What is a sound meditation? 

Ahh, good question.

In many kinds of meditation the focus is on the breath. Your mind starts to wander? Return to the breath. Feeling bored? Breath. Itchy eyebrow? Breath. It’s an exercise — training your mind to stay in the present moment, to release your thoughts, to be active in your attention.

Sound meditation follows from here. Instead of focusing on the breath, you focus on sound. You are a fox in a field, ears perked up. Sounds come in waves — one after another, and you let them roll in and out. You might have the urge to identity them: “Yup, definitely the Magic Bullet. Great blending . . . smoothie I bet.” This takes you away from the sound. Give your language skills a rest, and just hear the sounds, without labeling. Pay attention to your body – do the sounds make you feel anything in your body? What are the changes in tone? Direction? You might be surprised how subtle sounds suddenly jump out at you.

Why sounds? 

I started this project while on an artist residency in upstate New York. I wanted to get to know my surroundings and do it with sound. I’d never spent an hour recording bunnies before, or followed someone in silence as they pick blueberries, or crouched in the rain by tall grass recording the wind. It’s a way to get closer to this place — the farm, animals, environment, and people.

The other answer: When I learned about sound meditation I breathed a sigh of relief. There was a bit of multitasking ego-self in there (“I can meditate and improve my skills as a sound producer at the same time! Bonus!”). But it’s come to be a very helpful tool for me in learning to meditate. It works for me. I can really let go of thinking and get into those sounds. These sounds are a meditation for me and and for you.

What does SOGS stand for? 

Straight out of the Ground Sounds. Straight out of the Ground is the name of the farm where I did my residency. The vegetables and herbs and produce are wicked fresh, hence the name. The SOGS were recorded here — and were based on my experience up here  — observing the environment, culture and community.

Did you only record sounds on the farm? 

No, I also recorded sounds across the street, down the road, around the corner, in town, downtown and in places nearby. The farm was\s my home base and my staging ground.

What does this farm grow? Where do they sell? 

This farm is the opposite of mono-cropping. So much is coming out of this dirt! Carrots, beans, watermelon, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, onion, garlic, kale, a ton of other kinds of greens, lettuce, basil, a bunch more herbs, cabbage, squash, corn, beets, radishes . . . and a lot more things too.

Madalyn Warren, the super-farmer here, does two CSAs in NYC, sells at the local Farmers Market, and sells to lots of restaurants. If you live in Greenpoint or Far Rockaway, you should totes sign up for her CSA.

More questions? Email me: cassie.wagler@gmail.com 

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