Masaki Batoh created the Brain Pulse Music Machine to process brain waves into pulses that relay sound and turn the brain into a musical instrument.
Masaki Batoh created the Brain Pulse Music Machine to process brain waves into pulses that relay sound and turn the brain into a musical instrument. (Minoru Tsuyuki /Pitch Perfect PR )
If you go

What: Masaki Batoh's Brain Pulse Music

Where: Black Box Theater, ATLAS Institute, 1125 18th St., Boulder

When: Friday, April 26. 7:45 p.m. for University of Colorado students, faculty or staff; 9 p.m. for Communikey pass-holders

Tickets: Free for anyone with CU ID or Communikey pass

Info: or

Most musicians say their music comes "from the heart." But Masaki Batoh's music comes from the brain. Literally.

The experimental musician from Japan invented the Brain Pulse Music (BPM) Machine, a device that processes brain waves into "pulses" that relay sound and, thus, turn the brain into a musical instrument.

He used the process on his 2011 album, Brain Pulse Music, which was released on the Drag City label. The album, which combines the sounds of the BPM machine with traditional Japanese folk music, was released as a requiem for the lives lost in Japan's Great East earthquake. The quake not only led to the deaths of more than 15,000 people, but it forced Batoh and his family to relocate.

An acupuncturist by trade, Batoh envisioned the BPM machine being used as a "therapeutic" device for those affected by the earthquake, allowing listeners to spiritually connect with their thoughts.


Batoh will demonstrate his musical technique on Friday, April 26, when he performs two shows at the ATLAS Institute's Black Box Theater on the University of Colorado campus. His 7:45 p.m. show will be for CU students, faculty and staff. His 9 p.m. performance is for Boulder's Communikey Festival and its pass-holders.

During Batoh's performance, he will connect the BPM machine to a "test subject" from the audience and perform medical and psychological tests to see what sounds their brain waves make. Combining the pulses from the BPM machine with sounds from a theremin, Batoh hopes to provide a spiritual experience for the audience.

"The audience's experience depends on each person's spiritual nature," Batoh wrote during an interview conducted via email. "If they could keep themselves totally free, they could get to the other side and be awoken and reborn."

Batoh warns of the dangers of an audience member not opening up to the transcendence of the experience.

"If the audience can't leave themselves, nothing will happen," Batoh said. "Visibility is evil. Just believe your own nature."

Kate Lesta, creative and managing director for the Communikey organization, believes Batoh fits well with the theme for this year's Communikey Festival, "Hello, Stranger!" The theme, Lesta said, reflects the disconnect between human beings in today's "hyper-mediated" world.

"Our goal is to facilitate intimacy between the artists, the audience, the spaces we are in and the types of performances we are watching " she said.

Lesta believes Batoh's BPM performance accomplishes their goal by allowing the audience to collectively introspect through hearing their own brain waves.

"The whole BPM performance is an extremely intimate performance, exploring the sound of our inner world," Lesta said. " I think it will be a challenging experience for our audience."