States between sleep and wakefulness. 'Coma Conscience'

By Audio Pervert - 3/20/2023

The idea that you could listen to music or continuous sound while meditating is common. The practice probably goes back to 'seeing' meditation as a means of relaxation or distressing. The practices and aesthetics of this experience seem to diverge, mutate and converge. The role of sound in the world of healing arts. New practitioners invoke for new experiences, creating new relations, which are more cerebral, less material. Over time, it brings us closer to nature, states of tranquility and balance. Artists motivated by this new experience are innovating, while moving away from fixed definitions and customs. One such artist is Aditya Vernekar, creator of 'Coma Conscious' and an electronic music producer. Blending music and human conscience as one practice, he is exploring and experimenting, navigating spaces mostly undefined and transient: "states between sleep and wakefulness" that we access (and navigate) via music and sound.

It's a bit of a weird story ... starting with a bunch of close friends who decided to delve into 'Pranic Healing' (for different personal reasons). I'm not sure what changed about them in the beginning, yet I'm sure a lot changed afterwards... but all of us didn't connect as much as we used to earlier. Things that didn't seem possible, seemed otherwise after the experience... thinking patterns and personalities changed drastically and I was making ambient music for meditation, for active listening. Inspired by one of the meditation techniques called 'Twin Hearts Meditation'. During and after the process, we felt like we entered a 'Karmic Playground' of sorts. That uncharted new place kind of feeling... Even our teachers felt so, as we couldn't be sure if our feelings were 'made up' or were 'true' in nature. The experience inspired me to compose an album titled 'Mirrors'. In short, deep changes occurred yet none of it was pre-planned. I still have not told them about this release (outcome) and I think it's time.

What is Coma Conscience?

Traditionally, we believe 'conscience' to be a moral compass of sorts. Something which acts as a guide... tells us if our actions (and choices) are right or wrong. Just or unjust. Now, my argument might sound like a totally diverging viewpoint, than what we are usually accustomed to. Conscience, it seems is something we humans developed along the way, as means to our own safety and survival. But very little is known as to how 'beneficial' this idea really is, to a given individual and the world she or he belongs to. This 'conscience' and 'othering' may not be so beneficial to you or me... What if it's not an integral part of us? Many times it's hostile to you and comes in your way and disapproves of most things. In my opinion, the more one keeps this type of conscious happy, the more miserable one becomes over time... They say that clinical psychopaths have very little to no conscience... we place high values on success, modernity, competition and material gain... Then have we bypassed our conscience? So by 'Coma Conscience', I guess what I'm describing here, is a condition - of the urban woman or man, who evolved into a Cyborg-like being, an entity of industrial functions. Morally corrupt,  self-serving, seems to be enjoying life, but at the same time is haunted, conflicted, with the conscience faltering in their minds'. That state is a strange epiphany of sorts!

Correlating the music, the Handpan and a 'Sound Bath'

The term "Sound Bath' is a catch-phrase, a marketing term coined for 'immersive active listening experiences'. With sound as a central element, what we experience while lying down with eyes closed. Off late, the practice has become globally popular and has rapidly transformed... but it goes back to the mid 1990s. Used on a scale involving many people, by the well known ambient music composer Robert Rich in his 'Sleep Concerts'. He called it "dreamcatching" And now we have a growing number of musicians, including electronic music composers, curating "Sound Baths'' using singing bowls, gongs, flutes, bells and chimes, ambient music, resonance and frequency etc to induce calm, steady and even meditative states. Some folks describe it as 'limbonic states' -  what we experience between sleep and wakefulness. Neurologically speaking, these are 'new states' that remain dormant most of the time... The underlying objective is to reduce anxiety and restlessness, and provide mentally and physically secure places.

In this aspect the 'Handpan' is an amazing magical instrument. The design (materiality and geometry) creates a resonance unlike any other instrument.  There is a 'shamanic' quality to its tonal expanse. Longtime acquainted with Vikram Shastri, founder and maker of 'Mantra Handpans' provided the inspiration, the way forward. Vikram Shastri is an activist and music composer and his Eco-conscious assembly of Handpans, not using materials which involve cruelty, while crafting the instrument in a very durable and affordable sense. Both of us, motivated by a common vision, experiences which destress, help us unwind, transcend and bring people together. Which would then correspond to a self-sustaining culture perhaps... something we create for us and for the future generation(s).

Future cosmology, maps and plans?

Well, being an Aquarian, I disappeared and dissociated from the live music scene for a while. Worked on my health, formulating new ideas and return to making more music. With a new project avatar 'A-Pax', I hope to release music in multiple genres. For different spaces and audiences. As of now everything from deep house to dub techno to psybient to progressive and even trip-hop and post-rock is seeping into my audible universe... What's been lacking for me is the space to blend the emotions, textures and reach intense dynamics on my audio canvas. The ambient and healing side of music is also a new horizon for me, as I mentioned with handpan collaboration, an emotional and cerebral new path. That said, I have 8 solid releases so far with Coma, a good enough foundation and sound for live gigs...

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