We all know the feeling of being immersed into a melody, resonating with rhythms and moving accordingly to a tempo, as if we are intrinsically guided by it. We develop distinct preferences and likes when it comes to musical genres, therefore are able to easily create bonds with people, who identify with similar tastes or present us with new enticing soundscapes. Music is as much an emotional, as it is a physical experience and its complexity operates way beyond the entertainment or aesthetic purposes, namely healing. In this article, I talk to three outstanding producers/DJs who have expanded their music careers into an integrated sound practice, by exploring and using the power of healing frequencies – Alyssa Auvinen Barrera aka LDY OSC, Colin Tobelem aka Ground Tactics and Luca Mortellaro aka Lucy. They share insights from the subtle world of sound and their preferred tools like synths, tuning forks or gong, to channel its powerful essence. In the context of our radical new world order, I’d like to introduce you to some of the science behind ‘’good vibes’’and how vital it is to be tuned into your own divine rhythms, in order to actually change society as we know it. The confinement imposed on us recently, followed by social movements, has finally led to a shift in changemakers’ (yours and mine) desire to seek holistic well-being rather than one-off wellness procedures and critically look at work ethics, diversity, purchasing habits and understandings of repression over certain communities and knowledge systems. This also includes rethinking the exhausting conditions of the music industry and minimising its negative effects on artists and audience, by incorporating alternative healing into our lives. With this article I aim to make sound healing more accessible and highlight the positive effects it has on our physical and mental bodies, most importantly – reconciling the dissonance within us and with others. Below you will discover methods of experiencing the magic of frequencies individually or in a group and the artists’ authentic approaches to the practice.
So far in 2020, we’ve been asked to take risks and operate in complete uncertainty more than ever before. We’ve been led to act upon circumstances by surrendering into the unknown, make rational decisions based on intuition rather than foreseeable outcomes and conversate with our deep, unconditional trust, only in which we are able to strike onto our purposeful paths. We were shaken to the core, only to ultimately be attuned to the fine acoustics of our true being and the enigmatic rhythms of life. We are finally alert to the vitality of every moment, resonating with the waves as they come, deepening our connection with oneself and others. Simultaneously we are called upon to play with reality as if we are at a rave, where our best traits are the ability to be present, freely dance to the music, being together, being in a flow with each other. We need to understand that we are not only the listeners or creators of music. We are music.
Our bodies are a delicate framework of melodies, rhythms, tempos, brainwaves and heartbeats. Our breath, all the fluids in our cells, the tissues in our muscles, every molecule in our organs, vibrate continuously. Energy is a naturally vibrating substance, therefore, what holds our bodies together is purely sound. Every movement produces sound and those emerging soundwaves help regulate more than half of the biological processes in our bodies. When the cells are healthy and optimally functioning, the organism’s systems are entrained, i.e. in rhythm with each other. Diseased cells, on the other hand, have adverse, disharmonious vibrations. This is usually caused by external energies (vibrations), so we need to be aware of what we actually consume, even the intangible stuff like city noise, social media content generated to cause negative emotions and your own mind’s chatter.
As conscious beings, we go through mastering different levels of the realms such as: earth – material and survival realm; water – process and creativity; fire – mastering power and will; air – integrating, communicating and connection; and consequently, we arrive at the fifth element – sound.
Sound, and inherently, our voice, is the aspect of cutting through and flowing, moving towards what we are aligned to and adhering to our own sense of individual purpose. Your voice and vibration modifies the ripple effects we all live in and creates an agenda of authenticity, which later on resonates with a new vision, with a new way of perceiving experiences. This brings us to the realisation of having the power to change the one, which we are a part of, simply by purposefully being, by creating & voicing something original and individually authentic.
A Producer/DJ using her voice as a medicine alongside her uniquely created sound meditations is LDY OSC. She is mostly recognised as a producer (Kontra Musik, The Bunker NY), a DJ/Live act and a Sound Engineer, with a distinct passion for analog gear. Parallel to this she’s developing a Yogic and Barre practice, as well as workshops on oscillators and frequency-based meditations. She elaborates on the latter projects and her experiments with sound, as they naturally overtook recently.
Your latest recording Body Resonate Tape Vol. 1 (cassette on Industrial Coast and digitally, donation-based) was planned as a live performance for a new event series in Vienna. This meditation focuses on the healing of the lungs, throat and sinus areas, using many different instruments, including a Mexican drum made by a Temazcalero and Tibetan bowls. What other gear and frequencies are you utilising for this and how do they work? Are you planning to do the next volume on different parts of the body and what are the holistic benefits from the sound treatments you present?
For recordings I do everything in Logic and I’m also exploring Bitwig. Logic has a tuning preference where you can set the concert/reference pitch to anything you’d like. Rather than 440 Hz I prefer to make mine at 437 Hz or 432 Hz, the latter being more popular for being a number that is seen more in nature’s frequencies. 437 Hz is a numerology preference, if there is a number that resonates with you more then choose that one! Basically I prefer to select the frequencies that resonate with me. I select frequencies let’s say 128 Hz, 256 Hz, 512 Hz… and use those to tone the energy centers with specific techniques for tuning the body. These are frequencies seen in audio recording because of the binary number multiples. Humans behave quite binary to make decisions, yes or no, and then act, so I find these frequencies to be relevant.
When I make music at a different reference pitch than the standard, it is a bit more complicated to tune hardware synths since most are tuned to 440 Hz. Most synths will have a master tune but you need additional finer cent tuning to get it precise. I use sine waves for the meditation music, later modulating them, but I begin with pure tones. Flutes, drums, singing bowls and tuning forks are pure sounding. They do one thing, unlike a synth. I love the simplicity of having acoustic instruments that resonate with the intention for healing. I have been developing the practice of healing with my voice. I think it’s by far the most powerful instrument for healing. The voice contains our soul, its healing properties plus intentions can penetrate into the subconscious and subtle energy anatomies. I put a lot of emphasis on the music for the Guided Meditation Vol.1, since I sometimes struggle doing other guided meditations because I am distracted by the music if it’s too synthetic sounding or like an ambient jingle. Since I work a lot with body movement, my next focus is making Resonate Body Motion, originally a workshop, into a class which people can view from their homes. The class includes heat building exercises, vocal toning, and breath work.
In Malmö, 2018, you initiated the international Synth Babes workshop on the topics of oscillators, sound waves, tuning systems, vocal work and sound therapy. Is this still something you want to develop further and present at festivals or other formats? What was the feedback from participants so far?
The original workshop was more technical where I had photos of circuit boards explaining how oscillators look from the inside and graphs of different kinds of sound waves. Also talked about brain waves, overtones and energy fields. I have presented the original workshop in different ways which adapt to the setting of the venue and event. It can be made more or less technical depending on the concept of the event.
I imagine that having my workshop could be beneficial to many festivals and music events where attendees, artists, and staff could participate. Events such as a weekend festival can be stressful for everyone involved. Artists have to perform, staff has to work long hours, and participants are on a busy schedule. Perhaps having a moment to relax the mind and body would be beneficial for the entire outcome of the event. Shifting to safer, healthier and earth friendly events are some things I hope for when festival season comes back.
From the few events that I have held the most rewarding part is when people open up to me about their experiences and hearing about the benefits in their state of being. This satisfies my desire to help others.
During the lockdown, you did an epic, 10 hour live set with Tin Man, from your home in Vienna, for The Bunker NY livestream on Lot Radio. You also have The Electric-Earthy-Esoteric EP coming out on Squirrels on Film this year. What are you looking forward to, musically, in the near future and where would you like to focus your energy most?
Music will always be in my life whether it’s the main focus or on the side, it’s been crucial to my development. I also really enjoyed making an ambient track for Mysteries of the Deep Vol. 1 VA, and after doing the 9128.live/Mysteries stream mix I also got inspired to do more work in the ambient/experimental realm. My energies are split focused between music, wellness, and electronics. It’s like the doshas (Ayurvedic constitutions of the body: air, fire, earth) – if one gets unbalanced, I need to focus on it a bit more until I feel that all three are working in harmony.
The way our emotions and physical bodies respond to the spectrum of sound is timeless – it is the expression of longing for life even before language existed. The present change is calling us to let go of the genetically encoded fears we carry and lift up to our innate, higher vibrations, opening our ears and hearts to the new music of humanity. We are now able to break free from the trap of momentum and create something original from the aspect of our very own unique individuality, aiding healing on a global level. This is why we must attune to the natural frequencies of harmony, to let go of the shame and fear encoded in our DNA.. An analogy of the structure of DNA can be found in music, in the form of triplets. In this trinity, tone always tries to resolve into a new one, never resting, staying fresh and evolving. Sound enters and moulds our physicality through the connective tissues and through our brain waves.
There are certain frequencies stimulating physical and emotional responses, that our bodies resonate very well with, for example the Solfeggio scale, also known as the “creational scale”: Do 396 Hz – liberating guilt, fear and grief; Re 417 Hz – resolving struggle and facilitating change; Mi 528 Hz – transformation and miracles, DNA repair, used by molecular biologists to repair genetics; Fa 639 Hz – connecting, relationships; Sol 741 Hz – awakening intuition, expression, solutions; La 852 Hz – returning to spiritual order. These frequencies are channelled sometimes using Tuning Forks. Sound healing re-tunes our bodies through the work of frequencies on our sympathetic nervous system. The body intuitively tries to match with the new healthy vibration, rises up and releases stagnancy or grief. Sound medicine encourages personal empowerment and is effectively used to balance out our active and receptive energies.
Colin Tobelem aka Ground Tactics gives us insights on his healing treatments with Tuning Forks, energy work, music production and building his community through sharing knowledge on Discord. He is a sound alchemist and music producer, who just released a second EP on the IDM/Leftfield catalog of Midgar Records titled Reality Implant.
Could you share more about your distinct art direction? When did you start incorporating sound healing into your music?
I discovered aleatoric improvisation during my childhood playing the piano which has influenced my relation to music production in general. I found I could open space for mystery and wonder by developing trust towards creative intuitions. I like to prepare the environment for surprises, making space for curious energies to emerge from infinite possibilities. Without being aware of it I was cultivating the unknowing and surrendering. I do not compose healing music intentionally, specific harmonics feel right and the music carries emotional vibrations that can write a story. From the start, the knowledge has been channelling and surrendering to higher selves’ intentions, accepting that I do not know, and so I listened.
Do you agree that group meditation influences the Schumann resonance on Earth? During the confinement, you held collective meditations on your discord community. Was it to maintain an optimal state of energy in our surroundings? Who should join the Ground Tactics channel on Discord?
Group meditations guide us intuitively to enter in tune with the Schumann resonance as we wilfully direct our attention to fields of collective consciousness. If a large group meditation would influence the Schumann resonance, possibly, I don’t know. I did organize group meditations on the Discord channel, I found social media platforms suitable in this period to share data and wisdom with the intent of inspiring curiosity and empowering culture. I collect on discord shadow work articles, audio samples, unreleased tracks… Join in!
You specialize in sound healing using tuning forks. Please elaborate on the course of a session and how can we benefit from these sound treatments? How has your technique developed and which frequencies do you work with?
Yes, I offer individual sound guided meditations in the comfort of people’s homes. The audience, or witness (one person or a couple) is included in the art as a divinity, being honored with sound. Specific frequencies (Sacred geometry) are propelled inside the body, then coloring the aura, replacing low vibrations from past experiences with higher frequencies. The effects created by these sound waves are experienced as an effective physical and emotional relief, and a subconscious education.
Our nervous system and immune system can be played with sound alchemy, sonic transmutation, “the state of the art” transcends, entrains, and bring balance. The benefits are multiple: well-being, awakening to life purpose, self-empowerment, inspiration, light codes embodiment.
Our subconscious mind learns from this metabolic language made of resonating numbers which opens our perception to a greater picture. The sessions I compose in three steps,
– Meeting, talking about purpose, and setting intentions.
– Chakra cleansing is a full body resonance with weighted tuning forks propelling divine numbers as the Aum frequency (136,10Hz) or Flower of life (128Hz) also known from the Pythagorean tuning system, or 125,28Hz (Schumann)126,22Hz (Sun Frequency).
– Harmonizing and coloring the aura with frequencies such as 396 Hz, 528 Hz, 999 Hz…
Dream conducting and dream culture is part of further development for people I work with, directing the intention of empowering rooted inspirations.
Transmuting deep states by merging light with the darkness in compassion and unconditional love.
What is your vision on the future of music and its relation to our DNA?
The future of music is unpredictable with the rise of artificial intelligence, everything could happen. Although I wish to continue to invest time and energy in reviving this ancient form of musical performance which connects us to our nature and empowers collective consciousness. Inspiring a peaceful celebration of human virtues. For more information regarding the effect of music on our DNA I could recommend researching the works of John Beaulieu, Nassim Haramein, and Dr Joe Dispenza.
The final, and probably my favourite, way of immersing into sound is through gong meditation, also called gong bath. It is usually combined with breathing exercises, chants, mantras, meditations and nourishes the body with deep, intense streams of sacred sound. It is designed to start playing at the alpha states of brain waves, rising up to superior stages of the mind – the theta waves, where mystical experiences arise and we play with our still unconsciousness. The stimuli of the gong sound also brings up many visions and messages from ancestors, it works as a psychoacoustic gate. Sometimes, it allows full relaxation and surrender into a safe, loving space – it is ok, if you fall asleep. Using gong is very therapeutic as it enables our awareness to operate in a non-judgemental mode, grounds us in the present moment and reliefs deep emotional blockages. Emotions are simply the manifestation of chemicals and biological processes received by neuropeptides, which influence how we respond to the external world, and form our beliefs, expectations and moods. Our entire nervous system is conditioned from the earliest age to absorb therapeutic frequencies. Strong vibrational sound helps the body cells purify those chemicals and remove toxins. Which is also why you should drink plenty of water after a sound treatment.
We are composed of energies, vibrating across physical, mental, ethereal levels, sourcing and metabolising energy through our luminous organs – the chakras. This is how we are also connected with Earth, with our higher selves, the universal pulse and the collective consciousness.
Being mindful of breath and sound requires a balanced state of attentiveness and relaxation. According to the Vedic creation story, sound waves arise from the ocean of pure beingness, from the motion that changes reality. The word – prana, frequency, motion – is the dance of positive and negative, of masculine and feminine energy, arising to create the world from sound patterns and sacred geometry. All we perceive as solid is actually a wave, it is the sound in a visible form. Even still matter and forms are created by moving vibrations. Eastern yogic cultures talk about consciousness in many physical and subtle forms and have placed a huge focus on the work of breath as a connector with the divine aspect of life.
Lucy, Stroboscopic Artefacts founder, a sonic adventurer and one half of Lotus Eater, shares a personal realisation on the power of healing frequencies, breath work and viewing the energetic management system of the body, from a greater perspective, while still being highly involved in the demanding music scene. Lucy’s passion for creative evolution continues to attract new supporters.
As a DJ and Producer, you are recognised in the scene for reconciling your vision on music with elements from biology, technology and the esoterics. Could you explain how your journey with healing sounds started and did it have an influence on your musical output?
My path in healing as you call it, started seriously, probably 5-6 years ago, when my music career and touring schedule was intensely ongoing, and it came almost as a safety pin. Things were getting quite overwhelming, in terms of how my life was taking shape due to the intense touring, which was upsetting my normal biorhythm. I started feeling really weird, irrational, as if a kind of conditioning was forming. I started feeling anxious and this translated into getting panic attacks during apparently unrelated situations, for example at a festival or while playing, even going to the supermarket. In the beginning I was feeling really lost and confused about this. After a while I started putting the dots together and began seeing the body as one entity in many senses, understanding that a lot of things are connected. According to the Western medical way, you have a problem, because you are an addict, whereas that’s not the actual problem. So I started a path of looking at things in a much wider aspect and it started all making sense. When I began practising deep breathing, meditation, yoga and seeking other spiritual knowledge, I was finally able to install some kind of an energy management system. Things became way more doable, I was able to rescale everything and had a shift in perspective. This was the very beginning. Then I started seriously by reading a lot, going to the right workshops, listening to the right words, from the right people. I started not only to practice but also to understand that this practice is so important for me and it doesn’t mean anything if I do not share it. I started giving what I receive and experience a lot from this. I implement a system from teaching practices related to sound healing, pranayama, meditation and deep breathing techniques. I can’t say my sound bath is specifically about one certain technique.
Yes, this knowledge affected my production hugely. I try to divide my output between two different things – I find it very healthy for each of these directions to have space. They did influence each other and they still do, but I am also trying to be careful in maintaining the Sound Bath and the healing work, very much outside of the music business dynamic. I’ve been asked several times for interviews and sessions sponsored by brands but I refused.
The sound healing practice and music production influence each other in a very subtle, private sense, like when I sit in front of my synthesizers. You learn to experience and treat sound in a completely different way, after using the gong in so many sound baths. The gong is an extremely powerful tool, which can be a gate into the unknown. I see it as a door, it’s not an instrument. The gong is a gateway.
Do you have certain intentions when you work with sound? At the guided meditation you held at CTM, the interlude for the gong sound bath consisted of immersing everyone from the audience in their own unique vibration through the power of humming, connecting to the breath and sacred chants. It was a powerful and very moving experience. Do mantras, words, vibrational medicine affect us physically and mentally?
I implement and use a lot of different techniques, some come back very often, so it depends what kind of energy I feel in the room on that specific day and then I set my intentions. It’s a very delicate work. Sometimes you perceive that people’s energy is in a certain direction and other days it is completely different. I never prepare something planned and follow my instincts. I do use and access quite a number of tools that are coming from, strictly speaking, Pranayama, Hatha Yogic practice and the Tantra Yogic practice.
Oh yes, vibrational medicine is affecting us massively, radically. It can be a huge transformational tool for us as humans. It’s a very, very intense and important path – the path of deep breathing and meditation. Sometimes, I also call it meditation but it really is mostly about breath – control your breath, know your breath, know how to direct it and orient it.
Do you agree sound healing practices and breath work should be considered as one of the most accessible and significant methods for elevating our consciousness and well-being in general? Do you have upcoming gong bath sessions?
Yes, I absolutely agree. As you may know this is not something I’ve been very keen on sharing in interviews and try to keep this as a word of mouth. On the 19th of July I am doing a group session at Hasenheide in Berlin, based on donations. The full amount of your donations will be directly wired to the “NAACP – Legal Defense and Educational Fund”, specifically focused on racial justice, equality and change. We also organise a 6-day retreat and intense work with sound in a project farmhouse I started in the south of Italy. It begins on 30th August, bringing more light and clarity to 2020 through the yogic practices. You can find more details here.
You just played at Club Quarantaene on 26 June, the edition specifically supporting black culture, communities and music. Did you feel as strongly connected with the audience as usual?
This was a very delicate edition as they found themselves in a situation where they were not so inclusive in the line up. At the end I did it, but there was a moment of a discussion on dropping artists, in order to include black artists. It was very problematic, in a way it’s right that they oriented everything in that direction, so I really hope we will see nice Club Quarantaenes with more diverse lineups, than just white guys. Regarding the techno community – yes, I feel we are in a very strange moment where nobody knows what will happen. I am keeping my connection with my crowd, although as the Black Lives Matter social movement exploded, I did take a step back from my Social Media. I’ve been quite silent as it’s not the time for me to take space. In this particular setting I am taking a step back. There are much more important matters that need to be taken care of.
I’d like to close this article with an appeal by Toni Morrison:
“If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”