22nd August 2010




Mandala Music
"Behind the Planets"

As I have promised you two month ago, one of the next newsletters will be about the “Mandala Music”.
I am fulfilling my promise now. At the same time I am deeply touched myself through the recovery of the materials. In search for texts, tapes and other documents I had to open some of the boxes moved from Germany to Poland, then to Germany again, then to Switzerland, then to Poland to a temporary place… and now moving to Lubkowo, hopefully to finish the journey here.
I have found a lot of forgotten text documents, working diaries, tapes, books and so on. Much more material I expected to find.


Since 1985, when I started to create “Mandala Music”  half of my l life has passed. When I look back it looks almost strange to myself how the whole thing began. But I do not want to stretch too much your attention and decided to split the “Mandala Music” newsletter into 2 – 4 parts.


Today I want to present to you the ideas behind “Mandala Music”. The text was written 25 years ago at the first peak of the “Chaos Theory” and at times of my intensive search for self-recognition. So please excuse some pathos… On the other hand the text did not lose anything of its validity. The chaos theory is now one of the fundaments of modern science.

The soundtrack is from the album “Mandala Music” which together with the spoken text by Mike Shiels from University of Heidelberg was presented as multimedia show at many occasions.

So please click on the link, close your eyes and dive into the world of “Mandala Music”:


(In all these compositions not a single note was set by a human hand. All compositions were created using algorithmic principles.)


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And here is the original text in written form and illustrated by some pictures. In search of a fractal generator I have found “Ultra Fractal” by Frederik Slijkerman, which is a perfect tool to explore fractals. It’s a pity I had to work with DOS “Fractint” 25 years ago…More about it in the resources part.


Tamas Mandala Music

The newly developed Tamas Mandala Music did not grow out of the inspiration and sentiments of human kind, it is much rather meta- and perhaps transpersonal in its character. The often surprising, sometimes also very strange world of sounds of the Tamas Laboratory is a reflection of natural phenomena whose very structure has amazed mankind since immemorial time.

Mandala Music

How often as a child or perhaps as a grown- up person, have you observed the rising smoke of a fire, the flowing water of a little brook, or the clouds playing with the rays of the sun?

Just as the unknown plains of the desert with its undulating dunes, the sight of a chain of mountains with its rocks and valleys, or the gently moving surface of the sea, the sounds of the Tamas Mandala evoke emotions of longing for unity with the universe, of endlessly changing forms, and of infinity with its inexhaustible potential. Everything becomes relative. Evaluations have no meaning here, just as no snowflake is more beautiful than another.

Fractal View of the World

We speak of a fractal view of the world which means that forms in different scales of ordering are similar and infinite, that they are recursive (patterns within patterns), that growth processes imply feedback or resonance (are intertwined).

Mandala Music
An example of a fractal zoom in a sequence.

An example: A cloud of steam has a form similar to that of clouds and these in turn have forms similar to clouds gathering on a satellite image. These qualities are very well portrayed in pictures of the Mandelbrot Set discovered by Benoit Mandelbrot, who coined the terms ‘fractal' and ‘fractal geometry'.

The Mandelbrot Set as number 1 in the sequence above.


Magnification as number 6 in the sequence above.

The Science of Chaos

The idea on the line of this kind of music has arisen out of a new view of a world which has been developed in recent years by biologists, physicists, astronomers, economists, and mathematicians.
Today this new kind of science which is gaining more and more importance is called chaos theory, because it enables us to find orderly structure underlying chaos. We speak of fractal geometry of nature, dissipative structures, determinist chaos, and strange attractors.

Mandala Music
Somewhere in the Mandelbrot Set...

These theories of chaos are being confirmed more and more by different branches of science which have suddenly been reduced to a common denominator. They all enable us to see the evolution of the individual, of mankind, and of the universe in a new light, whereby a mechanistic and static view of a ‘world of things' is being transformed into a world of ‘growth'. This holds hope of a dynamic world in which everybody is unique and the same time interconnected with everything else ‘by way of chaos'.

Mandala Music
A fractal structure used as an input for artistic work "In the Beginning".


The Principle of Conversion

But let us return to the Tamas Mandala Music.
Here are two examples of ‘chaotic' processes which can be heard by everyone: the dropping of rain and the sound of burning wood in the stove. Both have an effect which is relaxing, soothing, or exciting, because they reflect perpetual change or growth which is inherent in them.
Simple simulations of these processes are represented by wind harps or freely dangling bells which convert the flow of the air into sound. The music of the Tamas Laboratory is also produced according to this principle of conversion, only here as in the case of fractal pictures- the data is computerized.

As today we can more clearly understand chaos, it is possible to convert data into sounds better than any bells can. The sequences of sound are no longer that chaotic and the very complex interrelations can be made audible and visual. And it is also possible to explore an infinite variety of processes, including those that do not stem from this world. Is this the beginning of the ‘Glasperlenspiel' as described by Hermann Hesse? -> look up in Wikipedia <-

Mandala Music
"Tamas Mandala reg. 24-21.1"

The term ‘Tamas' is derived from the name of the laboratory/theatre where the music originated.
Here it was used in experimental theatre and in processes leading to an expansion of consciousness.

The music is called Mandala because the sounds can be simultaneously graphically illustrated on a computer screen: Colored fractal mandalas in an infinite variety of forms arise.

Mandala Music
Examples of actual “Mandalas” used in compositions of “Mandala Music”.

Specific mathematical systems on measuring data or physical research results underlay this kind of music. They are used to compute series of figures, these in turn are converted into musical scores and mostly interpreted in a meditative nature.
Out of this arises pieces ranging from ‘The Wheel' which turns on its own, a voyage into the waves of breath or the ocean, exotic rhythms of the jungle, to an invitation by the universe.
The music is quite harmonious at times, but it can also become apocalyptic. The boundaries of chaos are most sensitive and here nothing can be foreseen. The data must be simply computed item by item, and even after the last item has been computed, we do not know how the things are going to continue.

The Way to Self-Recognition

But gradually, after one has freed oneself from all expectations as to human-made music, a kind of intuition unfolds itself, a premonition as to how certain structures are going to behave. Here the meaning of the word ‘Tamas' which has been derived from Sanskrit comes into play: The recognition of things in its own inherent dynamics and the turning back of the mind which has been searching in the outer world on its own consciousness.

New Dimensions

The Tamas Laboratory tapes ( now CDs and mp3 ) which are available at the present time can be used for meditation, trance dance, deep relaxation, body and breath work, changed states of consciousness; the music can carry us along over a long period of time, the mind not being distracted by emotionally charged structures.

Mandala Music
"Opening reg 3-50.8"

The music encourages us to accept and to trust the psychic processes taking place within ourselves.
Thus we can enter into very new and unknown dimensions of the self. Probably this is
only the beginning of this kind of music which tries to build up a bridge between art and science...

Mandala Music
"Inner Trust"

I have found some interesting material on Youtube about the chaos theory and fractals.
Arthur’s Clarke documentary “Fractals-The colors of Infinity” is probably one of the best in its kind.


Here are is the link to these external resources:


Mandala Music


In the next newsletters I want to share with you the fascinating history behind “Mandala Music”, starting from my youth and ending in the present activities. Especially the section on AudioStrobe will be covered more in detail touching the field of synesthesia as an introduction to AudioVisual Art section soon to be opened at the AudioStrobe shop.


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2010 © by Andrzej Slawinski