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This room lets you create music using your hallucinations

Ever listened to some music and realised that you could change the sound as you move your head around?

Maybe it’s just me, but I love going to ambient shows and controlling filter sweeps and panning by tilting and nodding my head. My experience at New York’s Dream House, a collaborative Sound and Light Environment by composer La Monte Young and visual artist Marian Zazeelatook this ‘active’ listening to a whole new level.

The Dream House is basically a room in a building in Downtown Manhattan that has been converted to listening room. Four oversized speakers (for the size of the room) are placed in the four corners of the room and bombard you with frequencies.

The Dream House

When I visited I decided to find a place on the carpeted floor and have a lie-down. It did not take long for me to start rocking my head side to side, controlling the overtones that were filling every crevice of the room. But soon I realised I did not need to move at all to control the patterns in the sound. I could actively listen and control the sound without even moving, simply through deep listening.

It was indeed the most active listening experience I’d ever had, and as the hallucinations started to accompany the sound, I quickly realised why it was in fact called The Dream House.

This Guest Post was written by Alon, the co-designer of a new interface for electronic percussionists called AirSticks. These sticks combine the physicality of drumming with the unlimited possibilities of computer music.

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