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  This seven-minute electroacoustic composition draws inspiration from the painting Travelers among Mountains and Streams by Fan Kuan, a Chinese landscape painter of the Song dynasty. The composition largely focused on exploring various techniques and processed electronics of the traditional Chinese plucked instrument pipa and modular synthesizer.

  The sonic features of this composition aim to describe the painting technique known as “raindrop stroke,” where each brushstroke resembles tiny raindrops, accumulating like grains of sand, little by little meticulously forming the landscape. Starting with a close-up view from the painting, the composition first depicts a caravan traversing the mountains. Gradually, the giant, towering peaks and the magnificent waterfalls cascading forcefully above a dark valley in the distant landscape are revealed by interweaved sounds of pipa, synthesizer, and processed electronics. In addition, in the middle part of the painting, in contrast to the direction of the caravan’s journey, a monk is walking in the opposite direction of the caravan toward the temple on the right side. The composition juxtaposes the mundane and the spiritual by overlapping and contrasting different sounds to motivate the listeners to ponder the significance of life from the Daoist perspective.

  Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's film Kagemusha, Kagemusha: for Pipa and Electronics is an eight-minute electroacoustic piece that aims to depict how people struggled with the cruelty of ancient wars and the disastrous end of a turbulent era. In this piece, the acoustic pipa, Csound pipa, and electronics always echo each other throughout the piece. It starts with electronic sounds and slowly introduces the pipa. The acoustic pipa part follows the traditional pipa repertoire form and shows various left-hand and right-hand techniques. All the electronic sounds are generated based on the melodies played by both acoustic pipa and Csound pipa. They are processed mainly with Cecilia, Puremagnetik, and Cabbage to create a dark atmosphere, the fierce metallic sounds of swords colliding, and a state of chaos that people were suffering from.

  The first time the composer stood in New York Times Square, the digital screens and giant billboards closed like a cage around her. In rapidly changing images, both time and space were compressed. Surrounded by people and traffic, even if she stood still, it was like being on the road. However, whether walking or waiting, she could hardly connect herself with the surroundings, as if she was cut off from the world of speed. This six-minute piece, The World of the Spectacles, is the composer’s electroacoustic-visual travelogue and reflections on Guy Debord’s 1967 work of philosophy, La Société du Spectacle. From the time she took the train to New York, she was like a package being transmitted: the flood of reality gradually became chaos, and the experience and memory she had gained in the duration of time quickly dried up. Whether it is a busy traffic network, dazzling advertisements, or dramatic political events, everything in modern society is constantly influencing, eroding, and depriving people’s senses. Just like being enclosed by the screens in Times Square, people are imperceptibly isolated by society’s spectacles from the real world.

    Based on Chinese poet Haizi’s poems, I’m Sitting in the Wood is a five-minute electroacoustic poem that explores human beings’ self-isolation and relationship with the external world. The poetry reading quotes from two poems: I’m Sitting in the Wood and Night, of which the visualization is set in the shape of a tree’s growth rings. Both male and female readers record a whole stanza or parts of the poems in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese, aiming at creating different sound images of the same verse with three different languages and voices. Natural sounds and synthesizer sounds are the accompaniment of poetry: the former is an imagination of the ideal world, and the latter is an abstract representation of the ever-changing inner world of human beings.

  Unmeasurable Ruins is a three-minute electroacoustic music that uses modular synthesizers to reconstruct a post-apocalyptic world. In the beginning, distant bird sounds and intermittent frog sounds are designed to add a sense of desolation. As the atmosphere becomes tenser and tenser, the first pitched element fades in, giving a feeling of devastation. Followed by random computer programming sounds, the transition gradually makes the composition flow from a busy pattern to a quiet and discrete rhythm. Overall, the piece delineates an imaginative picture of a dystopian city in the post-war period when humans coexisted with androids and electric animals.

  The Interrupted Dream in the Garden is a five-minute audio-visual electroacoustic piece based on Peony Pavilion, a romantic tragicomedy play for Kunqu Opera by dramatist Tang Xianzu in the Ming dynasty. In the pipa playing, the gentle, sweet melodies are personified by the female protagonist, Du Liniang, while the male protagonist, Liu Mengmei, is portrayed through fast, deep melodies. The piece mimics the structure of a play and is divided into 7 acts, namely “Stroll,” “Falling Into a Dream,” “Tryst,” “Liu Sheng,” “Li Niang,” “Cloud and Rain,” and “Waking up.” The processing of the pipa melodies aims at creating an atmosphere of interweaving real and imaginary, a dream-like story for what happened between the protagonists.

Electroacoustic Journals

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