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Michael Reiley McDermott is a composer, musician, producer and teacher. He facilitates sonic worlds in the traditions of sound therapy, sacred music, and Deep Listening®.

In his work, he explores the potential for emotional and spiritual interconnectedness through the synthesis of inner and outer soundscapes. Through this exploration, dimensions of listening consciousness are revealed, such as music for sleep, dreaming, meditation, therapy, movement, and focused states of attention/awareness. His music uses drones, binaural beat frequencies, color therapy, data sonification, field recordings, tape loops, sacred geometry, esoteric frequency ratios, alternate tuning systems, extended improvisations, sound healing instruments, and instruments like the piano, hand pan (hang drum), guitar, flute, and synthesizer.

Deep Listening® Teacher

Michael is a certified Deep Listening facilitator, having studied in the lineage of composer Pauline Oliveros. He currently teaches at the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also leads a weekly “meditation on sound” group that merges his training as a mindfulness teacher and the practice of Deep Listening.

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Listening Bodies

In 2018, Michael and his partner, choreographer and teaching artist Monica Gentile, started a project called Listening Bodies. This project grew out of his study of Deep Listening. The couple study somatic listening and movement in workshops, classes, and by creating media/dance pieces that explore further on these topics.

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As a sound therapist Michael has studied at the Music for Healing and Transition Program which trains musicians to play improvised music at the bedside of the sick and dying.

As a musician and producer, he has released over ten albums on labels such as Healing Sound Propagandist, Sacred Sea Records, Pregnant Void, NOREMIXES, and on his own Sound of Listening Imprint.

Michael works as a composer for Wavepaths, a platform providing music experiences for and as psychedelic therapy.

He is also the webmaster, blog editor, and podcast producer/host with Science and Nonduality.

For the past two decades, Michael has been a freelance composer creating music and sound design for art installations, performances, film, media, theater, and dance.

Music for Film & Video 7:51

A collection of original scores, sound design by Michael.

Music for Dance & Theater 7:02

A collection of original scores, sound design, and live performances by Michael (Mikronesia).

Recent projects include Echozoo, an archive of reimagined soundscapes of extinct animals and their habitats, and Celestial Music Box, a generative system that uses live star coordinate data to create sleep music.

Echozoo 0:44

Reimagining the sounds of earth’s past beyond a human scale, reconstructing the sound of extinct animals and their habitats, Echozoo connects listeners with the sounds of the distant past. Created with field recordings of living species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, these are digitally processed to re-create the sounds of their now-extinct relatives and recomposed into immersive audio experiences. These long-silenced voices are re-sounded and heard within an imagined soundscape of their habitats, encouraging us to hear imagined ecosystems together with these ancestors in a powerful meditation on nature and the current loss of biodiversity in our natural world.

Echozoo is an invitation to ‘hear’ the sound of the current global environmental crisis. Extinctions are quiet: they are the silencing of a species forever. As we enter into the largest extinction event since the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, such “imaginary” listening invites us to connect with these voices of extinction, to imagine the biodiversity of the past to engage the natural world around us now. Encouraging our connection to the sounds of nature, our surroundings, and the biodiversity around us, Echozoo is a musical project with a global mission.

Celestial Music Box 1:53

Using frequencies to represent relationships goes back to Pythagoras, who demonstrated the fundamental principles of geometry of the universe through a single-stringed instrument. The effect in the CELESTIAL MUSIC BOX is a deeply relaxing wash of sound; a particularly resonant ambience which invites a sense of wonder. Hearing music based on pure mathematical ratios is deeply refreshing and restorative to the modern mind, suspending the harmonic progressions we are accustomed to, we can enjoy the pure joy of frequencies, an ever-present sonic “now” that invites us to step out of our daily world and into the mystery of the cosmos.

It takes about 5 hours to play the entire night sky from horizon to horizon, so the Celestial Music Box is perfect for evening relaxation and drifting into sleep. The refreshing tones maintain a gentle ambience, particularly during hypnagogia or light sleep, that brings particularly restorative effects at the unconscious level.

Affiliations, Trainings & Traditions