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In search of the new sound: Making music with your brain

Artists are always looking for that new sound. You know, the one that can change a generation? Well, there hasn’t been too much movement on that front in recent years, but technology is always attempting to solve the world’s dilemmas.

Enter, electroencephalography, or EEG. It may not be able to produce a new sound so to speak, but it is giving artists the ability to use an instrument never truly utilised before – the brain.

EEG basically measures brainwaves, and is usually used to study and diagnose epilepsy, sleep disorders and brain death. At first it was adopted for companies such as Necomimi to give cat lovers the ability to act like their favourite furry friend.

Yet now, companies such as Emotiv and NeuroSky are applying the technology in order to create brainwave-measuring head ware that allows people to turn their thoughts into music. The devices take the user’s electrical impulse and amplifies the sound and intensity.

EEG is now a legitimate medium in music, and a tool for translating creative ideas into music in their purest form. It has also been used to help disabled people compose and perform music at Drake Music Scotland.

Here are three videos of artists using EEG head ware to create tunes, some of which is actually pretty damn decent.

Lisa Park’s Eunoia, which means “beautiful thought” in Greek, was created with the use of a NeuroSky EED headset. The dishes of water surrounding Park also vibrate to the tune of her brain.

Masaki Batoh’s composition is created with his won instrument, the Brain Pulse Music Machine. It incorporates the use of a headset, a motherboard and some super cool goggles. His brainwaves are translated into radio waves, which in turn are turned into sound.

Batoh’s latest LP featured two songs using the instrument.

Mats Sivertsen created an interactive art installation called subConch, where users sat in front of sea snail-shaped speakers. A women’s voice asked them to relax and think of something they desired. Attached to an EEG headset, their thoughts were then transferred into music.

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