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Pop / Rock 28/01/2010

Van Gogh By Van Eck: Musical Interpretation Of Van Gogh's Paintings And Life Also Explores The Neural Phenomenon Of 'Synesthesia'

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media) - 'Van Gogh by Van Eck,' Dutch singer/producer Diederick van Eck's imaginative musical rendering of the art, life and passions of Vincent van Gogh, is also an exploration of the theory of "synesthesia," defined by neuroscientists as the ability to experience one type of sensory stimulus as another, e.g., "seeing" sounds as colors, or "hearing" colors as sounds. The album, which interprets the artist's life and writings in songs based on 12 of his most famous paintings, includes a deluxe, 44-page art book produced with the participation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Although it was once considered a neural aberration mainly reported in anecdotal accounts, in recent years synesthesia has been the subject of more rigorous scientific study. In a review of the subject in the scholarly journal Neuron, Edward Hubbard and V.S. Ramachandran of U.C. San Diego's Center for Brain and Cognition defined the phenomenon as "a condition in which stimulation of one sensory modality causes unusual experiences in a second, unstimulated modality. Although long treated as a curiosity," they write, "recent research with a combination of phenomenological, behavioral, and neuro-imaging methods has begun to identify the cognitive and neural basis of synesthesia."

Says 'Van Gogh by Van Eck' creator Diederick van Eck, "We all have synesthesia to a certain extent. When you hear a trumpet, you tend to say "yellow," never dark-red, which is more associated with the sound of the cello."

"For example," Van Eck says, "in the song 'Show Me What's Over the Bridge' (based on Van Gogh's "The Bridge in the Rain"), light green and yellow hues are reflected in the interplay between the lead and background vocals and in powerful lead guitar lines; and the frisky electronica beats that we hear in the beginning of the song reflect the gentle rain descending gracefully on the scene.

Listen to "Show Me What's Over the Bridge" here:

"In composing this song, I kept in mind that Van Gogh was hungry, young and in a highly creative phase of his life at the point this was painted. Therefore I wanted this song to be a cheerful, multi-layered composition. It reflects the strong and optimistic theme in the painting."

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