After a long decade dedicated to explore the conceptual and experiential sides of sound as a vehicle for introspection, we finally embarked in the most exciting project we´ve envisioned so far: the world´s first sonoceutical lab.

>> Sound as a vehicle for introspection

Throughout history, all around the world, sound has been used as a vehicle for introspection, spiritual growth, and the exploration of consciousness.

While the fundamental question of how an allegedly objective brain can align various sensory inputs in time and produce a continuous subjective experience remains a mystery to Western science, and even though their anecdotal reports might not suffice for us to agree on a common map, many artists, thinkers, seekers, yogis, mystics, meditators and psychonauts have for long reported and understood the importance of a knowable, immaterial, yet very real universe that can be explored by turning our attention inwards.

>> The molecular structure of sound energy

Sound needs matter to propagate and ears to exist (a tree falling in an empty forest would create air disturbances but would not make any sound), so we can think of it as having various spectral and temporal signatures akin to molecular structures, with designs and geometries that can be visualised by modelling sound fields (how air particles compress and expand as they reach our ears), or through the fascinating resonant shapes made visible thanks to cymatics. The timing and frequency of those oscillations can range from the simplicity of pure tones to the complexity of the most intricate granular synthesis pieces, and either display high levels of order as in the case of harmonious sounds, or as little as in the seemingly chaotic colours of noise.

There is a particular branch of applied psychoacoustics called auditory driving—aka sound wave therapy, auditory beat stimulation or sound-induced brainwave entrainment. The study of these special sound molecules—once the sole province of acoustic engineers and experimental physiologists—is coming under deeper examination by transformative technology enthusiasts, peak performance athletes, neuroscientists and researchers alike because of its noninvasive potential to induce meditative states and positively shift mood, interoceptive awareness and cognitive function.

This psychoactive phenomenon, exploited both by ancient rituals (archaeoacoustic sites, drum beating or chanting) and modern tech (binaural and monaural beat stimulation), has been said to synchronise listeners’ heartbeats, breathing patterns and/or brainwaves to external auditory signals whose unique molecular arrangements and promising properties need further investigation.

Interestingly, analysis of biological signals such as those taken from a beating heart or from neurons firing have revealed a surprising correlation between time series complexity and health. A striking feature of such healthy waveforms is non-stationarity, or the variation of spectral content as a function of time: its oscillations are complex, not equally spaced in time and not of constant shape. Instead, poor variability such as that found in periodic or random signals, may indicate compromised physiology or function.

If we take a close look at any sound event, from the simplest sine waves—the atoms of sound—with single peaks in the power spectrum and uncomplicated spectral structures, to the noisiest molecules imaginable with near to infinite peaks, analysis of the spectro-temporal structure of sound energy fields can reveal insights into the therapeutic potential of tonality, roughness and timing, helping us understand how the highly patterned periodic or harmonic molecules differ from the noisy ones in terms of psychoacoustic potential and impact.

>> The heart is not a metronome