The 2000s saw the development of a repressive use of sound, symptomatic of our society and of the porosity between the military industry and the entertainment business.
Lalafallujah is the nickname given by our R & D department to our maintenance room.
In 2004, in the city of Fallujah in Iraq, the GIs were bombing the streets of the city with trash metal at full volume. "It was like sending a smoke grenade, said a spokesman of the U.S. Army. The objective was to disorient the enemy and make him confused, to take a tactical advantage over him. If you can hinder the enemy all night, its ability to fight is compromised". A musical update of the Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalypse Now by Francis F. Coppola.
From the fantasies of infrasound guns, up to the records of the bands Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer or Anthrax broadcast at high volume for torturing prisoners, we see that the sound range is as wide as dangerous.
If the leading countries in this area seem to be clearly the United States and Israel, France is not far behind with world renowned companies, especially for the production of stun grenades which are provided to army, police and gendarmerie for their law enforcement operations.
These grenades are known as "distraction grenade device". As these acoustic grenades are invisible, nobody has seen them. But some demonstrators have experienced the effects without necessarily identifying the cause. The sound pulse is 160 dB, 15 meters away, while the threshold of pain is 140 dB. These devices are not without consequences for health: in 2010, in France, sixteen policemen were injured at drill, mainly with hearing disorders, during a training session in Saint-Astier with these famous grenades.
Beyond 140 dB, sound can cause nausea, dizziness, tinnitus, increased heart rate. The effects are worsened by a sudden change of sound pressure.
The influence of low frequencies on the body has been particularly studied by NASA to control their negative impact on astronauts. Sounds below 100 Hz are bothersome from 150 dB. There is no mention of hearing loss, and in any event the legend of the "brown note", supposed to induce involuntary defecation, by infrasonic magic, is not at all confirmed; everybody can go and demonstrate without any fear on this side.
The film industry has also made use of the infrasonic frequencies. On many sequences, particularly in the first half hour of the soundtrack of his film Irreversible, director Gaspar Noe has added a 27 Hz infrabass to emphasize an incomprehensible feeling of fear in the audience
In an interview for the movie, Gaspard Noé explained:
"You feel so weird that we could have simply shown a cat drinking milk and it was still terrifying. You would not understand why but it is because of the low frequencies."
The strength of sound is that we do not see it. A truism familiar to musicians, sound mixers, but also to our security forces.
Weary of Lalafallujah trash metal, that threatened his sanity, our chief developer, creator of iTak and of Telemak, ended up designing, in his spare time, listening to the 9th, for his own use and the comfort of his ears, iBeethoven, a peacemaker preamp with special headphone, to annihilate the nuisance up to 165 dB (the principle, patent pending, goes far beyond a simple phase opposition). This system is of great interest for the army and for some union leaders, whose hearing losses are proportional to the number of their participations in demonstrations.