Conversations with Andrzej Slawinski:
Creator and Developer of AudioStrobe Technology
(From e-Interview with Michael Landgraf in AVS Journal, Spring 2002)
The Way to Self-Recognition
But gradually, after one has freed oneself from all expectations as to human-made music, a kind of intuition unfolds itself, a premonition as to how certain structures are going to behave. Here the meaning of the word ‘Tamas’ which has been derived from Sanskrit comes into play: The recognition of things in its own inherent dynamics and the turning back of the mind which has been searching in the outer world on its own consciousness.
The Tamas Laboratory tapes and CDs which are available at the present time can be used for meditation, trance dance, deep relaxation, body and breath work, changed states of consciousness; the music can carry us along over a long period of time, the mind not being distracted by emotionally charged structures.
The music encourages us to accept and to trust the psychic processes taking place within ourselves. Thus we can enter into very new and unknown dimensions of the self. Probably this is only the beginning of this kind of music which tries to build up a bridge between art and science…
At this time my interests shifted very much from theater to therapy forms and meditation. I studied breath therapy and group leading for two years. One of the key events was again my visit to the United States, where I attended a week long seminar in Hemi-Sync at Monroe’s Institute of Applied Sciences. Hemi-Sync is acoustic method of entraining the brain to specific states of consciousness. After another visit to the Institute I applied for a Professional Member status and was using this technology in my compositions. I released several tapes for concentration, relaxation, meditation and so on. I was spending most of my work time on creation of new formulas and arranging their output to new musical structures. It was fascinating work and the results were above my expectations.
I was a researcher and an artist at the same time. Soon I found enough audience for this kind of music and I could enlarge my studio with new equipment and employ two people to keep the label working. Still fascinated of Castaneda’s stories and encouraged by a German therapist I attended several workshops where very extreme methods were used. This gave me in the first run new insights to my artistic work. I met Dr. Richard Yensen who was doing formal research in Baltimore. Out of his experience he worked out drug free methods for achievement of psychedelic experiences by audio visual stimulation and breath techniques. I was very much impressed by his slide shows using dissolve techniques with up to eight slide projectors. Inspired by his work I extended my studio with up to six projectors and my electronic engineer designed a control unit for controlling them directly from computer. This way I was able to synchronize the show with the music. One of the first ‘multi-media’, as it was called at this time, was ‘Living Structures’; a collage of slides from all over the world, dealing with the beauty of nature, religions, urbane poverty and man’s destruction. I firmly believe that art can change the world.
This was time of radio and TV interviews. Without any of my own effort I was signed to an artist contract to IC/Digit Music, a CD label working together with DA Music. In 1990 my first CD ‘Brain-Machine’ was released. At the same time my label was selling thousands of copies of the tapes. From time to time I was doing joint projects with other musicians. As a Hemi-Sync specialist in Europe I received many invitations to perform seminars. I built a small biofeedback lab in my studio with EEG devices and mind machines.
But the experiences with the ‘extreme forms’ of self experience became disastrous. I believe now that it was a blind alley, spaced out, far away from the ground. It culminated in the fact that my wife went away with her therapist, who was my teacher at the same time. It took me years to recover from that shock. Here I want to thank Richard Yensen and his wife Donna for their support in these hard times.
Nevertheless, the bad experience had its positive aspects. I had to leave the whole ‘therapeutic’ and new age community not bearing any more their blind and idealistic beliefs. I have withdrawn into seclusion and was not able and not willing to give any workshops. But even in the time of personal crisis I was continuing my artistic work. As an expression of this time I realized a project called ‘Requiem’. My father brought me a floppy disk with data containing a measurement of light emitted by a culture of dying yeast cells. After some mathematical processing I sent the midi data to my synthesizers and recorded the whole session. Weeks later I hired an academic choir from Poland and in one week of improvisations I recorded enough material for a mix-down. It was one of my dark and profound compositions.
Combined with a visual composition of 6 slide projectors and quadraphonic technology it was performed many times. The highlights of this performance was an invitation to Audio Art International Festival in Krakow and to a ‘Genetic Forum’ organized by German State Radio. Living on the bridge between art and science After my withdrawal from the New Age scene, at least I pretended it, although I was mentioned in one of the academic handbooks about experimental New Age music, I discovered that I am in nobody’s land. For ‘academic’ art I was ‘commercial’, for the New Age scene too experimental and scientific. And for the scientific community I was just a greasy artist. Except for some people, who themselves were not willing to accept one life attitude, understanding the world in much complex terms. One of these people was Professor Popp. As my public and my sales diminished I asked him for a job in his lab again and I was glad to hear about a very interesting research project. Some kind of algae was emitting light flashes in intervals.
Two photo- multipliers were registering activity of two algae cultures. The experimental arrangement allowed to switch the sight contact between the cultures on and off. My task was to find by means of mathematical transform (FFT+Correlation) of the data to tunes. It was a pity to terminate the project because of financial problems, after almost one year of the hard programming and experimenting. Once a week I was spending hours with headphones on in the lab, listening to the algae, programming. In the breaks I was talking to scientists from all over the world. Working in this environment recalled my interest for scientific work and love for mathematics.
I refreshed and expanded my knowledge of programming and mathematics by a correspondence degree course in informatics. I changed to SAE in Zurich to learn more about multimedia, now in the interactive meaning of this term. But before that I will return to the beginning of the nineties to catch up with my artistic and commercial projects.
To be continued…
Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher (2012) CA.