Into the Droomharmonium

December 9, 2015

Photo by Charles Gatewood

Photo by Charles Gatewood

‘In its original form, a dreamachine, a creation by Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs’s “systems adviser” Ian Sommerville, is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations normally present in the human brain while relaxing.’

‘A dreamachine is “viewed” with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain’s electrical oscillations. Users experience increasingly bright, complex patterns of color behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the user feels surrounded by colors. It is claimed that using a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one’s eyes.’

Around 2011 I had my first encounter with a Dreamachine. Father Sloow, a fellow traveller in Sylvester Anfang II, had made one himself and immediatly I was intrigued by it. The fact that snippets of light could make your head spin, well… made my head spin. For me it was the inspiration to start making music that would recreate the flicker effect from the Dreamachine with sound. The Dreamachine for me was like a magnifying glass to look at things. I was fascinated by the fact that all those small, repetitive parts created an experience that was more than the sum of all parts. From this experience I started exploring overtones and the “Droomharmonium Saga” became the aural transcription of that quest. And from the beginning there was the plan of performing the “Droomharmanium” with real Dreamachines.



A couple of years back I got to know the Belgian sound artist Thomas Betsens who was making Dreamachines in his shed and we started making plans for an evening where the Dreamachine would be the center part of the evening. 

Now, the nice people of cinéPalace have given us the opportunity to play a show with the machines Thomas has built over the years and perform the “Droomharmonium” piece like it was really intended: in front of a Dreamachine, with the eyes closed, disconnected from time and space, hoovering in you’re own mind, experiencing all what is not there at first sight.

So come by, sit down and let sound and light take over. Turn on, tune in, drop out!

DREAMACHINE SHOW
Hellvete
Engerling Ensemble
Mahler Haze

December 16, 2015 – CinéPalace, Kortrijk – 20pm

 

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