The Village Voice: Sounds That Stimulate

Concerto for Clitoris


LOS ANGELES — On the fourth floor of an elegant old building, in the very same apartment that once was home to Shirley Temple’s movie-mother, nitrous oxide felon Ken Schaffer stumbles between two bedrooms, lurching over a mass of flashing electronic equipment in one, and a thin placid young woman, lying spread-eagle nude on the wired four poster bed in the other.


The apartment is disarray. Looking like a mad Zapata Rasputin, Schaffer squints toward a mirror which reflects the face of an oscilloscope, and zeroes in over the girl, who murmurs a devil-may-care giggle while Schaffer, half blinded by ouzo, removes a cigar-thick “transponder” from a jar of electrode gel and dips it smoothly into her vagina.

Ranging determinedly over heaps of soda bottles, carelessly discarded alpha-wave headsets, and pounds of frayed snaking cables, Schaffer zips into the adjoining laboratory and fires up a pre-programmed music synthesizer. Momentarily, the mechanical pencil of a chart recorder begins recording the nearly incredible phenomenon of “sympathetic clitoral resonance.”

Schaffer is experimenting with “bio-resonances” a process whereby organs of the body and mind respond sympathetically (automatically) to the excitations of specific sound vibrations. Last year he perfected a method of stimulating the large intestine with 27 cycle sine-waves. Shortly thereafter, at a party in an acquaintance’s Bel-Air mansion, he demonstrated the effects of his circuits — causing massive pile-ups to the bathrooms in what he insisted was a serious experiment.

Now. with intestinal success tucked under his belt, he’s gone on, It took him two months to uncover the right combinations of frequencies to effect clitoral stimulation Since then, he’s taken a leave of absence from his gig as “propaganda minister’ for Douglas Communications — Douglas Records and the hit film, “El Topo” — to go full time at his experiments.

To synthesize sympathetic resonance, nothing more than an average tape or record deck is needed — provided a pre-recorded tape or record is available which produces the necessary tones.

Though Schaffer’s laboratory is loaded with about $35,000 worth of equipment, nearly all of it is unnecessary after the original synthesis is recorded. The maze of wires leading to Jessica, he explains, is only for analysis.

The crucial factor, Schaffer explains absently, is in “frequency heterodynes,” or the combination tone created by two or more separate tones “beating together.” One is a sine-wave (shaped like the waveform of a flute) the other a sawtooth wave. “You get good sawtooths from violins,” he added, cueing up a Doug Kershaw record. “On a couple of these tracks, you can sort of get the idea of the effect by feeling Jessica’s clitoris when the violin beats against the bass.”

Speakers blaring toward the bed, Kershaw’s “Dinky Dinky Die, Dinky Dinky Doe” thundering toward Jessica, Schaffer points to the oscilloscope The green trace pattern, which till now had been nothing more than a bright dot in the center, undulates rhythmically a few times a second, in perfect correspondence to the “ghost tone” resulting from Kershaw’s violin and bass interacting. Strong positive clitoral resonance is unmistakably felt by the girl, whose eyes tickle in delight.

Schaffer gropes his way to the control room, changes around a few patch-cords, and returns, grasping my hand and leading it to the open vagina before me. (Sure enough, you could feel it throbbing, pulsing, to the music.)

Jessica is enthusiastic. She’ll speak no end about the pleasures of Schaffer’s sonic stimulation. Animated with delight, she sits up and pulls the covers over her shoulders, explaining that two or three minutes’ exposure to the waves increases her sensitivity “unbelievably” and makes her uncontrollable and almost insatiable.

(Schaffer met her while she was standing on the “girls” line and he on the “boys” line at the Free Clinic several months ago.)

“An interesting thing,” Schaffer notes, “is that there’s up to a 10 per cent frequency variable for peak responses by different women I’ve been keeping records of the frequencies that work, and been trying to correlate it with different factors, like size, race, education, weight … ya know?”

Before closing clown the networks of equipment and sitting down to enjoy straight-from-the-bottle gulps of ouzo (a drink Schaffer swears is derived from an opium base), Schaffer points to a triangular light on the oscilloscope which, he explains, works like the tuning light on a stereo FM receiver “That little light glows when the frequencies and heterodyne ratios are optimized. Just like tuning in KMET or something.”

Since the volume level at which most people play their records is, according to Schaffer enough to effect resonance, droning heterodynes could be programmed into records and be buried in the track. “A lot of the second side of guitarist (John) McLaughlin’s record has violin and sitar-bass heterodynes.” Jessica adds that the record makes her “horny” now that she’s been clued into the effects.

The current project near complete, Schaffer is working on a penis resonance stimulator “to jack up virility” before going on to induce other modes and moods. “Let’s get sex out of the way first,” he exclaims in an ouzo drawl. His elbow draped limply around Jessica’s neck, he goes on, “You could make a whole set of records with different tones dug into the tracks — to shit, turn on, get hot, one to go to sleep, ya know, l mean I’ve only just begun on this, and who knows, there might be a tone or heterodyne to mess with every body function or headspace — can you imagine that?”

“Last month, I even hit by accident on a set of frequencies that makes me hallucinate — and everybody knows, Jews don’t hallucinate.”

As for the likelihood of his making the tones available on tapes or records, Schaffer isn’t sure: “It’d be a sure-fire hit, but it’s pretty heavy, you know, and I sort of see this thing as pure research. If they were out there on sale, you’d probably see mail-order ads for them in the back of comic books, you know, the kind with one of those waivers where you have to initial ‘I promise not to use this for Evil,’ and I’d hate to see that loose on the world. Think of some bastard plugging one of these babies into an Altec at the Garden, the place would go crazy — ’cause there’s no way to resist it – ya know?”

By Tom Bozer