QUALIATIK’s “Physicality” Is So Much More Than An Extra Credit Assignment

The Haverford neuroscience student drops a sweeping ode to music’s potential for escape.

November 17, 2015

Arielle Herman is a singer, songwriter, producer, and visual artist from the suburbs of Philadelphia. In addition to her creative portfolio, she's also a neuroscience student at Haverford College, an institution that gave Herman a grant to pursue the creative application of music and interactive technology in her field of study. Enter: QUALIATIK. The moniker is rooted in academic jargon: 'qualia' being the Latin term for subjective experience, which explains the varying interpretation of feelings and emotions as they are refracted through the lenses of previous experiences and personality. The initial QUALIATIK experience involved projecting the audience's brainwaves onto the walls of a creative space via EEG sensors, as they were influenced by music. This in turn effected the qualia of both the musicians and the audience. But if that all sounds a little high-concept, don't worry, the music stands its own ground without an explanatory placard. Honestly, this is a rare example of a science project that doesn't make your eyes glaze over after hearing a couple expository sentences.

QUALIATIK's first single, "physicality," is an ode to music's escapist potential wherein Herman sweetly asks a slew of prescient questions: What about the dreams we had? What about the thoughts we'd escape to? What about the things we hide just to fake it through the truth? The song's takes inspiration from drum and bass, vaporwave and vocal-driven pop to build an introspective, thoughtful banger. "Is music a way to avoid depression, practicality, boredom?," Herman continued her line of questioning in conversation with The FADER: "Does the need to be creative come from a place of delusion or is it possible to make your passion into your life?" All of these questions and more will hopefully be answered when QUALIATIK drops off her debut EP, with a release anticipated in 2016. Until then, check out 'physicality' below.

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QUALIATIK’s “Physicality” Is So Much More Than An Extra Credit Assignment