Erkki Veltheim Lulls Us Into a Hypnagogic State With His Audiovisual ‘Ganzfeld Experiment’ Album

Stream it in full via Lawrence English's Room40 label

I became interested in experimenting with the hallucinatory effects of stroboscopic light after reading John Geiger's book on Brion Gysin's Dreamachine, Chapel of Extreme Experience. I wanted to create a similar effect with sound, and found that panning white noise at the right speeds could also put one into a kind of hypnagogic state. I started looking into the history of hallucinatory research, and came across parapsychologist Charles Honorton's Ganzfeld experiments in the 1970s, which tried to find proof of extrasensory perception (ESP). These were based on the tendency of our central nervous system to invent patterns in random, uniform sensory data; hearing voices in white noise or seeing images in visual static, for instance.

My work borrows elements of these experiments and Gysin's Dreamachine to explore synesthetic hallucinations — the electric violin signal gradually manipulating and transforming static noise in both the audio and visual domains. I’m always trying to find ways in which sound can be used to alter our sense of time and place in order to enter different realms of experience: the mystical, the magical, the shamanistic. In Ganzfeld Experiment, I’m especially searching for a kind of hypnotic ecstatic experience, where the repetitive flicker and slowly morphing sounds and images transport us outside our normal perception and free us from the prison of rational consciousness....
'Ganzfeld Experiment' is now available through Lawrence English's Room40 imprint. Check out some of Erkki Veltheim's other mind-expanding sessions below, along with the orchestral arrangements the Australian composer lent to the award-winning posthumous LP of indigenous singer-songwriter Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.