“Those Remaining Words in Nuance” – toward an invisible plane, for Soprano and Live Electronics
The video below presents the live performance 2015/11/21 by Stephanie Aston.
Premiere: May, 22nd, 2009, CPMC BlackBox, UCSD
Soprano: Stephanie Aston
Electronics: Jacob Sudol
Recording: Spac Lab, UCSD (2009)
The text in this piece includes two different resources: fragments from the “Pure Land Rebirth Dharani” and the made-up poem in Chinese Mandarin. To combine these bilingual phrases, I sometimes deconstruct the phonemes in Chinese language and the Dharani, but sometimes make the poem understandable. For example, the “n”, “m”, “t”, and “a” from “na mo a mi ta pa ya”(南無阿彌陀婆夜) can appear independently as vocalise materials. The words “cloud” (雲, here spelled as “ün”) and “yet” (而, here “eur”) combine simultaneously with whistle and harmonics.
The entire piece is like transcending from the life (the poem) to death (the Dharani) in a process of “D-L-D-DL-LD”. Therefore in the last section the vocal words and timbres merge together. The electronics’ materials primarily come from the voice and synthesis voices. In the second half of the length, a repeated phrase made from reversed phonemes in the tape part joins until the end. These reversed phonemes are “an” (安) from “na”, “hsi” (息) from “shi(r) – sh”, and “pa” (吧) from “sa pa”, pronounced the same as “RIP” in Chinese Mandarin as the most significant symbolism in the piece.
似曾相識的薄霧中 In a haze that seems familiar
島嶼的尖端是海 The island’s end is a sea
我的思念飄落如細雪 My longing floats down like snow
在季節的光影裡纏綿 lingering in the light and shadow of seasons
雲樣的旋律未曾停歇 Cloud-like melodies never cease
而時間已逝 yet time is dead
徒留 給你的詩 remains in vain, a poem for you