Arthur Brown – a new kind of Brain music
I’ve been working with Arthur Brown in Lewes since late 2013 on developing a new performative piece of Art, incorporating the EEG monitoring in realtime, and we debuted a piece as the intro to “Time Captains” during is set with his band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. This is just the beginning of our partnership as musical performers to use ‘Brain Music’ technology to present the world’s first ‘Psychosonic’ live performance at this year’s Bestival on The Isle of Wight.
Here is a video of Arthur explaining how he begins to control the EEG waves, he also has many years of experience in meditation which helps focus the mind and change state more effectively and with clarity.
“I see a time when there is no difference between our concept of life and our concept of music.” Arthur Brown is probably best known by most for his Crazy World, for his theatrical performances and his rightful place as a pioneer of Prog. His latest project, Psychosonic, with performance partner and neurofeedback artist Luciana Haill may be one of his most inventive and fascinating yet. Arthur Brown, the God of Hellfire, is making music directly from brainwaves.
Since 2015 we are learning how the public engage, and most
importantly believe and trust what we do is ‘for real’ and not weirdly choreographed ! The feedback from the audience both in Larvik Norway and Bestival has shown us where the convincing signals lie and how we may best work this realtime live risk into a new partnership in performance.
In Norfolk with musician Les, deep in the countryside we connected Arthur each day whilst he played Dobro, rhythm guitar and spoke surreal tales of journeys and mobile phones. These spontaneous musings were captured by the EEG monitor which was feeding-back Arthur’s reflective brainwaves into a live remixing of these very recently recorded elements. At one point I clearly remember the studio full of sound, many tracks playing, his voice multilayered with percussion and slide guitar.. the levels of the tracks were fading up and down as if we were jamming, but no one was touching a single controller, not a mouse or a key!
This was all done by IBVA5 software using Audio unit plugins custom made for Mac OS X OSC, and all the recent Garageband or Ableton samples I had fed in, were now triggered by brainwave parameters. We began with a 4 note drone, in voice and synth,, and that was the bedrock for this sound piece known as “mobile phone” a rather hectic and excitable track, “windy tent’, which also formed from these base elements without the Dobro and singing.
From an interview on MetalTalk, in Arthur Brown’s own words: “We found when I played Dobro or my petrol-can slideguitar more activity happened on the right hemisphere. When I dance like a dervish, a huge amount of Theta activity happened on both sides, so we learned to implement certain physical activities effecting the metaphysical and changing the cognitive activity and real-time sound piece.
“It has occasionally looked like this would never happen. People flaked out, or lost interest, or just ditched the idea to go and do something else. But three things helped.
“I was an ornery cuss. I knew that it is surprising how things will actually happen when it looks
completely like they won’t. And that if you fix on an event in the future, and visualise it with all your
senses, it will draw you to it, rather than you pushing towards it. So, I held my vision, and here we are now…
“I also like the cutting edge of technology, where culture meets science. Also, what music is, is only an agreement to look at humans and sound in a particular way. I like to know what happens when you look at it in a different way.
Other recent Arthur Brown press about Brainmusic :
Louder than war
Listen to BBC Radio Solent interview describing brainwave music
2013 : From Lewes Musical Express 2013