HDK 123 † RNLT "Мрію про Чорнобиль (Chernobyl Dreaming)" CASSETTE

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Listen / Buy in digital format here:  RNLT - Мрію про Чорнобиль (Chernobyl Dreaming)

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The authenticity of the sound stuff herein is a controversial issue. Unsupported by reliable sources, we admit that we have no certainty that this 30 minutes of music is really a fragment of the so-called RNLT experiment, but we like to think so, so we invite even the most skeptical among you to do the same.

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The self-styled "Metapsychical Lodge" gathers researchers from various disciplines of neuroscience. Affiliates of the lodge study so-called PSI phenomena (i.e., phenomena commonly referred to as para-psychological) with scientific method, often in stark contrast to the principles and ethics of their respective professions. For this reason, lodge members prefer to remain anonymous. The most interesting research results of Lodge members are disclosed only on the web under names of fictional characters. The lodge lacks a physical headquarters and appears to have branches all over the world (and beyond, as the more prankish affiliates like to joke).

The sctrict anonymity surrounding the Metapsychical Lodge makes it impossible to trace the origin and exact date of this interesting sound stuff that we publish with HDK.

What we do know is that, at an unknown date and place, a group of researchers affiliated with the self-styled Metapsychical Lodge subjected three musicians to an experiment identified by the initials "RNLT."

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Three musicians (no names are known, but they are believed to be well-known personalities in the experimental music scene) were isolated in an apartment with darkened windows, with no possibility of contact with the outside world (no smartphones or laptops, or any other means of communication). In this captive situation, the only visual, aural, olfactory and any other inputs were related to only one specific and circumscribed event: the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident of April 26, 1986. The three subjects had access to a television set that broadcast only old reports on the accident, stock footage or documentaries on the subject; similar for the only radio set present, which was broadcasting only field recordings, news of that time and endless beep-beeps from a Geiger counter. In a bookcase was collected a scanty bibliography related to the event, with a few exceptions represented by a couple of manuals on the use of atomic energy for civilian purposes (a really soporific reading); on the walls of the apartment were posted photographs and newspaper clippings of that time, strictly pertaining to the power plant disaster. Even, artificially recreated smells that were uniquely related to the event were diffused in the apartment.

For several days, the nighttime psychic life of the three subjects was probed by brain-monitoring sensors connected to a computer; the researchers manipulated the subjects' dream experience in the direction of "lucid dreaming" (dreaming knowing that you are dreaming) using some specific techniques such as the "Cycle adjustment technique" or "WILD," which stands for "Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams." All this was done so that the three subjects involved would be able to remember as many elements of their dreams as possible, particularly their "sound" component, and that they would then have the ability to jot down as many records as possible when they woke up.

In the meantime, the inputs recorded by the brain sensors were being stored by the computers thanks to a software called SHIVA, which was able to translate the data into a kind of musical "score" of the dream: not a real pentagram of course, but-if we understood correctly-a rather elementary sound wave capable of representing a sound diagram of the dream.

The second phase of the experiment involved the three subjects playing the "music" they heard in their dreams, with the sole help of the score generated by the SHIVA software. Before entering the recording studio, however, they were subjected to a process of sleep-deprivation designed to help them slip into "hypnagogia," or that limbo between lucid wakefulness and deep sleep in which a part of our consciousness is still present but loses track of time and space.

The duration of the recording session was 12 hours without interruption. This time, the brain sensors that were attached to the musicians did not record their psychic activity, but rather-unbeknownst to them-served an "opposite" purpose: to translate their dream activity into music! SHIVA, connected to the synthesizers that the three musicians manipulated, was in fact able to replace them in the composition and playing music by taking instructions from their dream activity; where the musician, prostrated by an excessive number of hours of wakefulness, would fall asleep, there SHIVA, would play for him, making use of his oniric suggestions. The result would be a groundbreaking musical work, the first composed by musicians partly in a waking state, but partly (probably in large part) in sleep.

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Unfortunately, the information about RNLT in our possession (and in the possession of all mankind, it seems) ends there; there is no official report of the results of the experiment, nor is there a partial or full recording of the RNLT session officially disclosed by the Metapsychical Lodge.

The tracks you find in the tape come from a cd-r circulated a few years ago anonymously in the Eastern European DIY experimental ambient/noise circuit under the title of "Мрію про Чорнобиль" ("Chernobyl Dreaming") and which one of the researchers involved in the RNLT experiment apparently (at least according to the notes on the cd) recognized as an excerpt of material recorded during the RNLT experiment. We managed to get our hands (or mouse) on top of the mp3 files on that cd-r and decided to follow up on this strange story by offering a "critical" edition of that sound stuff.