A suite of music influenced by machines we use to dance and dream.
The dreamachine (or dream machine) is a stroboscopic flicker device that produces visual stimuli. Artist Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs’s “systems adviser” Ian Sommerville created the dreamachine after reading William Grey Walter’s book, The Living Brain. A dreamachine is “viewed” with the eyes closed: the pulsating light stimulates the optical nerve and alters the brain’s electrical oscillations. The user experiences increasingly bright, complex patterns of colour behind their closed eyelids. The patterns become shapes and symbols, swirling around, until the user feels surrounded by colours. It is claimed that using a dreamachine allows one to enter a hypnagogic state. This experience may sometimes be quite intense, but to escape from it, one needs only to open one’s eyes. A dreamachine may be dangerous for people with photosensitive epilepsy or other nervous disorders. It is thought that one out of 10,000 adults will experience a seizure while viewing the device; about twice as many children will have a similar ill effect. A mind machine (aka brain machine, in some countries called apsychowalkman) uses pulsing rhythmic sound and/or flashing light to alter the brainwave frequency of the user. Mind machines are said to induce deep states of relaxation, concentration, and in some cases altered states of consciousness that have been compared to those obtained from meditation and shamanic exploration. The process applied by these machines is also known as brainwave synchronisation or entrainment. Mind machines work by creating a flickering ganzfeld. Since a flickering ganzfeld produces different effects from a static one, mind machines can often also produce a static ganzfeld. A mind machine is similar to a dreamachine in that both produce a flickering ganzfeld. The difference is that a dreamachine can be used by several people at once, but generally has less technical features than a mind machine.