keskiviikko 26. joulukuuta 2012

Synesthesia (or ideasthesia)

Finally touching on a subject that I've been meaning to write about for a long time. And I have a lot to say too so let's get started:

I have been doing some reading on the subject of synesthesia lately. Some questions that fueled my search are: Why is it that so many synesthetes are artistically inclined? Is there a link between certain personal traits and synesthesia? What are the different types of experiences a synesthete can experience?


My experience

I am a synesthete and I have an extremely vivid imagination. I've always been sort of an introvert dreamer and I think a lot of other synesthetes share this quality. If you've ended up in this blog by Googling information about synesthesia, and happen to be a synesthete yourself, please leave a comment! I would be absolutely delighted to hear about your particular experience!

I have what is called 'Grapheme → color synesthesia' as well as 'Sound → color synesthesia' to a lesser extent. I didn't realize I had a 'condition' until I read about it on the Internet a few years back. When I was younger, I also thought everybody experienced these colors. 

This is close to how I experience numbers:


Although I tried to make the above illustration as accurate as possible, it still looks somewhat wrong to me. My synesthesia is pretty mild and it's REALLY hard to pinpoint the exact color. 

My sound related synesthesia works better with music than other sounds and I need to have context for the notes: The color of one single musical note is extremely hard if not impossible for me to pinpoint. I experience a myriad of colors when I listen to music, somewhat depending on the harmony as well as the timbre of instruments and voices. It's impossible for me to describe the things I see (or feel would be more accurate) in detail. One thing that I've found is that all the modes of the major scale have different colors, sometimes a mixture of colors (the dorian mode is silver/purple etc).


Synesthesia in the arts

A lot of artists and musicians seem to have had/have synesthesia. I think there's a sort of 'darker side' to synesthesia, and that many of the artists that have it also fit the 'Tortured artist' -stereotype quite nicely. I think it has to do with the somewhat elusive and mysterious quality of the synesthethic experience. Many artists seem to have this overwhelming urge to share their personal experiences with the world. The problem is that the experiences are often too abstract to get a grip on, and actualizing one's vision may turn out to be too huge of a task, if not downright impossible to do to a satisfying degree.

I too used to chase this elusive 'thing' quite furiously (in ways that I don't dare mention here), and tried too hard to actualize some visions that were too personal. It seems to me, that I am always one step behind my imagination, which can be a major pain when trying to create something. The best way to overcome it is to just do it anyway, if it fails, so be it. Even if you never really fully reach your vision, chances are that you're focusing too hard on what's missing instead of what you've managed to create. I've sort of found some peace of mind in letting other people interpret my music and other work just as they like. Once it's out, it's out and done for.


Science and ideasthesia

Recent studies show that synesthesia might be more common than previously thought and that all people share some of the aspects of the experience (Check out the Kiki-Booba phenomenon). Scientists still struggle with what synesthesia really is, but I'm pretty sure there's a very rational explantion for it. 

Researchers have recently introduced ideasthesia as a better term to describe the experience. The reason is that the experience is not so much a blending of the senses as the word 'synesthesia' implies. What makes synesthesia and many other 'disorders' of the brain difficult to study, is the huge range of severity of these experiences. Some people with more extreme synesthesia can even taste music. I'm really not sure if I'd want that for myself, but I certainly would not want to lose this 'disorder' completely. I feel that it is source of joy and inspiration and an integral part of my character.

I remain very hopeful that science will shed light on synesthesia and other mysteries of the brain in the near future, but until then I'll enjoy the mystery of it. Mysteries are what keep us going forward as a species anyway, but that's really the subject for another post...

To end the post, I thought I'd link this super cool short movie that I stumbled across last night, enjoy!:

keskiviikko 24. lokakuuta 2012

Back in business

It's been well over a year again and I've set up some new websites:

a22 music



I don't care to discuss my life in detail in this post, like I usually do.

This might have been the most difficult year of my entire life, but also one of the most inspired and creative. I have an immense amount of work to do and a LOT of projects underway, but I'm sure something special is going to come out of this all. Still enjoying life!

(I have started editing some of my older and badly written blog posts into more cohesive texts)

keskiviikko 5. lokakuuta 2011

Mandatory update

Seems like this blog has turned into a once a year kind of a thing. This entry will also be very diary like and probably not concern anyone but myself. The last time I wrote was 2010 before joining the military in July. It's now October 2011.

So a long story short(ened): I got out of the army in January 2011, spent some time soul searching, getting a driver's license and applying to schools in the spring. As the summer rolled on I realized I didn't get into any of the schools and had to find a job. And finally I've been fixing pneumatic/hydraulic tools in a small company consisting of me and my boss for the last three months.

What's there to say, I didn't have any idea that I would end up doing this, but I'm pretty happy with everything. Oh and I also started training karate which I've enjoyed very much, now I just wish that I could pull together something more like a music project, but life's keeping me relatively busy... in fact I should be sleeping at the moment of writing this

keskiviikko 16. kesäkuuta 2010

Time & Me

I was genuinely shocked to find that it has been well over a year since I posted an entry in this blog. I just can't believe it. I should always just write my thoughts down, because I'm sure that in a time period this long, there's been thoughts about a lot of interesting things. Things that could've ended up here as posts, I just didn't take the time to compose them into a form that makes sense to anyone else.

I've had the most interesting time and I've been enjoying life like always. I've been thinking about the subject of time. We tend to return to happy memories every now and then when we feel nostalgic - just like we constantly try to imagine what the future for us might be like. Someone (don't remember who) said that our minds are almost always rehashing or rehearsing and that it can be a problem. I've lately been trying to enjoy 'the now' or the present if you will. It's really something worthwhile to do. This experience of 'the now' is what a lot of the eastern philosophies seem to revere, like the buddhist traditions etc. It's all very interesting...

As I am writing this there's a few weeks left until I join the Finnish military. In Finland we have a universal male conscription, so we sort of have to serve somehow and I chose the traditional army route instead of civilian service. I'll be spending anywhere from 6 - 12 months in the army, a relatively short time I guess. I thought this was something worth mentioning because I'm unlikely to be writing anything in the blog for, gosh, who knows, maybe another year. I'll have fun reading this entry later on when I'm again in a completely different situation in life and trying to make ends meet and/or applying to a new school. Time just seems to fly faster and faster as I am getting older, all the clichés about time seem to be true and the older you get the more you realize it.

torstai 26. maaliskuuta 2009

About my instruments and musical background

I play the guitar and I'm glad I chose it as my instrument. The guitar can do almost anything from soaring, singing leads and growling riffs to intricate and beautiful harmonies and atmospheres. I started to study guitar when I was 12 years old, inspired by classic rock and heavy metal acts such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC. Now that I've grown into a man and my tastes have developed, I realize that the guitar has so much more to it. Don't get me wrong, I still love the bands that I listened to when I was 12, they're now just at one end of the spectrum of my much more varied taste.

Jimmy Page, one of my first guitar idols
(Jimmy Page was one of my first guitar heroes.)

The most important musical development for me was finding jazz music. It changed my whole view on music and improvisation. I was not new to improvised music when that happened. I had listened to blues for years, but the height to which jazz musicians have taken, and keep taking improvisation is mind boggling.

Thelonious Monk
 (The eccentric and wonderfully playful improvisations of Thelonious Monk were one of the forces lured me into the world of jazz. It's a wonderful world of which I'm now permanently a part of, I love jazz music.)

I've recently discovered the power of another item besides the guitar. The item has been very present in my life for at least as long as the six string - the home PC. PCs work wonderfully as recording and producing devices. Everyone can now put together the music they hear in their head and share it with the world if they're so inclined, and have the time and energy. It's just a bit too easy to copy and paste things all over the place and lose some of the subtetly and nuances which make music so great. For example it just doesn't feel right to build a solo one note at a time on a computer - solos are supposed to be played. I don't think the human musician can ever be replaced, only integrated into other interesting setups such as in the video below.

Check out jazz guitarist Pat Metheny playing with a computer controlled robot orchestra:

We live in an age that allows us to be more creative than ever and I feel truly blessed for this gift!

(I edited this post on 11.11.2012)