Dr. Ishtaya's experimental music inhabited new dimensions of consciousness long before Fresh Ears was developed...

The following three compositions are representative of one "flavour” of my musicking [Musicking = music-making (v)] from the years surrounding the completion of my doctoral degree, a flavour I'd call "experimental music". This is just one “flavour” of my musicking, which encompasses many genres and idioms.


hearing Piece for Non-Local Butterfly


Piece for Non-Local Butterfly is a global listening piece from 2016, with listeners listening simultaneously all around the world, while 5 performers performed simultaneously in India, America, and Europe. It’s tale (which organically interwove itself with the passing of the late, great Pauline Oliveros, whom the piece was dedicated to) is told in depth in Appendix A (page 559) of “Bioresonance and the Implicate in Musicking”.  It is highly recommended reading, not because I wish for people to read my writing, but because the synchronistic events which occurred around this performance were extraordinary in a way that should be witnessed, especially in light of the nature of the composition. I definitely never could have planned these.

In brief: 

Piece for Non-Local Butterfly is a musical illustration of quantum reality: life as holographic simultaneity outside of time and space, and the synchronicities which emerge organically from that. 

The performers rehearsed a meditative embodied process, which was designed to facilitate the emergence of intrinsic awareness, and not conscious volition, as the organic instigator and organizer of musical expression during performance.

You might say that the score I gave them was a method for getting “them” out of the way, so that the quantum field could organize the music “through” them.

Performers were instructed not to coordinate or communicate about any aspect of the performance beforehand. As they could not hear each other during performance, any/all musical synchronicities heard in the recording are purely a by-product of the quantum field, in concert or symbiosis with the curated emergence of intrinsic awareness (facilitated by the process of the composition), and not any conscious volition on the composers’ or performers’ parts1

In other words, the performers all performed the piece at precisely the same moment, as coordinated via global clock, and thus the recording represents a sonification, or chaoscopy, if you will, of the natural synchronicities of the quantum field at that particular moment, as curated by the composition. From this understanding, the listening of the listeners globally also had a subtle, unmeasurable influence upon the final musical product, as did every action of every reader of this text at that moment, whether or not they were consciously aware that the piece was being performed.

2022 Update: As of 2022, the recording featured includes all 5 performers, as they are. The experiences of performers Jesus Asenjo Gonzalez' and Marie Valigorsky are shared here.


hearing Drinking Water by the Selling


Drinking Water by the Selling is a very personal piece; after a deep and personal spiritual experience in 2015, I took a section from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (which had been very important to me during this period), and passages from my journal drawn from the same time period.

I used these to generate two text cut-up scores, utiizing the I CHING and chance operations in the process. I performed these in the studio, producing the sound you hear in the left and right channels of this recording. 

I then danced in all black against a white wall as I listened to these. A webcam and computer programmed to transform my movements into sound generated the water sounds you hear in the central channel. 

There is thus a chain of causation between my experience, the two texts, the chance operations, and my embodied process as I moved, just as life is a chain of causation between “captured” or “frozen” knowledge, and “realized” knowledge, on the one hand, and indeterminacy and improvisation, on the other.  

The title lampoons a traditional phrase, “selling water by the river”, which in turn lampoons the commodification of life in any form, when it is intrinsically free, both in terms of commodity value, as well as in terms of basic phenomenological condition. 


hearing PHI X 174


PHI X 174, from 2014, is produced from the genome of a virus, which is particularly short, the byproduct being that we can experience basically the entire genome musically in a reasonable period of time. 

In contrast, the human genome, realized using the same software, would have taken over 40 years to listen to (I couldn’t see myself in the position to sit through this entire performance, nor could I see the disklavier surviving it.) 

In my opinion, one can prove the nature of quantum reality, in one’s own experience. It is a holographic simultaneity - one may simply observe the various vibrational systems in interactivity, as well as their occurrence in the moment as a simultaneity of process, and not a resultant of a linear chain of events (although linear chains of causation appear to occur within the larger whole of this simultaneity, and are thus intrinsically part of the conditioned psychological experience of humanity phenomenologically. One may sort through this in one's own experience if one spends some time patiently observing which phenomena come and go, and which remain in experience, and the patterns of emergence therein2.) Is there an experience prior to this conditioned human psychological experience? There may be more answers to this question than humans could ever articulate.

Each of these three compositions, in their own unique way, explores the terrain outlined in the above paragraph, if explored thoroughly enough. 


[1] Obviously within certain philosophical and theoretical limitations, as an act of volition on my part scored and manufactured the piece to be a process which facilitated this.

As a composer I had been asked to explore every conceivable strategy for manipulating sound, for shaping it into a sonorous object, in my career. And now, I am inviting the world to explore Allowing Sound to Be As It Is phenomenologically, and what emerges from that - I imagine my professors may have wondered if I had really learnt what they had set out to teach me. ;)

Is it wisdom to take the imprint “as it is”, or through the prism of one’s understanding? Vibration as it is, and the imprint of the world “as it is”, represents the contrast upon which the entire Fresh Ears work expands somatically. From one perspective, it is wisdom to drop the unnecessary filters, and explore what the possibilities are from there. From another perspective, it is wisdom to adopt the pattern of filtration which is one’s idiosyncratic signature within the vibrational “soup” of existence - one’s “self" as it is - not necessarily to filter what comes in, but to filter, or shape, or compose, what goes out. Of course wisdom expands far beyond this, and is not limited by it, but it is a good starting place, in my own experience. ;) 

[2] This subject is unpacked thoroughly in "Bioresonance and the Implicate in Musicking", which presents a series of attentional processes in symbiosis with intellectual exploration. Refer specifically to page 81 for a continuation of the above discussion.

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