Unu: Spirit of Water

“Unu: Spirit of Water”--- 8-Channel Sound Installation by Gary Kendall

Listen: UnuStereoExcerpt.mp3
Download: UnuStereoExcerpt.aiff.zip

Meditation on Water and Light

Visitors to the sound installation are invited to sit and practice this meditation while visiting the installation.

1. Visualize that there is sunlight above you. Invite the energy of that light to come down through the top of your head. Visualize that it gathers in the center of your head in the area behind the ‘third eye.” This is the location of the pineal gland and the center of the third eye chakra.
2. Visualize that there is water running underneath of you. Invite the energy of that water to rise up inside of you. Visualize that it runs all the way up the inside of the back and into the head.
3. Visualize that the energy of the water and that of the light combine in the center of your head. The interaction of these energies has the capacity to create a third energy, one of golden light.
4. Experience letting the third eye chakra and your pineal gland be bathed in the energy. You may experience the energy flowing to other places in the body where it is needed.


I was on Mt. Shasta making environmental field recordings when aiming my shotgun mic, I heard singing off in the distance. At first, thinking that there were people just over the hill, I walked in the direction of the sound until I realized that the singing was emerging from a curved embankment where the running water had pooled. Somehow the physical features were just right for the water to resonate and create a kind of rapid singing voice. The field recordings I made that day become the basis of this sound installation.

Making the those recordings taught me a great deal about the music in natural running water: the pitch rising from the resonant channels carved in the earth and the rhythms emerging from the water’s passage over the ground’s irregularities. In making this composition, my goal was not so much to use technology to manipulate the sound of water as it was to bring out as its inner character.

While the sound of “Unu” invites the listener to contemplate the many timbres and rhythms highlighted from within the water, the many acoustic objects that inhabit the space reflect the instrumentation and techniques employed in the study and manipulation of the water’s sound. Water itself is present sensing and commenting.

Being on Mt. Shasta during the recording of the water reminded me of the mountains of Peru where I had spent many memorable days studying with Peruvian Shamans. The constant running water present on the land was just one of the similarities. “Unu” is for me a meditation on water as an elemental spiritual energy. Its sacred power eludes the grasp of our instrumentalities. When we as human beings are fully engaged with it, it has the power to break down our rigid structures and to open our lives for reorganization and replenishment.


“Unu” is designed as a sound installation that runs continuously spinning out variations on itself with no beginning or end. It is best presented in a darkened, empty, acoustically dry and isolated room with 8 loudspeakers arranged around the outside. Listeners have the freedom to enter and leave at any time. The meditation is available on sheets just outside the exhibit that visitors can pick up on the way in.

Copyright 2006. garyskendall@me.com