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We live in a web of sound and vibration. Some of the web falls within our hearing range, allowing us to be conscious of it, and some lies above (ultra sound) or below (infra sound), coursing through our bodies, affecting such functions as blood sugar levels, pulse rate, and muscle tension. We can feel deeply permeated by it, responding powerfully to both human sound and environmental sound.

The natural environment is particularly fascinating. Rivers, for example, are tangible physical presences, carrying layers of meaning. The sounds they create fall largely within our hearing range; we drink from them, absorbing them internally; we dive into them, feeling them on the skin; we watch the play of light on their constantly changing surfaces; smell them. They are accessible to all the senses, and we are affected by their energy, which creates a strong sense of connection.

But other environmental phenomena are inaccessible to our ears, vibrations in the ultra sound and infra sound ranges. These emanate from sources that affect us fundamentally””the sun, the ionosphere, the earth’s crust and core, trees””everything deeply integrated; an inaudible web within which we move, through which we live, and on which we depend. Through these sounds one can feel the energies generated not as concepts but as fields moving through one’s body. Such immersion can bring a feeling of at-oneness with the source of the sound, an antidote to our embedded but eroding sense of the world’s phenomena as purely material resources. And from that feeling of non-separation can come joy, caring, and, I believe, changes in how we act in the world.

About the Contributor

Annea Lockwood is known for her explorations of the rich world of natural acoustic sounds and environments, in works ranging from sound art and installations, through text-sound and performance art to concert music. Her music has been performed in venues and festivals around the world and has been issued on CD and online on the Lovely Music, Ambitus, EM, XI, Rattle, Lorelt, and Pogus labels.