, we do not know whether the entities are who they say they are, lying or simply reading our thoughts (energy) and giving us what we want to hear. So Scientifically to be pure, I can't allow myself any judgment calls.
Also, I'd like to know what your input is about radio, have you culled EVP from it? What do you have to say about the frequencies or the characteristics of radio?
Oh yes, A lot of the pioneers from the 50s up through present have worked with radio waves. Well actually there was a Scandinavian team, which captured what they thought might be Nazi radio transmissions before the war and after the war cross-checked transmission records to show that the captured voices were not from any Nazi transmissions. Of course there has been some interesting thoughts of Long Wave Frequency and bouncing sferics that was used to try and explain it as well. I have worked on a great deal of experiments using different radio wave based technology. Some of the most interesting is with my partner Heidi and a researcher who uses the Frank's Box as her main area of concentration. Jenny Stewart is probably one of the foremost researchers in Frank's Box technology. This is where the radio scans the waves in AM or FM but simply doesn't stop when it hits a signal. It just passes on. We used to buy radios from Radio Shack that had the scanning features and modify them. We called them Shack Hack's. Jürgenson and Raudive used to do this by manually turning the tuning knob.
The only time I've experienced EVP was when I was playing 5 radios at a time, and I asked my girlfriend if she wanted coffee, she didn't even hear me, but all of the radios turned off for a moment and said "No Thank You", then turned back on. I've tried in other cases and never picked up anything. I wonder what you have to say about cold spots or electronic disturbances, I know that you've experienced apparitions and physical harm, but do you think that cold spots and malfunctions in equipment have to do with that, or are they just coincidental? Do you think that tones are effecting the climate, or even, let's say, the electronic climate (being that you've mentioned microwaves and such in the past)? Do you think it's possible that electronic smog is playing a part in these findings?
Yes and sun spots, EMF and other natural freqs and etc etc etc! I believe that many things may play into and to different extents at different times. The question though isn't that at all, the question is are we getting voices that are humanistic in nature that by all rights shouldn't be there? Remember, to prove that a phenomena exists only takes one instance.
I feel obliged to ask you what exactly your work during the Gulf War as a Psy Ops officer entailed...
During the war, because I speak some Arabic, I was purchasing agent, buying and dealing with the local population. We did mostly leaflets and not so much audio work.
I am working on some files from a haunted monastary in Croatia tonight. CM von Hausswolff, Jana Winderen (who won Ars Electronica this year) and some others are in Croatia sending me freaking bunches of files to go through for them to perform tomorrow in a concert. Not my idea of the best Friday night but the damn files are full! They are in a truly screwed up place and I don't know if they even realize it!
Wow. Have you been to Bachelor's Grove? [Bachelor's Grove Cemetery is abandoned and one of the most haunted places in the country, located in Midlothian, Illinois] . I'd be very interested in recording there.
Yes many times. Even with Kevin Drumm [who's collaborated on a 7 inch with Michael] and I did some recordings there that we never used, he grew up near there. Be careful around Halloween, a lot of cops!
Was the Kevin Drumm recording from Bachelor's Grove?
No that is still raw material I have of us "ghost hunting".
I try and get the most authenticly relavent material possible. For instance, I'm doing a show for Tape Worm in London. In the Show MC Harding and von Hausswolff are doing a musical based on a reading of Poe. Today Poe died. Either tomorrow or the next day he was buried in an unmarked grave. I have a friend in Baltimore (she is an expert in the ghost box technology) who is going with her husband tomorrow to record at the unmarked gravesite of poe so I can pull the EVPs and other natural sounds from the site to build into a composition for the London show.
Also, is there a specialized process for EVP from audio processes? Is it more than simply raising the amplitude of the recording?
I do some light cleaning and some scientific filters at times, but mostly power of strong listening!
I went to Bachelor's Grove today and met a very interesting man named Carl. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the site, and he kept directing me to one of the websites about the place where there is a membership required to get secret information or some such...
* Interesting! What was that website?
You're probably familiar, but it was this site: http://bachelors-grove.com/ . He told me some things that I haven't found on your website, he says he knows you personally. I haven't listened to the radio show you told me about/podcast, but he told me there is something about Thresholds (a radio program/podcast), and that you invented some kind of infra red camera to record apparitions in the sky. That's what I remember him saying....
A lot of people say they know me personally! I didn't invent an infrared camera. My assistant and I used them quite a bit. In fact, the famous pic of the woman of Bachelor's Grove [a photo of a grave stone where a woman appeared to be sitting on it upon being developed] was taken with an infrared camera!
Can you tell me how you think dowsing or water witching or pendulum scrying might help in your process?
I believe everybody has mediumistic abilities, but are talented in certain areas, like super heroes have certain abilities. I'm not much of a scryer but I am talented in dowsing (water witching) I have found however, that when doing both EVP recording and dowsing at the same time, only one works well at a time. It may have something to do with energy expended. Remember as a researcher, you can affect three things: The researcher, the subject, or the environment.
Can you tell me more about "pinking out"? I'm not aware of it and I don't find anything substantial online....
* Sound recordist will typically run Pink Noise for 20 min or so before recording say a symphony in a large hall to allow the introduced frequencies to absorb any possible echo.
When you talk about healing frequencies and combinations of pitches to help overcome illnesses, how did you go about researching this? Is this based on scientific findings such as "binaural beats" or occult text of some sort?
There are books with handed down freq combos that date back centuries from both eastern (say tibet) and Celtic origins. I have these manuals that my research partner Heidi came into possession of.
Surely you know about Sarah Estep's claims in the 70s of receiving broadcasts from Beethoven, up to and including a broadcast of an orchestra from beyond the grave. What do you make of it? Do you think intelligent communication could have that much of a reach?
* Sarah started recording in 1980-1981. Sarah did speculate he spoke to Beethoven who provided her a mini concert and even some sort of super group [on tape]. Jurgenson speculated he spoke to Hitler who had mended his megalomaniac ways because leaving his corporeal body behind , he also left his brain malady that was caused by botched treatment of chemical warfare wounds from WWI. I'm more careful because I believe spirits may lie or are so desperate to communicate, they will be anyone you want. I will not make rash claims like that because we can't verify who they are even if they give us a name.
Can you tell me more about this: Intemptesta Nox: Mechanical Equalization Induced By Resistance To Air?
* It was part of a research series I did with a group I was head of research with Haunted Voices. Each member did a sound sample that I built into an hour long CD and manipulated the samples a bit and cleaned up. They were static noises to use like white noise in research, but some are beautiful. That one was Jen Smith's I believe. She did all the photos for the series covers and I believe her husband penned most of the album titles! Well, at least the sub titles (the descriptive bits, and they are very well done) I released them in issues of 30 on CDr - very rare but crazy good sounds.
What do your cassettes from the early 80s sound like?
Most of the cassettes from the early stuff in the 80s was very experimental. I was very much into Syd Barrett, John and Yoko (especially the very experimental stuff) and the more epic Yes stuff like Relayer, Tales From Topographic Oceans and Close To The Edge (their best works were always their masterwerks stuff) oh and Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow, Frank Zappa, Beefheart and Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz stuff too. So the early stuff was heavy Avant Garde stuff. Fried Fish is me on bass and a Drummer and the recordings of his dad frying fish for our dinner. Sex was an old girlfriend and I with a guitar and well you can guess recordings of... wow that was before Andrew recorded himself with Annie Sprinkles! Hey! Some heavy Cage influence. My favorite artist when I was in High School was Marcell Duchamp (and Rene Magritte) I considered myself a Dadaist when sophomore in High School. I had a one man art exhibit in High School that included wigs under motorcycle helmets supported by a microphone stand, broken light bulbs in broken bowls all painted white, TV tubes in side canvases painted with test patterns and suspended teacups from the ceilings. LOL, I wonder to this day what the staff thought. That must have been in 78 or 79.
It's clear to me that you give some merit to the concept of sonic weaponry, but definitely not to the degree where you believe all of the sensationalistic stuff that you pointed out to be unfounded. Do you think that Tesla really created an Earthquake machine? I guess they did rebuild his design in modern day and it did shake a bridge slightly, but it was far from an earthquake. To what degree do you accept the concepts of sonic weaponry as asserted by Gavreau? Can subsonic frequencies rupture organs? Do you think "anti muzak" or "riot noise" works? Do you think the feraliminal lycanthropizer works?
Hilter did a great deal of work on sonic weaponry, and the Russians after that. The U.S. has done its share in different ways. Brown note or Brownian noise work and even Psy Ops operation in Viet nam based on using Ghost voices of the wandering dead! If the dead aren't buried properly or returned to family, they wander the earth in eternity. The Psy Ops did a whole campaign based on it. Did Tesla destroy an entire village in Southern Siberia? Remember many people tried to set Tesla up. He had dangerous ideas. Ever see the ads from the 30s of the happy family playing with the Tesla Coil in the living room? Do you think we would spend so much time and money on this if it weren't at least possible? We know besides hearing loss, it can affect emotions.
We know that the subsonic frequencies in classically orchestrated music can (and opera) can create emotive responses to the point of tears. I know of some experimental musicians, who took fiberglass tubing from the lower registers of a pipe organ and led it out through the middle of an audience at a classical concert. Those closest to the tubing broke out into tears. On the 21st I'll be recording EVP in Lincoln theatre in Linconshire, as part of the Spire series based on church and cathedral organs. There was a good episode on Myth Busters that attempted to make people lose control of their bowel movements through brown noise and failed. Hitler forces accidentally wiped out one of their own companies by misfiring a sound cannon. The Musak corporation has been involved with subversive sound matters since the 30s when it was one of the main contractors for modifying Vocoders into telephonic masking devices. As far as Feraliminal Lycanthropizers and Dream machines or I guess basically any other frequency based piece, I believe we have to be much more sensitive to waveform than pressure (i.e. Hz v dB). I'm not sure a Ferm Lyca. is more effective than a woman leaning up against a spin cycle on the Maytag.
I have heard that if you have a piano and a cello in the same room, and you hit an E chord on either one, the E chord will resonate on the other instrument. This leads me to the question of some kind of unification between microsounds or granular synthesis, that there is some kind of universal language of sounds that we don't hear and how it relates to physical reactions in people or objects. To what degree is your understanding or acceptance of this?
* If like energies attract then clearly like frequencies also attract. I draw your research to the work done studying Whales being able to communicate hundreds of miles away through infrasonic communication and actually connect to specific family members. I have whole theses' I've written on my theories of what are the physical construction of EVP through layered microsound partials traveling in granular clouds that are recompressed (as in vocoder technology) into a format containing enough pressure to be heard audibly. Also, the Ogilvie writings are concerned with the idea that there is no original sound source because of simple atmospheric particle manipulation and all we actually capture is the echo of EVPs and that is why there is no sound localization, because we cannot hear it binaurally. Therefore EVPs cannot determine solid direction or rate of speed. Which also leads me into my work on speed of atmospheric manipulation and microbursts. Also, look at the work Emoto did by freezing sound waves in water showing the difference between such things as classical music and yelling.
Oliver Sacks, in his book Musicophilia talks about "Earworms" or maybe what you refer to as "cognitive itch", where a patient would swear that they are hearing certain music over and over, even though it is not there, not necessarily a catchy tune but one seemingly from out of nowhere, and you posit that certain other possibilities for would be ghost experiences such as synesthesia and "hypnologic effects" are tangible. Do you think that it is possible to have a haunted skull or something? Do you think that people can hypnotize themselves to see ghosts or hear voices?
People like my dear friend Leif Elggren have done pieces based on this idea such as his album "Is There A Smell On The Other Side". I am working on a piece now for a tapeworm label show in London, that I am using the same earworm concept in a piece From bits of odd music captured by a Ghost Box (from a friend of mine Jenny Stewart, one of the country's leading Ghost Box Technicians) at Edgar Poe's grave site. There was a great study about a scientist who was experiencing odd ghostly effects in his lab and attributed it to low level freqs coming from the ventilation fan I can't remember the name of the article. Also, refer to Leif's album Ventilation. See, experimental musicians are actually scientists using entertainment to pinpoint an underground audience.
That's funny you should bring up haunted skulls. Just today, I came upon a great find! I am a notorious "treasure" hunter. which leads many times to dumpster diving especially at storage facilities. I dropped my son Ferris off at Ju Jitsu class which is next to a storage locker facility and found in the dumpster that some orthodontist had dumped literally thousands of poly plaster molds of peoples full sets of teeth! Right now in the trunk of my Jeep, I have hundreds I was able to rescue before it started raining too hard to pull (sic) more! If vibrations pass through our teeth, and we know that they are porous, is it possible that not only do our teeth capture some of this energy, but can moldings of these teeth contain them? I am not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but they seem to have a story to tell.
Is there any way that you can tell me in more simple terms how you think microsounds are compressed or compacted to the degree that they become so dense that they can be heard by the human ear? Do you suggest that a certain amount of layers of inaudible frequencies, if layered together enough, can exist as a formula for producing something akin to EVPs?
* Exactly. As rain clouds condense, they produce rainfall. This changes gas into a liquid. If the magnets and the diaphragms of microphones can compress certain sections of atmospheric particles, can they create enough pressure that can be registered by the human ear? Granted they still don't do the best job possible, which may be why we only fragments and short blurbs of human speech. And in the case of echo, what exactly does echo do for a sound source? If freq and sound wasn't kinetic in nature we shouldn't ever be able to hear echo at all. In Roads' book on micro sound he develops a great chart on the duration of sound called the nine time scales of the time domain. The x and y axis' range from the infinite to the infinitesimal and from the past to the present and future. This spans the micro-event (grain durations) to the entire human lifetime(Supra Sample). I realized if you took the chart into the future (past a human lifetime) past pre echo and pre reverberation, The sound samples become ideally infinitesimally brief delta functions, also found in brain wave functions! So with that model, is personality survives, it could only be in the form of granular clouds. So, there is already work in progress on turning granular clouds into sound objects and all we need to do is to turn our attention at recreating the human personality. (Dr. Frankenstein I pressume, LOL)
Do you think that certain out of the ordinary ground lines or plots of land that are shaped strangely can produce vibrations conducive to EVP, if augmented with the right transducers or provided the right conditions?
* OK are you talking about Ley Lines or River Towns and spoiled grounds that the native americans will not even bury or settle on? Yes, absolutely, we often have found that more active locations have a direct relationship to some terra characteristic. That's book in itself.
Do you believe that Halloween is a time where energy is at its highest point (or whatever that rumor is about Halloween being the most conducive time to reach the dead etc)?
Well not exactly, but I do believe autumn like spring is and I do believe there were a lot of Celtic and Nordic ceremonies built around these times and even more specifically (eg equinox, solstice, etc). That is why the catholic religion built so many of their holidays over those times.
You've said that you want to infuse certain frequencies into an environment, and FM Einheit was one such person who used the potential of your EVP source material. I recently read a review of your work with Francisco Meirino in The Wire, and it dropped the word "existential" into the mix. Now you've also said that FM Einheit was working on a play that incorporated similar sound structures. I don't have any of your work with CM Von Hausswolff but I do have some other work that focuses on expanding on the sounds themselves, rather than just integrating them into compositions, Leif Elggren, Francisco Meirino, Kommissar Hjuler, and especially your own compositions, which seem to be more rare than collaborations if I'm not mistaken. You have even taken opera recordings and tried to make them sound like EVPs. Is "Existential" a word that you would describe with this kind of work?
Actually, Yes FM created the material to use in infusing frequencies into the environment for EVP research. Alot of people dont know this, but some of the collaborations were really my structures that the collaborator added to. The Drumm 7" Kommissar Huler, Sallie House, John Mouat, Messerschmitt, Nothing By Mouth (with Harman), Child Witch, Unsure, Perryville Battlefield, Ogilvie Station, Purgatory Souls, Ghosts of Effingham, Perdus et Trouves, Ghosts of Gnathonemus Petersii, Escape Plan, Les Fantomes Des Terrains Abstracks, Somebody's Ghost were all foundationally my compositions.
Sort of a marriage of Art which would be existential in the fact that Art, like communication is filtered through the individual's personal experiences (all of them). Placing that on a podium of Science theory and understanding may help hone a definition to enhance the existential experience of the individual. Remember science only defines our world, it does nothing to assist in our experience of it without the art and existential observations of it.
Have you and your psychic research partner Heidi Harman ever collaborated on a composition in any capacity?
Nothing by Mouth is a fantastic piece that was originally built as a tool for investigations. So was Child Witch. Heidi has been instrumental in the research based pieces. She has added much of the energy work theory and metaphysical elements of my work.
Do you see yourself as someone who is
enacting a sort of abstract play in a similar manner that I assume
Einheit is? If you are repurposing these voices perhaps
to give credence to the source of whatever anomalies that caused them
to come about, would you say it is less artistic and more
interactive/technical in its curiosity, or are you making your own
form in pursuit of "The Great Work" so to speak?
In short, would you say that you are more dadaistic or because of your discipline, more of a driven and meticulous, ambitious form of "serious artistry"?
I think historically, when people discover something they look for utility in what they've found. O.K. we have these voices, what do we do with them? I look for avenues to display the results of my scientific (pseudo or otherwise if you will) research, to reach as many people as possible. Remember, much of my world is built around the sounds of the structure itself. A sort of aural photograph, and what's nice is that aural representations don't follow the same perceptual constraints of measurement of perspective, it allows me to order and reorder the environment without losing the exactness of the frequencies involved.
But more to your original question, when I was a child, I was a huge fan of Dadaist and Surrealist movements, from Duchamp to Magritte. But I always felt that the ideological foundation of Dadaism was a flawed oxymoron. That is Surrealism attempted to reorder its environment to create an atmosphere or feeling. Many times based in solid communication theory. Magritte especially, was as much a communications theorist as a painter. Dadaists were impressed and amused by the critics trying to existentially place meaning of an artwork that the critics expected all to share, therefore defining. So Dadaists went out of their way to mislead these critics/audiences, attempting to lead them on a wild goose chase. The end result, I believe, is that the Dadaists only created a masked Surrealism attributing, but attempting to mask or hide the meaning. Look at Man Ray for instance. You can't mask/hide something that isn't there. The only true Dada art is void space!
My attempts are to create an exploration of and present scientific findings in a way that shows that order and structure does not have to exist in a scientific world. I know that sounds quantum, and it is. The ever-revealing science of God is the belief that in science's attempt to prove God doesn't exist, as they get closer and closer to the truth, are going to end up proving God exists. Art and Science were separated at birth and can never be complete until they are rejoined.
Photos courtesy of Heidi Harman. This article in cooperation with Special Interests Magazine.