Synaesthesia: How people with the condition can taste colours, feel sounds and overwhelmingly make music


Emily Jupp writes .....

People with synaesthesia have an extra layer of sensory perception – and some are pop superstars.

When Lowell, a Canadian electro-pop musician, listens to “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, she sees a wave of blue water crashing over her.

When she hears the experimental group Animal Collective, the layered synths, clicks and vocals in the music create multiple textures and colours, so listening becomes like looking through a kaleidoscope. The video for the new song “Cloud 69” taken from her debut album, We Loved Her Dearly, is a disturbing montage of twirling burlesque dancers, overlaid with leopard prints, staring female eyes and mottled Aztec patterns. It isn’t the vision of some avant-garde director, but a direct representation of what Lowell saw when she was composing the music.

Lowell is one of many musicians with synaesthesia, which occurs in around .....

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