Thompson began experimenting with sound in 1981 at his Holistic Health Center in Virginia. He moved west in 1988 and established the Center for Neuroacoustic Research. His research has focused on using sound frequency patterns and brain entrainment for healing and neuroacoustic therapy.
This CD features neuroacoustic brainwave entrainment. Phase-modulated, inaudible pulses of sound are woven into multilayered musical soundtracks. The tracks also include natural sounds of crickets, whales, rainfall, and ocean waves that are electronically processed and filtered. Dr. Thompson calls this merger “non-linear music,” featuring layers of dreamy, relaxing sounds that avoid strong melodies that prompt the mind toward “musical anticipation”. The CD cover says that without this mental melodic leap-frogging, it is easier to achieve the desired states of consciousness.
There are 6 tracks, each designed for specific brain wave entrainment:
1. Relaxation (alpha waves)
2. Healing (mixed waves with delta peaks)
3. Creativity (theta waves)
4. Awakening (beta, alpha, theta and delta waves)
5. Meditation (gamma waves)
6. Sleep (delta waves)
All of the tracks are around 10 minutes long.
Track 1: Relaxation offers the most in the way of sound effects from nature. I liked the mix of nature sounds with ambient synth tones. It was indeed pretty relaxing.
I was not impressed with Tracks 2 and 3, as both feature cheesy keyboard playing that contradicts the idea of “non-linear music.” Track 2: Healing opens with tinky-tink kiddie piano playing that ends after 1:40 minutes and moves into an ambient sound piece. Track 3: Creativity offers a hum-drum harpsichord-type synth chordal progression that’s repeated over and over, ad nauseum. The harmonica that joins in doesn’t make it any better, nor does playing (or transposing) the progression in different synth keyboard settings. Since this is the track that’s supposed to inspire creativity, it was hard to grasp why the song drones on and on with the same stupid chord progression and doesn’t shift into an ambient mode until nearly 8 minutes of the ten-minute track are spent! It didn’t make me feel creative and irritated me to the point where I fast-forwarded to the next track out of self-defense.
There’s not much noticeable difference between Track 5 (Meditation) and Track 6 (Sleep). Both tracks feature deep, chewy bass tones that drone along without much differentiation or musical content. These may intentionally feature pure sound effects rather than tonal musical ideas. Frankly, I found them mildly disturbing.
Perhaps some of Dr. Thompson’s previous albums are more pleasing and musically coherent; this is the only one I’ve listened to. The CD tries to offer something for everybody – the sleepless, the restless, and the gridlocked. A ten-minute track doesn’t offer much time to absorb a specific entrainment effect. I wouldn’t want to listen to the 10-minute meditation track over and over again. There are albums with highly effective meditation music that don’t include phase-modulated pulses. David Ison’s “Chakra Integration” and Maneesh de Moor’s “Signatures on Water” have bone-melting effects and much more auditory charm.
Since Dr. Thompson has an apparently large following, this CD may be best received by fans of his previous work.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Creator: Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
The Relaxation Company 2013, 60.33 minutes.