Skip navigation

The main reason I love the Environments series is because the recording company, Syntonic Research, trumps the hell out of setting a couple of microphones on a beach and hitting record on a reel-to-reel. Or, in the case of the Vol. 4, which is posted here, setting microphones on a windowsill during a rainy day. Don’t get me wrong, the albums provide a very cool listening experience and relax to the max. But I just don’t know if they warrant quite the amount of praise from national magazines strewn about the album cover and, most of all, Syntonic Research themselves.

The album sleeve and the back cover are devoted to extolling the virtues of high fidelity field recordings, which is all Environments really is. It’s very nice field recordings. The first side of the album sleeve lists all sorts of therapeutic benefits of listening to these field recordings, including Noise Masking, Solitude, Socializing, Study Habits/Concentration/Reading Comprehension, Natural Highs, Meditation/Alpha Waves/Self-Hypnosis, Sex, Relaxation, Tension Headache Relief, and the effects on Infants/Animals/Plants.

Here’s detailed content on a couple of them.

Natural Highs

High Times Magazine worried that the FDA might eventually ban Environments as “highly addictive” and might even wish to make them a “controlled substance.” Although the comment was facetious, the fact is that many people have commented that Environments are a “natural high” in both senses of the term. SR knows exactly what they mean, in that our research is, for the large part, based on this phenomenon. If you live in the city and only hear machines, electronic noise, and other people, pristine natural sounds can truly have the effect of a “natural high” and, although it bends your minds a bit to consider it, sound can get you high.

I remember back in middle school there was this rumor that smoking banana peels could get you high. Of course you had to do some crazy preparation of the peel, like cooking it in the oven at 420 degrees for 3 days or something to unleash the hidden spirits. No one actually knew anybody that had gotten high off of banana peels, but everyone was convinced it was possible. Oh, it was definitely possible.

The claims by Syntonic Research remind me of those kids in middle school who swore by the banana peel high. “Oh yeah man, like, you just didn’t listen to it right. You gotta, like, turn the treble all the way up and invert the stereo sound and mute the frequencies between 675 and 1013 hz. Just do that and YOU WILL TOTALLY TRIP BALLS, man.”

You’ll trip balls just as hard as you would from eating, snorting, smoking or keistering nutmeg. Nutmeg, The Taste Of A Generation.


Utilizing Environments in a dark room is always a delight. That dark room can be anywhere and, if you happen to be engaged in lovemaking, a bed or sofa is usually not where your imagination really wants to be. Imagine how nice lovemaking would be in a meadow, without mosquitos and burrs to contend with. Imagine making love aboard a schooner on the high seas, without worrying about a hurricane or a reef. Get the idea?

We have found that our heartbeat recording does have a special relationship to sex, however. This particular sound actually seems to slow down and synchronize the act of lovemaking in a way not experienced by most people. It works for almost everyone and is a unique experience.

What I’d really love is for Syntonic Research to make a record of a fat man’s heartbeat after he consumed a pulled pork sandwich with a Steel Reserve to wash it down. Something like the following video, courtesy of YouTube’s fatmansmoking2, would do quite nicely.  It would totally give me the confidence to attempt the “Generous Stranger” on my special ladyfriend during our sweet sofa lovemaking .


In terms of plant growth, we have received considerable mail telling us that specific Environments seem to be effective, particularly meditation-type sounds and flowing water. Try putting a plant in front of one of the speakers for a day or two and see what happens. Best results seem to occur with one hour exposures to sounds having low frequency content. You might consider utilizing two identical plants, if you wish to experiment. Put one by a speaker and one in another room.

I’m pretty sure I can guess who sent those letters to Syntonic Research.

Syntonic Research also includes a bunch of testimonials from satisfied clients, because the quasi-scientific gloatings of their marketing team just weren’t enough. Here’s one of the best:

Very mellow. Had a lot of fun with this one. Could create a very peaceful environment for reading or meditating or could create a lively, thought-inspiring mood, just buy turning knobs. Far Out!

Stella Garnicki

Mt. View, CA

Computer Operator

 I don’t trust anyone who lists their occupation as computer operator.

Oh, you’re a computer operator, you say? What operations are you executing on this computer, madam?

“Oh, I send and receive various important datas.”

Interesting, what does your computer look like?

“Well, it has a long, long keyboard.”

Oh, that’s peculiar. What else can you tell me about your computer?

“Well, it’s approximately one cubic yard and composed of wrought iron, mainly.”

Wrought iron?

“Yes, wrought iron. It’s very sturdy. And it has a water-powered turbine which excites the electric lamp for nights when I must ‘burn the midnight oil,’ if you will.”


“Yes, it was constructed by a local blacksmith. Dell, I think is his name.Yes, I’m quite certain it was Dell.”

Ah, that make sense.

Ms. Stella Garnicki enjoying a lively, thought-inspiring mood.

>>>Click here to download Environments Vol. 9 on MP3. Just don’t get addicted, man.

Syntonic Research’s Listening Instructions:

Side A: Caribbean Lagoon

Balance speaker volume so that insect sounds are equally balanced between the speakers. Optimum results are achieved at very low volume settings. Tree crickets can be eliminated by reducing treble.

Side B: Pacific Ocean

Wait three minutes for volume to reach maximum and adjust to a comfortable level at that time. Reduce bass if ocean sound is too powerful in the low frequencies. Balance between speakers should produce equal loudness on both channels.