Welcome To The Mysterium

We live in a multi-verse of swarming microworlds — movements of light, movements of sound, pulsing,  spinning — from the tremendum of the Big Bang to the cellular level of our own DNA — our own life print — each part moving through time with a unique rhythm that repeats and repeats and repeats.

Look around.  Feel it, see it, hear it!  Wrap all your senses around this primal fact.  Become part of it.  We move and pulse and spin at rates we cannot see or hear but they are us.  The many semi-autonomous realities and rhythm worlds moving in tandem and synch that make life flow; the many forces working together or apart to bring us good life or bad; the many universes moving as one — that’s what you hear in Superorganism.  All those forces represented by music.

Music is invisible.  Music is mysterious.  It is an extension of the ominous and captivating cosmos.  I have always believed that the beginning of music — of sound itself — was the rhythmic event that brought the universe into being 13.8 billion years ago.  Computer technology enables us to translate these light waves into soundwaves.  I have collected this cosmic data, with the help of scientists, to create a work that connects us to these macro cosmic worlds, and the miniature universes that pulse with life in us  — stem cells, DNA, heart, brain — to create a new sonic language we can dance to!

The mystery of music and the effect it has on us is part of the Mysterium Tremendum, which means “overwhelming mystery.”  Mysterium Tremendum refers to the power in the cosmos that both fascinates and terrifies, that gives life and  takes life.  As a species we have always looked to the sacred dimensions to explain these mysteries.  We have invented thousands of ways to seek this truth.  Music is one of the tools we’ve perfected.  We use sound to explain, question, comprehend and celebrate these invisible forces.  There is no culture or people on earth who do not have a sound — a music — that represents their life force.

We make music because we are human — but also, we have become human because we learned how to make music.

Without cutting edge science the sonic worlds of the universe would not be able to be translated into sound. From brain waves, to heart rhythms, stem cells, to our DNA, we draw inspiration for this music.


What Sonifications Where Used On Superorganism?

Track 1 Falling Stars  

Track 2 The Sermon

Track 3 Chabadas

Data from the winner of the winner of Fleet Race 7, held on 10/7/12. The data includes the wind direction and speed during the race, as well as the craft's latitude, longitude, heading, pitch (how far up or down its front point is), heel (tilt to the side), and speed. A windy sound, created from filtered noise, renders the wind's activity, with speed reflected as pitch, and direction reflected as pan position. The data on the vessel is a rendered as a combination of noise and a sound rich in harmonics. The sound's timbre, tremolo rate, pitch, and pan position reflect the data of the craft during the race.

Track 4 Don't Let Your God Down

Track 5 I Want It Back 

  • EEG signals recorded from Mickey’s brain Gazzaley Lab UCSF
  • Human DNA base pairs (7SL RNA sequence) 

  • Heart Rhythms 

The dataset consists of numbers that represents the time intervals between successive heartbeats, measured over a six-hour period. The intervals themselves, as well as some of their statistical characteristics (running mean of five values, running mean of 15 values, number of larger time intervals, running standard deviation of 300 values), are mapped to a mini-ensemble of electronic instruments. Their pitches and pulsing rates reflect the cardiac activity.

Track 6 Aliromba O Saro 

Track 7 Rage On 

Track 8 Mind Your Head 

Track 9 Bully Boy 

Track 10 Ghost Rider 

  • Cosmic Background Radiation  Lawrence Berkeley Labs
  • Neuron and cardiac cell voltage activity Gladstone Institutes

These world class scientists contributed to Superorganism: 

Adam Gazzaley, UCSF Neuroscientist

Deepak Srivastava, Gladstone Institutes

Mark Ballora, Penn State 

FAQ: What is sonification?


To view Lyrics to Superorganism click on the name of a songs above

For more information on the sonification used on Mysterium Tremendum click HERE