The Origin of IMAGO: a bilateral journey of transformation"
Updated: Jan 13
This is the story of how a psychotherapist with expertise in acoustic bilateral stimulation and a electrical engineer with expertise in music theory and composition combined their talents to create Samuel Cape's "IMAGO: a bilateral journey of transformation".
In 2014 an Atlanta therapist, George Herring, started Alternating Sounds, LLC as a fun and useful side gig to try to expand the possibilities of acoustic bilateral stimulation music for healing professionals as well as the general public.
George will be the first to say he's a music lover but not a musician. Certainly not in the classic sense. But he can lock on to a point of interest and through all of 2013 he learned what he could about audio mixing and began figuring out the language of acoustic bilateral construction. He spent countless hours collecting and combining sounds as a core compositional structure. If there was a way to mix channels of sound in different bilateral configurations, he found it.
By 2014 he had enough material to create, copyright and make available an entire CD of original tracks, each with lots of new features, primarily multiple simultaneous strength levels. Between the "bilateral soundsapes" he constructed on his own and the instrumental compositions created by Lincoln Herring that were perfect for their purpose, it was time to make a CD. He learned how to get pretty proficient using a fairly low-end specialized software called Sharm Studio to create eleven recordings for a full album. This became "Written on Clouds: Bilateral Music for Healing and Personal Growth" and the company he formed to give structure to all this effort was Alternating Sounds, LLC.
Five years and two albums later, George felt a pull toward a greater vision of what bilateral music can become and achieve. For this he needed someone to create actual, real, compositionally structured music to build around. His goal was to find a way to create new forms of bilaterally enhanced music for multiple professional and personal purposes. He knew he had the passion and vision to see this true, but not the musical chops.
Ovum: First Stage of Development
"The smallest holds your greatness."
At a gathering in late 2019 George struck up a conversation with Samuel Cape, a former member of many Atlanta bands with strong engineering and musical composition chops and a visionary passion for expanding the boundaries of the possible. As the conversation progressed both George and Sam became increasingly excited at the prospect of collaborating together. By the end of the evening the two agreed that Sam would create a an extended, fully synthesized musical composition that George would then bilaterally trick out in post-production.
Even at that "early draft" stage it was apparent that something special was going to emerge from this project.
Caterpillar: Second Stage of Development
"Some hungers serve you well."
The unexpected arrival of Covid upset all the apple carts (you know, you were there). So it was many months later that Sam brought to George an early version of a 4 movement. The result was worth the wait. Even at that "early draft" stage it was apparent to both that something special was going to emerge from this project.
Sam's use of the butterfly's journey of transformation was serving as a robust vehicle for innovative musical expression. Armed with George's feedback and a renewed sense of inspiration Sam's musical vision and prowess started to kick into high gear with solid traction and a sharpening focus upward into a fundamentally uncharted sonic landscape. He continued to place and connect passages in each movement to ever more fully embrace and embody the beauty and power of the butterfly's transformation.
As IMAGO took further shape George realized that it was so richly constructed that there was no room for him to superimpose any other sound sources. At first he questioned whether this would be his first time without an active role in an Alternating Sounds, LLC recording. At the same time Sam was still learning the basic elements of bilateral stimulation and he often drew on George's suggestions, pointers, modifications and experience.
From that point forward George and Sam reached and maintained a new level of collaborative effort to make acoustic bilateral stimulation less a feature or component and more an integrated musical creation with complex melodic and bilateral constructions.
3. Chrysalis: Third Stage Development
"You rest between was and will be."
George and Sam built in very precise multi-tracked bilateral placements within the literal bones of the composition itself. IMAGO was on the way to becoming the first sustained musical composition to incorporate bilateral simulation as an integral component of the musical experience on the same level as melody, harmony, instrumentation and intonation. This...... this....... this...... seemed really significant...... right? George couldn't identify anyone who had done this before . If true, the final product was, by definition, going to be an unprecedented development in the history of music.
It was a sort of shake-inducing moment to consider that for the first time.
This is by orders of magnitude the most nuanced bilateral mixing of individual instruments and voices ever achieved.
As Sam continued to develop the composition, George applied the lessons he had learned in producing the first three albums for Alternating Sounds, LLC . Sam's strong and complex musical statement was spurring George to consider and suggest ever more nuanced bilateral manipulations than any previous recordings. (You can find other posts here about what's going on in each movement.
IMAGO was on its final stages of development to become, orders of magnitude, the most nuanced bilateral mixing of instruments and voices ever achieved.
4. Butterfly: Fourth Stage of Development
"Fly free on your beautiful wings."
Now that IMAGO is available to the public Sam and George want to help it fly into the world. It may be that this short story of its development may be useful for context.