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Birth Y: 1980 Birth C: JAPAN Gender: Male

Dest: Concert

Media Specification: Tape

Duration: 11:11

Instruments: Flute and 2 channels fixed media


Prog. notes:

The Japanese word "shikisou" means a cyclical gradation of colors ("hue") as well as "appearance" or "visible figure". In addition to these definitions metamorphosis is a key concept within Shikisou.

There are an infinite number of rhythms in the universe. Some are of such magnitude and regularity as to be comprehensible, while others we may not be able to discern. The initial rhythms were established and defined by events following the universe's first pulse. Ongoing events continue to create and define time, resulting in a continuous evolution of polyrhythmic and cyclical patterns that are the temporal foundation of the universal symphony.

The cycle of years is one of these patterns and within each year there is a rhythm of seasons. In this piece the four seasons in Japan are used as an organizational temporal force and a source of symbolic connotations. The work progresses through the multi-layered seasonal rhythms of a single year, and each season is perceived through different sound events that reference memories tagged with emotional significance. The high-level conception of a year encompasses the cyclical and acyclic rhythms found in concrete materials that are developed at the lower levels of musical time scales. The conflict of these juxtaposed rhythms creates tensions in the piece, resulting in a desire for an orderly, controlling macrostructure.

In this piece musical time starts in Spring with a single sound particle derived from a bird chirp. The sparse, irregular appearance of subsequent particles creates an acyclic rhythmic trace that gradually becomes a complex texture contrasting with the cycle of breathing. As time progresses, discernible pieces of bird calls emerge while the breath disappears. The discrete gestures and timbres of the bird calls are then concatenated so that the sound world displays a mutating monolithic corpus composed solely of avian sounds.

The resulting acyclic rhythms within this mosaic of bird sounds are opposed in Summer. Regular pulses of footsteps are gradually replaced by repeated bird calls and the cyclic aspect of all of these events dominates our listening experience. These regular aspects occur against a backdrop of forest ambience where all the natural cycles of activity and rest present an infinitely complex series of oscillations.

The internal chaotic rhythms of thunder breed acyclicality at the onset of Fall. Single fixed frequencies (cyclic waveforms) oppose the activity of foreground materials. Using microsonic techniques, human vowels are deconstructed into their more fluid and supple constituent parts. Then, while asynchronous clouds of microevents in the synthetic voice create irregularity in rhythm, the individual streams of the sound particles are discretely morphed to create unique timbres, thereby functioning as singularities. The sounds of the acyclic rhythms evaporate or else mutate and coalesce into a higher-level gestural sound evoking human transformation en masse.

This momentum directly leads into the Winter section. The regular sound of bells announces and interrupts a chorus of microsonically processed human vowels. The bells represent Zyoya-no-Kane - the end-of-year 108 bells sounded at Japanese temples symbolizing the purification from the 108 delusions and sufferings accumulated in the passing year. The final sonic gesture changes the adult human vowels to those of an infant, as if returning to a birth state in preparation for a new life cycle.

However, the coda negates the alternating dominance of regularity and irregularity established in the seasons. Now, only the regular rhythms of bird calls and fading footsteps remain, resonances of the original beings. This negation rejects the cyclical rhythms of the eons and creates "linear time". As a result, the behavior of time and space is unknown - "going" is no longer "returning", for there are no cycles. The resonances of the transformed human and bird depart on a new journey, leaving behind all terrestrial fetters.

Editor: M.B.