Hypnagogic States - An Exploration using

Surround Sound Composition for 28 Speakers

This thesis project attempts to examine the relationship between a hypnagogic state of mind and synthetic spatialized sounds. In particular, it is an investigation into how the process of using modular synthesis can connect to a hypnagogic state by experiencing the developed work diffused in the immersive and spatialized environment of SpADE (Spatialization and Auditory Display Environment).


Much creativity and inspiration can be drawn from the creative mind in the hypnagogic state and bringing an awareness to this state of mind is the core intention of the work. The compositional works develop from being recorded in the author's studio, initially, to taking on a new role and existing in a new space at the diffusion stage. It is the existence of this virtual space that presents us with a new platform for the work to exist within and provides an attempted connection to induce a hypnagogic state.


The compositions are concerned with brain waves present in these states, their frequencies and how they can be artistically represented and experienced through low frequency oscillations. Each composition applies different techniques to connect with, and artistically resemble these brain waves in some way. The analog oscillators are tuned to the frequency of these brain waves present while the random/chance processes relate to the randomness of hypnagogic imagery and the hallucinatory experience. The attention and intention of the work then manifests in how it is perceived as a whole. The varying and evolving sonic elements create an equivocal and somewhat obscure aesthetic palate, resulting in an impressionable oneiric milieu or a highly suggestible dreamlike soundscape or mindscape. Ultimately, an immersive and spatialized environment can bring about an exciting and new way of engaging with the work, and in turn exploring one's own consciousness.