Hypersynchrony

Hypersynchrony is my first release for Earth Academy Records. It’s actually an old project from 2003, a five-section work of electroacoustic music for tape that I composed as part of my MA (Hons) in Music Technology at the University of Limerick.

The compositional subject could be defined broadly as ‘states of consciousness’ and ‘meditation’. Each section of Hypersynchrony connects to one phase of a meditative cycle and its associated imagery. The ideas behind the piece grew out of my studies in Psychology, which led me towards an interest in auditory entrainment techniques and the Silva Method. If your curious, you can read about the research and the compositional process in the MA thesis.

The original work was produced and mixed in 5.1 surround sound. This particular version is a binaural stereo downmix and is intended for listening using headphones.

The soundscape of Hypersynchrony is quite ‘dense’ – particularly in the first section, Seizures in Beta City, which is made up of layers of noisy sound objects that have complex spectromorphologies and spatial motions. At the time, I was studying electroacoustic music and trying out new compositional techniques. Consequently, I was all too eager to use the full battery of generative tools at my disposal, which included Csound, Max/Msp, Kyma X, and Metasynth.

In the first few weeks, I dived deeply into the process of sound design and ended up with a vast palette of sound objects to work with. Lacking a certain amount of experience, an overkill tendency crept into my approach. When working on the arrangement and structure, I found it difficult to discard interesting sounds. Instead, I found myself layering multiple sound-objects and rendering out premixes which I would then layer again. Mixing in 5.1 surround and for playback in a large theater, I didn’t really catch on to how overblown things were getting.

Returning to the project after many years with the intention of creating a binaural mixdown from the stems, I realized that the density of the soundscape, and the lack of silence, was going to make it difficult to reproduce anything close to the perceptions of spatial distribution and motion one gets when listening to the 5.1 mix. As a binaural stereo mix, Hypersynchrony can be a bit overwhelming in parts, but, that said, it still stands up to a listen after all these years. Some of the sound design concepts I worked with back then–particularly auditory entrainment–are still interesting to me.

 

 

 

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