On the Fringe [2016] 8’29”
for 6 voices, two pianos, two percussion, and computer music


March 11, 2016 | DiMenna Center, NYC | Ekmeles + Yarn/Wire

During evening walks while living in Seattle, I would ruminate and softly recite phrases I had read in a book or observed in my surroundings (often during a break, sitting in a coffee shop). I keep this habit in New York City (except that it is harder to find a seat in a coffee shop), but after the first several days I moved in, I realized I could not help but recall the experience in Seattle while wandering the streets in Morningside Heights. I felt as if I had been standing on a fringe; a high wire. Whenever the shadow of Seattle flashed through my mind, I allowed myself to fall deep into episodes of scattered, timeless memories, although I experienced them in a linear, narrative way. I wanted to compose something based on this experience.

I then wondered: Why have I been so obsessed with achieving a sense of coherence in my music? I could not answer the question for sure, but maybe it is my desire to obtain control and supremacy in order to react to how life is — after all, life is unpredictable. I wanted to do something different this time…there would be some moments when one would drift, meditate, and dissolve within the timeless streams of sound. S/he would come back to reality eventually, but that does not prevent diving back into the streams of reminiscence whenever the opportunity presents itself. The contrast between the past and the present is embedded in the context constructed through the reciting voices and the nonhuman sounds/vocal noises, shaping how narration and interruption are perceived in the piece. I tried to settle the unsettling. Or, did I actually forge the unsettling?