Brainwave-controlled music latest sound to emanate from Studio Bell
CALGARY -- A Calgary performer accustomed to singing while playing piano is creating new music by recording sounds controlled by her brainwaves.
Recording artist and neuroscientist Angie C has captured the experimental sounds while working with TONTO, a synthesizer located at the National Music Centre (NMC) at Studio Bell this weekend.
“(We are) getting closer and closer to really good brainwave controlled music which would be great if in 10 years time we could think a sound into existence and remove that middle barrier,” she said Friday while wearing the emotive headset.
Data from that headset analyzed her emotions, such as excitement and interest, and the software developed by Mitchell Claxton then controlled the sounds amplified by the synthesizer.
“It’s exciting to break new ground,” said Claxton. “Having it be music and tech related is very fulfilling.”
Some funding for the experiment was provided by the Canada Council for the Arts, allowing the group to use studio space at the NMC, and the one-of-a kind TONTO synthesizer.
“It’s a very weird (and special) thing to be immersed in sound in an instrument that you also have to walk into to immerse yourself in,” said Jason TAWKIN, the studio electronics engineer for the NMC.
TONTO was used in the late 1960s to record an album by Stevie Wonder, among others.
The analog synthesizer is massive and looks like nine curved ATMs clustered together, with wires, dials, and blinking lights.
Some of the brain-controlled sounds will be added to a track Angie C has already worked on, but her collaborators will also create a unique work based on whatever sounds are created over the two day recording session.
“It will be to be a combination of all kinds of crazy stuff and we aren’t sure what that’s going to look like that we are just recording everything and then we will take it back and crate-dig,” said Trey Mills, the music engineer for the project.
“As an artist it’s always really important to try and find something unique that really sets you apart and I think having this brainwave controlled music on my album is such a conversation piece.”
Angie C will release a full EP album in the spring.