Sencity: Bass Balloons
November 7, 2011 by Zoe
Have you ever held a balloon inside a nightclub or rave – or muddy field for that matter – and discovered that it resonates delightfully with the music? The sac of air acts like a natural amplifier for sound waves, and low wave frequencies in particular. Most pleasing.
Being a sound junkie, I am particularly fond of amplifying bass whenever I can (if you are a friend on Facebook, you will know that I list “turn up the bass” as her religious belief).
For the past two years, we have given away Free Bass whenever our antics take us in the vicinity of a thumping sound system – at Green Man revelers were particularly fond of them.
One of the curious things about the bass balloons is that people either instantly understand the point, love them and hold them dear – or they simply don’t understand at all what the balloons are meant to do. Interesting – the reaction is almost entirely all or none. Binary, you could say.
When we heard about Sencity – a Dutch-born club night where 35 per cent of the audience is profondly deaf, and another third are hearing impaired in some way – we just had to pop down to give some bass away. Club nights, such as deaf raves, that cater for the non-hearing community boast some of the heaviest basslines you’ll ever hear, and feature tasty treats that focus on the tactile nature of sound, such as vibrating dance floors. (Deaf people, remember, can still appreciate and love music because they possess the same neural circuitry in the brain that hearing people do.)
We had a hunch that the balloons would go down a storm.
Did they ever – we’ve never seen people get the point so quickly, or enjoy our invention so much.
Read more about Sencity in Zoe’s piece for the New Internationalist here.