VIE Tunes/VIE Tunes Pro includes various music tracks that help align brainwaves. One of the artists involved in producing these tracks is Keigo Tanaka from Niceness Music.
This time, the VIE team visited Mr. Tanaka's home and studio in Kobuchizawa, conducting an interview to explore Mr. Tanaka's unique and transformative music production environment.
The music production hub is a studio resembling a mountain hut. Living amidst nature where the air, colors, and scents change with each moment.
The town of Kobuchizawa, located on the border between Yamanashi and Nagano Prefectures. Upon leaving the station, the silhouette of the mist-covered Yatsugatake mountain range fills the field of vision. Mr. Tanaka's studio is situated not far from here, nestled in the mountains accessible by car.
"Would you like to have some soba noodles?"
It all began with enjoying a delicious homemade lunch prepared by Mr. Tanaka, riding along with the gently flowing passage of time.
The space, like a mountain hut, with sunlight streaming in through the skylight, carries an air of mystique.
Living amidst nature, I've come to realize that there's overwhelmingly more information than in the city. The colors of the leaves, the temperature of the air, and the plants—all change rapidly every day. The senses become sharper. In this season, you can gather a lot of mushrooms. Just last week, I picked a mountain of mushrooms right in the nearby garden.
Harvesting music from plants. Irregular yet pleasantly rhythmic pulses of nature.
Suddenly, upon looking at the succulent plant on the table, there seemed to be something like electrodes attached to it.
This might be...
"Oh, would you like to listen? The music playing now is created by inputting the real-time electrical signals flowing through this plant, with added melodies. The pulse changes depending on the part where the electrodes are attached and, of course, varies for each plant. The pitch is very slow, isn't it? But it's incredibly soothing. Give it a try; attach them to your own body."
As instructed, I attach the electrodes to both of my hands, and the music undergoes a transformation. The pitch speeds up, and it sounds like there are more musical elements.
"It seems that the human body, which interacts with machines daily, carries more electrical charge than plants. So, the pitch becomes faster, and there's a sense of increased information. However, if you walk barefoot for about 20 minutes, the pitch becomes similar to that of plants.”
Listening to the music played by this small succulent, the sensation is as if the tension in the heart, which had gradually stiffened, is melting away. Perhaps humans have been engulfed in the whirlwind of the city, living at a pace that is too fast. It seems that plants are teaching the natural rhythm that all living beings should have.
The correlation between the 'pleasant sound' for humans and the 'beautifully perceived shape,' as taught by the patterns of waves.
In Mr. Tanaka's atelier, there is another apparatus that connects nature and music—cymatics.
Cymatics is the visualization of the inherent vibrations and sounds of objects through media such as sand or water, or the study of this phenomenon. The term originates from the Greek word 'κῦμα' meaning wave and was coined by Hans Jenny (1904-1972), a Swiss man who adhered to theosophical beliefs. (Source: Wikipedia)
By placing a dish with a thin layer of water on top of a speaker, geometric patterns appear in the water due to the music playing through the speaker. Mr. Tanaka studies patterns of various frequencies using his homemade cymatics apparatus.
There are frequencies that result in chaotic, noisy patterns, while others create 'beautiful' patterns resembling mandalas, almost as if intentionally designed. Although the patterns change based on factors such as the size and shape of the dish and the amount of water, there seems to be a correlation between frequencies that people find 'beautiful' in patterns and frequencies that humans perceive as 'pleasant' in sound.
As the frequency and volume change, the patterns evolve moment by moment, much like a living organism. The waveform created by adding up the echoes of waves from a few seconds ago to the waves of this very moment is never repeated. It resembles the way we, as humans, live atop the accumulation of memories from the past. Sometimes appearing in chaotic forms, a day will come when a beautiful pattern emerges as new waves are added on top of it.
This time, we used VIE Chill/Zone to measure Keigo's brainwaves in both the Chill and Zone states.
Observing Keigo's brainwaves, it's evident that the brainwaves are more relaxed during the focused state, while in the meditative state, the brain shows more active patterns.
--- How was it for you to measure your own brainwaves this time?
I tend to get lost in my thoughts even when trying to meditate. Conversely, when I'm creating music, my brain always enters the Zone state, and it feels comfortable. So, perhaps my brain gets more relaxed when I'm focused on a single task.
When listening to Totonou Music, I found myself wondering about the process of creating it due to my profession, and it might have activated my brain in the opposite way. (lol)
VIE's reporting team thoroughly enjoyed the sound play unfolding in Mr. Tanaka's atelier until the sun completely set. The experience gave them a sensation as if they had spent quite a long time in a distant country, perhaps owing to the music played by the plants. When they opened the door, the forest of Kobuchizawa was already chilly, and the cool autumn night breeze touched their bodies.
In VIE Tunes/VIE Tunes Pro, there are plans to develop Totonou Music in collaboration with Mr. Tanaka in the future. Look forward to it!
Musician / Music Producer
In 2011, founded the ambient label 'Niceness music' and began producing yoga and healing music.
Produced yoga music albums such as the 'Light on Yoga Nada' series and collaborated with Akira Watamoto, the president of the Japan Yoga Meditation Association, on '癒しの呼吸 - The Thealing Breath.' Also, produced the album 'Soul Songs' for the global Kirtan singer Daphne Tse, contributing to the foundation of contemporary yoga music in Japan.
Specializing in meditative sounds that expand the senses, Keigo Tanaka seamlessly blends field recordings, water, plants, fungi, and various bioelectrical signals with electronic music. Integrating inspiration from frequencies and wave patterns found in natural environments, ethnic music, and the use of organic elements, his work spans from ambient to dance music. Engages in activities such as Duo performances with 'Crystal Nada' and 'Sinetar,' utilizing pulse music, spatial audio, cymatics, installations, solo live performances, workshops, and DJ sets.
Niceness music HP：https://www.niceness-music.com
- Performed at the International Yoga Festival 2018 in Rishikesh.
- Produced the album "Soul Songs" for Kirtan singer Daphne Tse.
- Participated in the International Yoga Day Kansai 2018 with the unit "Pranada" alongside Bansuri player gumi.
- Produced the Yoga Music album "Ocean Flow" with Surf Yogini Tamao, performing at the Jingu Stadium Night Yoga.
- Produced the Kirtan album "光" (Hikari) for Sattvic Veena player Hiroyuki Matsuhisa and Kirtan singer Mashumi Lacoste.
- Featured at the Thai International Yoga Festival 2018.
- Performed as a musician and DJ at the Bali Spirit Festival 2019.
- Participated in the Panda Yoga Festival 2019 in Chengdu.
- Conducted numerous sessions of Yoga and music with the President of the Japan Yoga Meditation Association, Mr. Akira Watanabe.
- Created official music for the installation art group Mirror Bowler, producing spatial works of light and reflection in 2019 and 2020.
- Started producing the music for Tokyu Hotels' "Sleeping to Dream" music experience plan, inducing a comfortable sleep, from 2020.
- Performed at the Skazka Festival in Russia in 2023.
- Engaged in Duo activities with "Crystal Nada" and "Sinter" at various festivals and events throughout Japan.