The Mr. Becos interview series continues with Christopher Morda, a guitarist, philosopher, expert in alternative tuning systems and Detroit native. Part 2 of 2.
Mr. Becos: You've been engaged in some sound healing practices involving really long strings, resonances, possibly some pyramids, etc. Is there anything you'd recommend our readers either seek out our stay the hell away from?
Morda: I think the main thing is to remain open minded when seeking out new things. I think the world of "sound" therapy can be so big that it can be challenging for someone to make a choice of what to try. As I made analogies with my last answer I instantly think of one for this as well. The world of sound and music therapy is like a microcosm of the alternative healing world in general, there are so many different things and it can be overwhelming trying to find one to try let alone work. I think it's fascinating how one thing that works for one person can completely not work and possibly even detrimental to another. The main thing is to keep an open mind heart and mind and try a few different things that you are drawn to and see where that leads you.
Mr. Becos: I agree. Having an open mind at least allows you the opportunity to get something out of experiences that may seem absurd our dubious at first. What are some of the more unusual our unique approaches or techniques you've come across? I think it was through you that I first heard about people blasting themselves with the sound of bees at deafening volumes.
Morda: Layne Redmond does the work with bees (http://thebeepriestess.com). I think the one of the main differences of sound therapy to music therapy is to the extent that inducing theta brain states is utilized. Theta states basically get the individual into the "twilight" zone, the state between sleep and awake, I have practiced, off and on, for a number of years a yoga practice called yoga-nidra that induces this state. Some people believe in this state the mind and body can move into a very conducive state for healing. From a hedonistic point of view I like the things, the practices or exercises that get you into that state.
So things that are similar to the Dream House experience (see part one of interview), gong baths, where you are in a room with a number of large gongs that are being struck, a monochord table, where you're basically laying on a wooden frame that has hundreds of strings built into it and as you are laying on the bed the practitioner is strumming the strings, taking a small group of people and putting all of your heads together while you hum, and a holotropic breathwork session can be some fairly unique experiences.
Mr. Becos: You can also manipulate your brain waves by creating "binaural beats", that is, by playing two close tones separately into each ear. If the difference is, say, 10hz between the tones your brian entrains to that frequency. I tried this a few times, but it left me really fuzzy headed and confused, like I was in a mind state where I had no business being. Maybe the technique didn't allow for enough transition in and out. Have you ever had any luck with this kind of approach?
Morda: I have done some work with binaural beats and find it very similar experience as the "Dream House" effect. The Dream House sound frequencies are actually somewhat similar to the binaural beat phenomena only instead of headphones they have 4 speakers situated throughout a room. But the concept of frequencies that are very close to each other this part is the same.
I've never really done any work with the different brain state recordings for like super learning or anything like that, I have usually used recordings that put you into a deep meditative space. I too have noticed still being in the space when maybe I shouldn't be there anymore. Robert Monroe, who first started making the binaural beat recordings used to have out of body experiences when working with the binaural beats and wrote a few books about that.
As a musician and also when working with sound I found myself in trance states when playing music, which is what let me to an interest in what we're discussing. I kind of got stuck at a point where I was trying to decide that I wanted to try to become more present in my body, I've never felt completely in my body, and over the last few years I find myself not listening to or playing music much, which is something I never would have imagined I would do.
Mr. Becos: You've also done some collaboration with another Michigan native, John Sinclair: the poet, White Panther, manager of the MC5 and noted jailbird. What was that like?
Morda: Playing with John was fun, John is a tireless worker and is basically always working on something.
Mr. Becos: Why is Detroit so fucked up? If any of our readers should visit there what are some things they should expect to see?
Morda: This one is hard for me to answer, I grew up about 20 minutes from Downtown Detroit but left 20 years ago. I've only been back a couple of times in the past 10 years. In Seattle, where I've spent the majority of the last 20 years you have a fairly large city that has a small area that is not so desirable to live in. I had been gone for three years and when I came back so much development went on (and is on-going) that it is hard to recognize some parts of the city. There's a famous picture of a billboard from the 60's that says "will the last person leaving please turn off the lights" or something similar. Seattle had a boom around the gold rush, than everyone left, then World War II Boeing was very prosperous, than by the 60's people were leaving, than the tech boom of the 90's. So there's been this migration of people moving back here, it's fairly rare to meet someone that actually grew up in Seattle.
So in Detroit you have kind of the opposite, In the 50's or so I think there was this big push to move to the suburbs then you had the riots of the late 60's which left a good portion of the downtown area pretty devastated. For at least 20 years there were hundreds of buildings that hadn't been touched since the riots. Around 15 years ago they tore down a lot of those buildings trying to rebuild and put in some casinos but I don't think this really helped to rebuild the city. When we moved to suburban Detroit in the 70's behind the house across the street from us was basically a large wooded area, 10-15 years later that was fully developed as was most of the area. There were neighborhoods much closer to Detroit that were also developing to the point where it was inevitable that development was going to move into the city and then I think the recession hit.
One thing I think you could expect, while going through neighborhoods in the city you'll see pretty shoddy looking houses, sometimes with boarded windows and weeds (or snow) in the yard and a brand new Cadillac in the driveway.