Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:
Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology
(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)
The following text was written for Multi-Media Presentation about fractal music presented at international conferences and festivals:
Tamas Mandala Music
The newly developed Tamas Mandala Music did not grow out of the inspiration and sentiments of human kind, it is much rather meta- and perhaps transpersonal in its character. The often surprising, sometimes also very strange world of sounds of the Tamas Laboratory is a reflection of natural phenomena whose very structure has amazed mankind since immemorial time. How often as a child or perhaps as a grown- up person, have you observed the rising smoke of a fire, the flowing water of a little brook, or the clouds playing with the rays of the sun?
Just as the unknown plains of the desert with its undulating dunes, the sight of a chain of mountains with its rocks and valleys, or the gently moving surface of the sea, the sounds of the Tamas Mandala evoke emotions of longing for unity with the universe, of endlessly changing forms, and of infinity with its inexhaustible potential. Everything becomes relative. Evaluations have no meaning here, just as no snowflake is more beautiful than another.
Fractal View of the World
We speak of a fractal view of the world which means that forms in different scales of ordering are similar and infinite, that they are recursive (patterns within patterns), that growth processes imply feedback or resonance (are intertwined). An example: A cloud of steam has a form similar to that of clouds and these in turn have forms similar to clouds gathering on a satellite image. These qualities are very well portrayed in pictures of the Mandelbrot Set discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot, who coined the terms ‘fractal’ and ‘fractal geometry’.
The Science of Chaos
The idea on the line of this kind of music has arisen out of a new view of a world which has been developed in recent years by biologists, physicists, astronomers, economists, and mathematicians.
Today this new kind of science which is gaining more and more importance is called chaos theory, because it enables us to find orderly structure underlying chaos. We speak of fractal geometry of nature, dissipative structures, determinist chaos, and strange attractors.
These theories of chaos are being confirmed more and more by different branches of science which have suddenly been reduced to a common denominator. They all enable us to see the evolution of the individual, of mankind, and of the universe in a new light, whereby a mechanistic and static view of a ‘world of things’ is being transformed into a world of ‘growth’. This holds hope of a dynamic world in which everybody is unique and the same time interconnected with everything else ‘by way of chaos’.
The Principle of Conversion
But let us return to the Tomas Mandala Music.
Here are two examples of ‘chaotic’ processes which can be heard by everyone: the dropping of rain and the sound of burning wood in the stove. Both have an effect which is relaxing, soothing, or exciting, because they reflect perpetual change or growth which is inherent in them.
Simple simulations of these processes are represented by wind harps or freely dangling bells which convert the flow of the air into sound. The music of the Tomas Laboratory is also produced according to this principle of conversion, only here as in the case of fractal pictures- the data is computerized.
As today we can more clearly understand chaos, it is possible to convert data into sounds better than any bells can. The sequences of sound are no longer that chaotic and the very complex interrelations can be made audible and visual. And it is also possible to explore an infinite variety of processes, including those that do not stem from this world. Is this the beginning of the ‘Glasperlenspiel’ as described by Hermann Hesse?
The term ‘Tamas’ is derived from the name of the laboratory/theatre where the music originated. Here it was used in experimental theatre and in processes leading to an expansion of consciousness. The music is called Mandala because the sounds can be simultaneously graphically illustrated on a computer screen: Colored fractal mandalas in an infinite variety of forms arise.
Specific mathematical systems on measuring data or physical research results underlay this kind of music. They are used to compute series of figures, these in turn are converted into musical scores and mostly interpreted in a meditative nature.
Out of this arises pieces ranging from ‘The Wheel’ which turns on its own, a voyage into the waves of breath or the ocean, exotic rhythms of the jungle, to an invitation by the universe. The music is quite harmonious at times, but it can also become apocalyptic. The boundaries of chaos are most sensitive and here nothing can be foreseen. The data must be simply computed item by item, and even after the last item has been computed, we do not know how the things are going to continue.
To be continued…
Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.