The Spiritual Arts Foundation

Michael Baird – Resonance Vibration Frequencies

May 3, 2024

Michael Baird

I am a drummer, composer, producer, field recordist, writer, photographer, and documentary film maker. I was born in what was then the British Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, since 1964 the Republic of Zambia.

Ohhh I had a carefree childhood, looked after by my African nanny who took me down the compound strapped on her back, music was omnipresent, part of everyday life, singing, clapping, drumming, the magical tinkling sound of the thumb-piano (now called ‘lamellophone’ by ethnomusicologists), xylophones.

And all that space – the bush was vast and unspoilt, the few roads largely unpaved. Until, aged six, I then had to go to school, and wear shoes. The school I went to was a ‘European’ school. My African friends went to an ‘African’ school, yes we got split up, and that reality hit hard: something deeply unfair was going on.

And to top it off, my parents always talked about ‘home’ being some far away place called England. But this was my home, the smell of the bush after the first rains, the sound of the birds and insects, the warmth of the people, with music for every occasion, fruits from the garden. From an early age I also listened to the colonial radio station, the likes of Harry Belafonte, Cliff Richard et al – I had my favourite songs – and then the Beatles took hold.

Out in the colonies it was if law and order was being challenged back in Britain, but I spent my saved-up pocket money managing to order the Beatles’ single ‘Twist and Shout’. And after about four months it arrived – in one piece!

Michael Baird drumming

After independence ‘repatriated’ to Britain aged 10, had to wear long trousers as well as a coat, and saw television. On ‘Top of the Pops’ for the first time saw the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks, the Who performing – wow! I decided then and there I wanted to be the drummer.

And when a little later Jimi Hendrix came on the scene, for me there was then no turning back: I was going to become a musician! After a couple of years my father got a job with Philips Electronics and the family moved to Holland. Went through secondary school, doing what was expected of me, but I can tell you it was utterly clear to me that music was by far the most superior form of communication. Music is a reality unto itself, hearing is the most sensitive of the senses. I discovered modern jazz, Messiaen, Scriabin, music from India, Indonesia, Tibet, Japan, Brazil – I soaked it all up.

And yet I went along with the indoctrination that I should go to university ‘to enrich my mind’: after a short spell at Leicester University studying Philosophy, I ceased being a pleaser and I left, and became a professional musician aged 20.

In 1984 I started my first own group: Sharp Wood. Because I heard a kind of ‘modern primeval’ music in my head. I started composing. My African childhood had caught up with me – in fact it had never gone away! Sharp Wood became known for its ritualistic approach and exorcistic rhythms, the group existed for 10 years. The beat is interlocking, everything you play is part of that whole, it’s about timing and dynamics, it’s about togetherness.

This has become known as ‘ubuntu’, you become a person through other people – a very deep African philosophy. I have also come to realise that rhythm is not only a series of beats, but is equally a series of spaces between the beats, so the gaps are as important as the hits. What you leave out is as essential as what you include: music must be able to breathe.

Michael Baird - Resonance Vibration Frequencies

Yes I see myself as a spiritual person, but I don’t like religion, because I don’t like uniforms, I don’t like dogmas, because I don’t like censorship. We are all part of a whole, everything is interconnected, we are all family. There is clearly energy and all living things part of it. To my mind, that energy is eternal – it is outside of time. We are all spirits and each cosmic spark goes on forever. And music also seems never-ending, it is a healing force that is both liberating and comforting. I count my blessings every day.

In 1987 I started my own record label, SWP Records, which releases 1. my own music, 2. music from central, eastern, southern Africa, and 3. anything else that is forgotten and beautiful. It’s a lot of work, but at least I don’t have some halfwit producer constantly looking over my shoulder saying ‘Michael, if we change some things we’ll make more money’.

As far as my own music goes, in all humility, I hope you like it. I try to create what I hear, I try to be original and production-wise I want it to sound really good. Each new project is different, I try to avoid repeating myself. And over the years I have made many field recording trips in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho: if I know about some beautiful music, that is otherwise unknown, then I want to share it with you – even if that means going out and recording it myself.

About my new album ‘Resonance Vibration Frequencies’: performed with touché and intuition, I play metal instruments and objects, recorded using a special microphone technique capturing every last vibration. So yes, this is metal music, not ‘Heavy Metal’ but more like ‘Light Metal’! Perhaps more than ever before, my point of departure was my old axiom ‘first silence, then music’.

This certainly is not fast music, and when you slow down your pace of life, introspection tends to increase – generally a good thing. The sounds are pure, Tibet is never far away, and you will hear thumb-pianos in a brand new setting. This album is meditative music, but the nine tracks also form a suite that tells a story. All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating.

Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterised by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibration of various underlying fields.

Michael Baird instruments

An interesting phenomenon occurs when different vibrating things/processes come into proximity: they will often start, after a little time, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They ‘sync up’, sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. Examining this phenomenon leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally.

All things resonate at certain frequencies. It’s all about vibrations. Let yourself become enveloped…

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The Spiritual Arts Foundation
The Spiritual Arts Foundation is dedicated to promoting arts related projects that specifically demonstrate a vision of spirituality at their core. We represent all positive and life-affirming spiritual and religious beliefs.
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