The Wire


Listen to Jake Meginsky Seven Psychotropic Sinewave Palindromes

March 2016

Stream Jake Meginsky's new album released by NNA Tapes

Warning: listening to Jake Meginsky’s new album may cause anyone within earshot to experience auditory illusions. “I am interested in the perception altering qualities of music,” admits the Northampton, Massachusetts percussionist and electronics producer. Called Seven Psychotropic Sinewave Palindromes, the album was constructed through the manipulation of sine waves, square waves, white noise and an 808 kick drum. “I love the physical quality of the 808,” he adds. “It always creates a gravitational pull in the mix. With slight changes in pitch and decay, it can sound like a mammoth, subharmonic bass that hits you in the low stomach, a hard thumping kick that hits you in the chest, or a sharp chirp that makes your head tingle.”

The music is built around several unsynchronised palindromic rhythmic cycles. “The tempo is almost never totally stable.” Meginsky elaborates, “The patterns in this piece spin in and out of phase, and an additional layer of rhythm and clustered melody emerge as a result of interference beating tones and binaural phenomena. The listener may experience auditory illusions and phantom patterns as the brain attempts to process two close oscillating pitches split between the left and right ear.

“I am inspired by film makers like Stan Brakhage, who in the 1960s experimented with film in a multitude of ways, in an effort to give the viewer a new set of eyes,” he continues. “I like the idea that a person might be one way before he/she listens to a piece of music, and after, the person is different. Perhaps their vision will be different, or maybe they will hear things differently. Body sensations may feel different. Awareness may be heightened. I try to amplify this engagement with sensorial experience when I create my music.”

Meginski is also known as Vapor Gourds. His other activities include playing in Slaughterhouse Percussion with John Truscinski and F/I/P with guitarist Bill Nace.

Seven Psychotropic Sinewave Palindromes is released by NNA Tapes on 18 March.

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