Quite a few people have asked why we all become so interested in infrasound (sub bass). My own interest in infrasound arose quite by chance. I’m always looking for new ways to use sound in live performances. And in 2002, I wanted to inject something into an electroacoustic concert that would make it an unmissable event.
At the time, I was collaborating with the pianist Evgenia Chudinovich (aka Genia). We agreed it would be interesting to devise a genuine, scientific experiment, one that could be woven into a concert of music for electronics and piano. I also fancied writing some original music that could be used as part of a scientific experiment.
I originally thought about experimenting with ultrasound. That’s extremely high-pitched sound (above 20kHz in frequency). I’d read about people buying ultrasonic tweeters and thought it might be fun to debunk some ideas about ultrasonic hifi systems. To start with, I really just considered infrasound as a footnote – I was amused to see the many conspiracy theorists’ websites peddling dubious stories of infrasonic beam weapons. I was aware of the existence of 32-foot organ pipes, which themselves generate infrasound. But when I stumbled on Vic Tandy’s claims about infrasound and supposed hauntings, I realised infrasound was a juicy topic that deserved closer scrutinty.
In particular: I thought it would be tempting to ask if there is any connection between infrasound in cathedrals and in spooky places. Is infrasound in a sacred organ recital moving you, just like infrasound at Tandy’s reputedly haunted sites? This was the question that Infrasonic project set out to answer. It would do so by offering the audience a close encounter with music laced with infrasound. This highly unusual musical experience would be the basis of a compelling event.