Robert Kroos is a Rotterdam-based musician, sounddesigner, field recordist and DJ, exploring sounds and music in all its manifestations. He started with house and techno in the 90’s but soon broadened his view to more experimental music and artforms.
His ‘noise’ works gained quite some wordwide respect – and though this is not exactly the soundscapes we are referring to here there is an interesting relation between noise and ambient.
“Noise and ambient can be opposites but they are both within the same musical spectrum. I am interested in making music sound beautiful and pleasant but I am equally challenged in making music sound gloomy and dark. I like working on a concentrated micro level, but also like losing myself completely, just surrendering to raw energy”.
One specific area of Kroos’ ambient output concerns brainwave-soundscapes. Generously, he offers a striking (29 minute) example of his Brainwave Set as a free (+ lossless) download exclusively on Ambientblog!
Brainwave-soundscapes have always fascinated me, partly because I never understood how they might work yet often find them strikingly beautiful to listen to.
Here’s some short (and definitely incomplete) background info provided by Robert himself:
“Your brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The culmination of millions of neurons sending signals through the brain is commonly called a brainwave pattern.
With the discovery of brainwaves came the discovery that electrical activity in the brain will change depending on what a person is doing. For instance, the brainwaves of a sleeping person are vastly different from the brainwaves of someone wide awake.
Most of the brainwave frequencies between wide awake and deep asleep are below 20hz which is below human hearing capacity. With special techniques, you can embed these inaudible frequencies in an audible tone. These tones can then be used in a musical way as ‘brainwave-soundscape’.”
Assuming that every person is unique, the personal brainwaves probably are somewhat different for every single person. Why then would ‘brainwave music’ have the same effect on everybody? What effects can a user expect when listening to ‘brainwave’ music?
“When you listen to the music your brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the brainwave frequencies that are embedded in the music. Simply put I can take your brainwave patterns up or down. So our brainwave patterns could initially be different but we are both taken to the same state.
In this performance, I take the listener down to the very lowest (Delta) frequencies that usually can only be reached in a deep sleep state.
Don’t expect too much and enjoy a half-hour music-nap time.”
Maybe you think we’re entering ‘new age’ territory here, but Kroos has a distinct meaning about that:
“Most music with brainwaves available is with new-agey keyboards and flutes that make my skin crawl. I, first of all, want to make something musically interesting. If the brainwaves have an effect on you it is an added bonus. If not, I hope the music itself is still rewarding and relaxing to listen to…”(
So here’s my advice: sit back, relax, and simply let Robert Kroos‘ mindful BrainwaveSet wash all over you. And if you like what you hear and want to hear it again, download the FREE lossless Ambientblog Exclusive version from Ambientblog’s Bandcamp page
(As a sidenote, not really related to Robert Kroos‘ piece: the 1977 (!) Pythagoron release claimed it could “get you high with sound”. Check this yourself in this archived edition of the Folio radio show from 2008).