The final session completed successfully with all the musicians agreeing that the results are fascinating and musically powerful. To summarise the process, there are three steps:
Four remotely located musicians (in Sweden, Sri Lanka/London, Brighton and Leicester) create or record sounds that are meaningful to them. Wearing Emotiv Insight EEG brain readers, they then categorise the sounds based on six performance metrics: engagement, excitement, focus, interest, relaxation, stress. These categorised sounds are then navigated by an app programmed in Python by Craig Vear, which triggers sounds every ten seconds based on the response of one of the brains to the heard sounds. This creates worlds of sound that represent or express the neurological presence of each musician.
The process of creating syzygies begins. A syzygy is an alignment or correspondence of different entities. In Psychology, it represents the communication of conscious and unconscious minds. In Astronomy, it refers to events such as an eclipse. By merging the categorised sounds of two, then three, then all four, participating musicians, syzygies emerge when the brainwave reader selects sounds files. These may be heard on the Listen page The alingments occur as the result of an unconscious process, yet the sounding results reveal the correspondences, connections and differences between the four musicians.
Since one of the musicians, Elisabeth Wiklander, is a world-class cellist, some of the others (who are all composers), create some notations for her to perform. Simon Allen makes beautiful colour images, with suggestive instructions and graphical elements. Andrew Hugill creates more conventionally notated music, featuring some extended techniques. These cello elements are recorded by Elisabeth and then added to the quartet syzygies, creating a richer musical texture. At this stage, the brainwave readers are not used for this element. That is being saved up for a live performance.
This has resulted in the album and website, which are now available at the Digital Syzygies website.