ecstasis, title of composition steven berkowitz cd cover
E C (s) T A S I S  
d e t a i l s


E C (s) T A S I S
©2008 (Remix) Steven Berkowitz / Fluid Music (634479780998) (format: CD-R)

Classic Ambient/ Organic Music derived from patterns in water, perfect for relaxation, contemplation or inspiration


Ec(s)tasis is a slowly evolving sound piece that takes half an hour to move from very slow to very fast. All the while, the underpinning is a ‘seed’ phrase of 19 notes in a pattern of This creates a diverse yet unified piece.

This pattern itself is derived from a photographic sequence of ripples in water.  Fractal variations of the 19 note ‘seed’ are overlaid to create a myriad of sonic textures, from very elongated and slow to very fast and pizzicato. The patterns eventually get so fast and so dense that the notes loose their individuality and merge into a single ‘cloud’ of sound that is quite like the introductory slow phrases.

The (s)tasis score picks up where Ec(s)tasis ends and moves further into sonic space.

This music creates a great ambient background for use in a studio to stimulate people who are being creative. Both Ec(s)tasis and (s)tasis together make a perfect soundtrack for intimacy.


The philosophical implication is that everything is made of the same stuff, no matter how different it may appear on the surface.


The inspiration for these pieces is photographic series of leaves floating in water. These photos are analyzed with computer and a process called ‘sonification’ is used to translate their structure into sound. More specifically, the placements of the leaves in visual space are used to determine the placement of notes in musical space.  Because the source is organic structure, the resulting music is a very fluid experience.


Fractals are the vocabulary of Lateral Imaging. They are the product of Fractal Geometry, a mathematical language formulated by Benoit Mandelbroit to describe and study the complexities of nature’s shapes. Fractals mimic the structure of the natural world. One key characteristic is self-similarity. They remain consistent in form regardless of the scale at which they are observed. Parts of the whole are contained in every section. The entire object is a self-referential system [see Lateral Imaging].


A fractal structure is generated from a seed by replacing each single element with either the whole or parts of the original seed. In the case of the pieces recorded here, the seed is a phrase of musical notes in a pattern of 3 4 3 4 5. Replacing each note with a packet of notes either 3, 4 or 5 notes long forms a second-generation fractal melody. A third-generation fractal melody is constructed by applying the same process to this second-generation fractal, and so on. The resulting modules can then be overlaid in various ways to create extended compositions. The inherent self-similarity produces both harmonic and temporal reinforcement. This creates compelling music.


Additional mathematical tools such as Fibonacci Proportions, exponentiation, and metamorphosis, are used to construct compositions that serve as platforms for the presentation of aesthetic philosophies such as Lateral Imaging, Compound Perception and Extended Time (see below). Mathematics, however, is only a tool, just as is a guitar or keyboard. Technology must be used to express emotion. It is not until the music transcends its formal characteristics that it becomes truly evocative.


The environment of the EC(s)TASIS and (s)TASIS music is Extended Time; the time between the ticks of the clock. Berkian music resides in extended time and creates a condition of listening that taps the deepest resources. It removes the listener from present time and place, allowing the imagination to move into new realms.

The slow evolution of the composition invites the listener to pay even closer attention to the details, seducing them into a more intimate relationship with the music. This music links artist and audience, suspending them on a journey of shared emotions and source memories. As with dreams and myths, extended time music can overcome resistance to forgotten powers and images.


The presentation of variations of a single image or related images forces the audience to use ‘Compound Perception’ to absorb all the information. This helps remove us from our typical linear mode of thought to employ lateral thinking.


When an image is perceived simultaneously through multiple senses, such as organic patterns derived from ripples in water presented as both photographs and sound, an experience called ‘Synaesthesia’ can occur. This is a profound ecstatic mood. Since the sound is created by natural patterns the human body begins to vibrate with sympathetic vibrations. This can be a powerful healing force. A resonance is created that intimately connects the artist and audience. This can become an emotional inspiration.


Lateral Imaging is a way of seeing the world. It is a philosophy that links our perception, conception and emotion. Lateral Imaging views the world as a field of coincidental events, each affecting all others, everything connected in an intimate way. The way all the packet fractal modules in EC(s)TASIS and (s)TASIS overlay is a model of this philosophy. This is an example of ‘Compound Perception to realize Lateral Imaging’.


The bottom line of this and all of Berkowitz’s work is to show how we are totally integrated with our world, not standing outside looking in. The patterns of nature are the same as the patterns of life in general. The patterns of our intellect determine our view of the world, i.e. our world creates us so we can create our world. This unity is the essence of Lateral Imaging.


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