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June 7, 1p

Lincoln Parish Library Events Center

910 N Trenton St, Ruston, LA 71272

[Livestream Link]

Program

Torrent by Cecilia Suhr (Ohio)

 

Air Friction by Jinxin Fu (China)

 

I Miss U V-Much by Kevin Mah (Louisiana)

Del silencio brota un árbol by Eric Estrada Valadez (Mexico)

 

Notes

Torrent is a real-time audio-visual performance that features piano improvisation with live processing, and fixed media. This work depicts the turbulent and calming wave movements in response to the piano playing. The video clip in this work was shot in the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Monroe, Louisiana.


Air Friction is inspired by the physical phenomenon that air particles collide with a moving body, even if it is just a small ping-pong ball. Because of air resistance, the ball bounces lower and lower every time, and so does the energy dissipate. There are a lot of moments in this piece where this physical law can be "heard", starting with a single series of bounces of a ping-pong ball, growing toward a colorful sound world...

Hatsune Miku is a voice synthesizer developed by Yamaha - sampling the real voice of Japanese voice actress, Saki Fujita - where one can input notes and lyrics for her to sing via the Vocaloid DAW. She is a tool, an instrument, and a character with a personality and a devoted fan base to match. In "I Miss U V-Much," I use her as both a singer and instrument; she sings about a time long lost - a life she has outgrown - and about those who cannot follow her into the unknown. This piece is an journey into a facet of music that I feel might be quickly growing beyond my own limited scope. With today's rise of AI, one can't help but to see Miku as a precursor or even a harbinger. Perhaps I am afraid of stepping with her into the unknown. How dare I? Perhaps it is indeed wiser to follow... Throughout the piece, her vocals are intermittently cut, distorted, and warped into speech that is at once nonsense and coherent, helped (or not helped?) by her imperfect pronunciation which undeniably reaffirms her virtual identity. "I wish we..." is heard as as "I miss you..." at times. The versatility of her programmable emotions and inflections allow for nigh infinite ways of communicating an artist's ideas, bridging that uncanny gap between instrument and human. I hoped to bring out this ambiguous dichotomy through the subject matter and arrangement of the music.

Trees stand as poignant symbols of our inherent connection to nature. Their profound silence, unwavering connection to the earth, and the melodies produced as the wind rustles through their branches, have consistently held a mesmerizing effect on me. After reading Richard Powers' "The Overstory," a novel whose central protagonists are trees, I was inspired to compose a piece about the life cycle of a tree. The musical themes symbolize the stages of a tree's development, ultimately culminating in its return as a seedling. Each section mirrors a chapter in Power’s book and is coupled with poetic verses of Mexican poets such as Octavio Paz, Jaime Sabines, and José Emilio Pacheco. The degradation of land ecosystems and the accelerating cost of climate change, remind us that nature is not merely a resource to be exploited. Trees and their critical entanglement with life on earth, shape our surroundings, color our daily experiences, and underscore the limits of survival and threatening impact of the human project. This piece is a small tribute to one of nature's most remarkable inventions.

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