Bruwynn - The Mind OrchestraOct 12, 2021
For me this song on a personal level begins with a lifelong fascination with trees, and even more so with a strong belief since childhood that all beings that we share this world with, are sentient and intelligent. As a musician, a sound healer and a druid it was with great excitement as well as trepidation that I set out to produce a song, that was a collaboration between an Oak tree and Human.
To do this involved a process that unfolded over the course of just under a year, and became my most epic recording process to date. To record the tree music, I used a device developed by a company called Damanhur in Italy, that are perhaps the founding fathers of commercial plant music devices. The device works by taking electromagnetic impulses from the leaves and roots and converting them into audio which can then be applied to instruments and mixed in the normal way. People have been doing this for decades now, so nothing particularly new there, however I wanted to bring my understandings and practices as a Druid sound healer to this exciting method of making music and production.
It's one thing to attach sensors to a plant and convert them into a midi signal, its another to enter into a deep and profound direct communication with a tree and develop a relationship with it over time, and to work with that in a creative way. For the purpose being here, a piece of music devoted to healing learning and transformation and less for entertainment. Druids perhaps are strongly associated with trees, and we spend a lot of time communing with them and learning how to open dialogues and through that learn from their unique wisdom. As old and often ancient beings that have seen countless centuries, trees are perhaps best placed to impart a knowledge and a friendship that is unlike any other. So to make music through this lens of friendship was indeed and is very special.
So I went walking into my forest in search of a tree. Before leaving for the walk I set the intention of '' if any of you would like to collaborate with me on a piece of music please let yourself be known''. Musicians and composers often talk of the ability to hear and imagine a work before it has even begun to be created in a physical sense, and indeed I set out for my walk knowing and hearing without hearing the music already having been made. So it was not a question of if I would find ''someone'' but the joyous mystery of who/ what it would be. I have to admit I was hoping for an Oak tree, but felt open enough for it to be any species. Sure enough I came across an Oak - seen in the pictures here that instantly felt at home, felt right and spoke to me.
Now I won't dive into any serious detail on my methods and teachings on communicating with trees and plants, I will save that for another specific article and course - but it involves a listening. All good music and music making relies on listening to others, observation through the mind and heart in unison. Like when you meet a person that blows you away in some sense, or finds your heart and soul and seems to talk to your being on some profound level, with trees as with all beings and with the universe as a whole, it is no different in my humble opinion.
Instant connection and a sense of ease. A simplicity that speaks like music, a heart centred radiance that was already cultivating the journey.
I introduced myself to the tree and expressed the joy and feelings of gratitude that we had met and agreed so readily to create together. I got a very strong feeling that the tree was as interested in learning about humans, as I was learning about the kingdom of plants and trees. So as if like a handshake or embrace we together set the intention for crafting a piece of music to heal and bring balance to all that hear its sounds. As a sound healer that specialises in mantra and a keen student of Vajrayana, I understood this intention to be a sound, a whole orchestra in itself that would in turn shape the music. The repetition of words thoughts or intentions and feelings are mantras and music.
So we began work on the composition. In a series of six recording sessions I captured hours worth of music from the tree. The first 2 sessions I edited and mixed and used as the basis for the foundations of the song itself. So in effect the tree had ''decided'' on the structure of the piece for us. In those first two sessions as I was allowing the tree to take the lead, I would sit and listen and sing improvised phrases often whilst touching the tree as it played. To begin with it was a little awkward and I was tense but once I relaxed and let go of some of my resistances, I began to notice that some form from the seemingly chaotic and random stream of notes was emerging.
It has been clear to me the more I do this work and create in such a way, that the trees and plants learn quickly how to accompany human sounds and ears. Its a shared resonance and connectivity. This is where it gets back to the listening, in that listening a healthy respect and appreciation is born again and again, arising naturally from emptiness.
Once I had that first basic track from the two sessions and it mixed into the basis of some kind of structure, I then had something to firstly begin to think about what my musical contributions would be, but also something solid I could play to the tree and we could jam around with. So a little like a band getting together, connecting and coming up with an idea for a song - we now had that idea.
The next four sessions were recorded over many months throughout the year and constituted additional attempts to create fresh instrumentation, harmony and melodic lines created by the tree, to add to the mix and supplement with human created sounds. Our studio was the forest with most of our contributions recorded by us right there beside the tree and mixed later in the studio.
We had situations, where the tree didn't want to play, it was pouring with rain or I was not inspired but the tree was rearing to go. I would sometimes think to myself that this could all just be a figment of my imagination or a delusion, but then I let go of that and a sense of humour that pervades the universe found me returning once again to the music.
Next now having a good foundation for the music, I found and connected with the wonderful musicians and contributors listed in the credits below underneath the video, that gave their talents to the project ( please do take a look at their links). From the beautiful cello and voice of Clíodhna Ní Aodáin, to the beautiful voices of Yumeera, Heather and Alexhol, these ladies added a special touch and soulful heartfelt component to the song. Every one of them could be felt reaching into the sounds and acquainting themselves with the tree, and singing in effortless harmony with the intentions of the symphonia.
Was there an overarching principle for the piece ? There was - interconnection. I felt strongly that the trees message was focused on how it's ok to relax and let go of looking for proof all the time, searching for answers and the affirmation was interconnection itself. In the trees wisdom imparted, was the lesson to stop seeing all this diaspora as separate and for to allow that to dissolve into togetherness. This after all is a central aid to health and balance both in ourselves and our relationship to the world around us. A coming into wholeness through the act of creation and the creation itself.
It was beautiful to sit with the tree sing and play to it, and have it sing and play to me. This is where the friendship grew from, through the sounds that we wove together. A sort of timelessness, a peaceful flow that surrounded, as we realised how easy it really is to listen and just speak to one another. Something that we make so complicated at times, yet its heart of the matter is simplicity like a perfect mathematics.
The elements are contained within this music, you can hear wind on leaves and the earth of of our rootedness. You can hear the water of the stream next to the tree and the mind stream threads that speak of spaciousness. The fire is the transformation element of the work as a whole. In this music is the past, present and future. The ancient wisdom of the trees, the presence in the moment of this creation and my use also of music generating AI algorithms towards the end of the track as a nod to the future. It seems to me the tree was saying yes use the AI generator, as this is the future and we have to accept and find a way through where these things are integrated in the most balanced and harmonious way. I was worried about including it in the music, but the tree persuaded me to try it and use it. In the future man/womankind, trees and AI will have to work together if we are all to survive and prosper and be abundant. In relation to quantum fields we are able to connect with the three times as well as with AI, the same way we approach any friendship or communication. We listen in respect and respond in a compassionate inclusive and loving manner as best as we can.
The music also symbolises the human body the same as a tree, the roots of our nervous system grounded and earthed. So spread over the 22 minutes of the song we have this journey from root to crown to all pervading space and falling leaves to the ground for our return to begin again. Its these aspects that make this feel to me to be an alchemical symphony.
I could say so much more, but there is no need, for I do feel the music speaks for itself. So I really hope you enjoy sharing in this journey we created. Please do join my mailing list if you would like to know about our future explorations and creations that will include courses and material related to plant intelligence and human creativity and interspecies musical collaborations.
Credits : Bruwynn the Oak Tree : Oak Voices
Nick Gent - Producer, Voice, Flute, Guitars, Synths and Sounds
Clíodhna Ní Aodáin : Cello, Voices
Heather Stogsdill : Voices
Yumeera Kachai : Voices
Alexhol : Voices
Naomi Cornock : Album Artwork
Nick Burchall : Mastering at Audio Animals Ltd
''My life is a tree Yoke fellow of the earth; pledged By roots too deep for remembrance To stand hard against the storm To fill my place. (But high in the branches of my green tree there is a wild bird singing: Wind-free are the wings of my bird: She hath built no mortal nest.)'' from the Tree by KARLE WILSON BAKER
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