Infrasound - feel the bass.
May 19, 2003 3:56 AM   Subscribe

Infrasound : Elephants use it to communicate, the military have sought to harness its power as a weapon (.pdf). So have The KLF. Now, a group of avant garde musicians invite you to feel the bass. If reports of the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer are to be believed, that could be one hell of a gig.
posted by jack_mo (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It is also believed to be connected to hallucinations and 'spiritual' events.

There's evidence to suggest that a lot of cave paintings appear in places were infrasound waves have their static points (that's not the propername... but I can't think today). Equally a lot of burrial cambers are dug in such a way that the wind passing over the enterance triggers a standing wave in the tunnels, with a focal point in the chamber itself.

Whatever you use it for, Infrasound can play havock with your body. Just look at the XFiles... ;)
posted by twine42 at 4:26 AM on May 19, 2003

The KLF were great. 3am Eternal was my favourites song in Grade 7.
posted by PenDevil at 4:47 AM on May 19, 2003

From KLF link:
Cauty and Choque make a good pair. (mr pretentious meets mr pretentious)

The Swans used to be into this type of thing (the ArseQuake sound system?) petrifying audiences with their unnecessarily powerful PA whilst Michael Gira erformed rolly-pollies on stage until he passed out. They were purportedly attempting to encourage some involuntary bowel movements on the part of the audience.
Not entirely unrelated:
'And Jarboe's vocal was , to me anyway , astounding , moving as she did from a little-victimized-girl cooing ("You're my father,I obey you...") to seductive come-ons , to demented cackles , and finally to her sub-bass Satan chant ("Now Ride!") . Some people thought we harmonized her vocal down an octave on a processor , but nope , it was all real , that's just her in full ultrafeminine splendor... she says she sang in that "style" at the end of the song as an homage to the original and my throttled performance in it...The lyric to I Crawled , by the way , was initially inspired by reading a book called The Mass Psychology Of Fascism , by Willhelm Reich . In it he compares the phenomenon of Hitler to Stalin and vice versa , pointing out (among many more complex issues ) their strong Father image , their obsession with a strong family unit as a microcosm for the State and their hearkening back to a pure idealized past , now corrupted and in need of a good cleansing purge (this is an incredible simplistic synopsis , I know) . What interested me about this was the contemporary fact of Ronald Reagan's recent election , and his eerie usage of the same techniques .'
posted by asok at 5:18 AM on May 19, 2003

twine42: The term you're looking for is 'standing wave'; when a reflected wave constructively interferes with an incoming wave, amplifying both.

The evidence that infrasound (and magnetic field fluctuations) might be linked to haunting events is fascinating. It's too bad that no matter how much experimental evidence along these lines may be produced in the future, the 'true believers' will never be swayed.
posted by Cerebus at 5:58 AM on May 19, 2003

Fascinating... thanks.
(And this, of course, could also explain how elephants and some other animals seem strangely able to detect distant but approaching tremours, thunderstorms etc.)
posted by plep at 7:03 AM on May 19, 2003

For the love of God, won't somebody think of the chickens?
posted by bonehead at 7:37 AM on May 19, 2003

Like elephants, tigers use infrasound to communicate over long distances. We're just learning this now because humans have crappy hearing.
posted by SealWyf at 7:53 AM on May 19, 2003

Cerebus - Thank you. That's been bugging me all day. Not enough to get off my bum and look it up of course, but still... ;)
posted by twine42 at 8:03 AM on May 19, 2003

Just to add to the list of inaudible (to us) fauna: the giraffes are at it as well. The jury's still out on ghosts though...

asok - I've not seen The Swans, but Whitehouse hit me with noise from the opposite end of the frequency range a couple of weeks ago. Not sure if I've recovered.
posted by jack_mo at 8:44 AM on May 19, 2003

jack_mo: dammit, you beat me to the Whitehouse namedrop.

Which track? Torture Chamber? I can't remember if TC used subsonic or infrasonic frequencies to cause what it does. Regardless, even at low volumes I got dizzyingly bad headaches.

This is why Whitehouse rules my school.
posted by sigma7 at 9:05 AM on May 19, 2003

sigma7 - That one makes me queasy too, but I couldn't tell one track from another at the gig to be honest (bar Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel, which always stands out!) although they did seem to be deploying a high frequency equivalent of the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer... the reaction was mixed, to say the least. Also, I have a cd somewhere by a band called Lustmord (?) that I can't listen to as it triggers serious gagging, vomiting even, about halfway through. Nice.
posted by jack_mo at 9:51 AM on May 19, 2003

It is also believed to be connected to hallucinations and 'spiritual' events.

This application of infrasound plays a central role in the first Three Investigators book, The Secret of Terror Castle (1964). In fact, spoiler alert, but... that's the main secret. Shhhhh.
posted by soyjoy at 10:38 AM on May 19, 2003

Lustmord is brilliant, unsettling stuff. I've not heard any stuff that elicits pain from me, but I'll check into it. Most of the Lustmord I'm familiar with sounds a lot like the Silent Hill soundtracks. Thanks!
posted by sigma7 at 11:37 AM on May 19, 2003

KLF is gonna rock you...
posted by hellinskira at 12:18 PM on May 19, 2003

Does this infrasound stuff have any relationship to the concern about low-frequency sonar that's said to be dangerous to whales?
posted by alumshubby at 2:34 PM on May 19, 2003

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