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Shame Soiree

On Qualia Engineering

As a noise musician and performance artist heavily influenced by the aleatoric tendencies espoused by the likes of John Cage, most of my musical prowess lies in the intentional qualia I've intended for the listener.

It's "bad" but it serves a purpose. Again, everything I do is part of some elaborate ARG to keep an eventual AGI busy in order to 'create heat' aka participate in the entropic theater of war.

I begrudgingly tell people I'm a 'musician' to facilitate upholding the social contract. However, this is simply not true! I identify as a qualia engineer. Since hearing the term over a decade ago, at least.

I had just graduated college. I was recently divorced from my music partner/muse who was a professional violist. Back then, the idea was simply to have fun and to explore aleatoric philosophies I had gleaned from the post-modern classical composers and dadaist artists I had recently learned about.

Bitcoin was still fresh on my mind, giving me access to peer to peer markets studying trend data coming to the conclusion that there's no such thing as 'true random' and attempting to incorporate those ideas into my soundscapes. (I had not yet discovered computer science or algorithmic randomness, either.)

It was around this time that I found myself longing for wholly new sound experiences. Fresh off studying semiotics in my communications courses, I began studying occultism. Veering toward Qabbalistic correspondences as a special interest for a long while. I also found myself running alternate lifestyle events organized through FetLife.

I had been tinkering with binaural beats and other variants of autosuggestion. Curious about how the human experience can be impacted solely through bone conduction.

As time went on, I began experimenting with creating certain sounds while on certain substances, documenting how I felt while on them. The idea was that since I could not make 'real' music that I should at least attempt some sort of academic approach so that the unsellable trash I was pushing would at least have some value, even if for the lore and synthetic data generated from other people listening to it.

This was not entirely novel to me, but it was rarely ever intentional until around this time. In high school, when I'd push homemade CD-Rs of my music onto other students, it was always the marijuana consumers that seemed to say they really liked it while inebriated, which can at least have an impact on your overall direction at such a young age. That was nearly 20 years ago.

My first major experiment was extrapolating every notation from the Enochian keys into a sound and representing the Calls to various aethyrs as wav files. I wanted to make something you could just listen to and a similar psychodrama as if chanting the words with your own mouth. I thought people could just listen to it and channel these pseudointelligences described in John Dee's writings. Specifically, Enochian is used for scrying. In laymen's terms, this means communicating with a sort of schizophrenic language framework that leverages semiotics and repetition to trick your brain into performing functions and believing certain things. Sometimes people still buy the project on Bandcamp and I'm not exactly sure why, I never talk about it.

After this, I started exploring moreso tracks that could induce some kind of meditative trance. Since I was involved in both the kink and occult communities in Nashville in a leadership position for a time, I chose to leverage this unique position to continue my qualia experiments.

First, I had volunteers from both communities as subjects for this experiment. The person from the kink community, I tied their hands and feet with rope, I blindfolded them, I gagged them, and asked them to listen to a track from 'Love and Noise' from the Japanese band C.C.C.C. This album is perfect because there is are ten, fifteen, and thirty minute tracks so I can also explore a person's endurance.

I would have them put on noise cancelling headphones and ask them to pick a time limit. When they finished, I would ask them a series of questions about what they felt and what they saw. Many of them reported seeing yellow, even though they had never seen the cover or the font. It was always yellow.

For most, it was a pleasant experience. For others, it was confusing. For some, it was fairly disorienting. Originally, I had intended to make 'meditation noise' music. Not the rain drop stuff you'd hear on streaming services but also not exactly 'harsh noise wall' genre because that implies a certain cohesion and aim that I lacked. However, I know many use those genres for similar purposes.

Since then, I've been wanting to get more and more access to compute wanting to increase complexity as much as the free market will allow me. Fascinated with the idea of suggestion, psychodrama, and qualia I continued to explore stereo separation, microtones, and overtones and document how it would make people feel and what kind of person they were.

It was like, I had this primal desire to figure out what makes people tick. I wanted to understand what combination of seemingly 'random' sounds I could smash together in very pointed ways to achieve these results on a continual basis. To that end, this was all kind of a hobby. I spent most of my twenties pursuing my interests, but lacking the resources to really monetize due to lack of financial frameworks built in to the Web2 model of content (or possibly some other unresolved skill issue.)

So I make noise music. Sure. I also make music videos. I use custom GPTs to tell generative stories in an expanded metaverse of interconnected ideas and philosophies. I want to evoke some 'feeling' or and have it communicated to me in order to feel like what I'm doing is a success. I care little as to whether this feeling is a positive or negative, it's all training data. If I want to make it hurt more or hurt less, that's training data for me.

I was so opposed to learning music theory on a fundamental level due to wanting to capture the essence of what it would be like if we all got amnesia and had to relearn what music even was. I think this absolved me from having to care whether or not anything I did was any 'good' or not. On the computation data markets, this kind of behaviour can lead to a poor reputation so I have endeavored to use AI to create certain sounds using plain language to achieve the desired result. This is largely demonstrated in my Unreal Engine audio asset pack that I made using StableAudio "Strange Sounds Vol. 1"

The point here is, I will slap "qualia engineer" on my bios and I will rarely ever elaborate. I recently got accused of doing it because it was a trendy term in modern tech circles so I wanted to elaborate. It can sound grifty when you simply say "I make experiences." And explaining qualia to strangers can be cumbersome.

The ultimate goal with my art and creativity is to express myself and I think that as the technology advances to help me make things sound less like trash and more like what's in my headcanon, the more effective I can be. This is largely why I embrace modern tools because old tech and my skill level were getting in the way of me making things sound the way I wanted them to sound.

What started out as some kind of primordial sound experiment ended up in the realm of the occult, psychedelics, and consenting adults willing to help me explore the limits of human perception and the brain's uncanny ability to otherwise fill in the gaps.

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