23 December 2011
Yesterday I had finally posted the recordings for the two petite pièces (pretentiously using French because I could not think of any other term except for “Xião Pïng” in Chinese appropriate for this type of works) I wrote during my Austrian time earlier this year – aer- (for flute, bassoon, and viola) and Phantom Museum (for video by Zdenek Kveton, musique concrete, and improvisers). https://muxuanlin.wordpress.com/music/
Wearing a heavy mask of congestion, sipping the third cup of herb tea upon the completion of which would encourage my sixth visit to the toilet in the morning, the moi-malade (pardon me again – I’m learning French, you see) is curled up in an easy chair next to a patch of grey Paris sky outside the window, VERY frustrated because I could not successfully reduce the noise that generously scathed the live recording of aer-.
aer- (2011) for flute, bassoon, and viola was written specifically for KoFoMi (KomponisInnenforum Mittersill – www.kofomi.com). I started the piece in August after I returned to Boston from France and Switzerland and finished it during my 10-day participation of the KoFoMi in Mittersill, Austria in September. It’s a densely notated (yes, one of those complex-looking scores) 3-minute piece with breathy gestures dispersed or interrupted midway through their utterances, supposed to be delicate, fragile, and huffle-puff like a cloud. Numerous sleepless nights up in the Alpes were first for aer-, then later for Phantom Museum; I worked crouching before a tiny writing table that had a hand-embroidered doily on, composing then later copying (for Phantom Museum it’s Audacity tweaking for a musique concrete track). Sylvie Lacroix (flute), Maria Gstättner (bassoon), and Julia Purgina (viola) did a miraculous job of pulling together aer- in such short time even they were involved in the majority of the music produced for the final concert. However, on the concert day it was pouring. The space we performed in was an open lobby area where the side stairs spiral upward for four stories and the ceiling was built similar to that of a greenhouse with glass panels. The female trio was standing on the mid-landing of the 3rd floor facing the lobby below. The rain dumpling-ed the building and created, with the endless glass surface, a wash of background white-noise. Along with the wet acoustic of the hall, the live recording before being properly mastered (which KoFoMi team will do soon in order to release the concert CD with label ARGE) turns out incredibly dirty.
A very kind person and composer Martin (who composes with graphic score on sand in glass trays) I met at KoFoMi had given me a program called “Reapers”, but my usual pretemption toward the sacred sector of electronic gadget and technology delayed my full-exploration of the program. And what does one need to edit a live performance recording wth, anyway? Naively I opened my old yet notorious, free-downloaded Audacity and attempted to “reduce” the overall noise that covers the whole 4 minutes of trio music. Can you blame me? It says on the top menu there’s a function called “noise reduction” so that’s where I went. And it’s quite simple, really, all you have to do is to sample few seconds of noise and apply the “reduction” over the whole piece. But alas! What did I get? A muffled, clean, sinewave-lized track with occasional sweeping overtones, and of course the viola is almost completely gone without the bow hairs’ intimate friction with the strings. In great dismay, I, eventually, biting my lips, uploaded the original noisified recording of aer- onto my dear new blog – I can no longer allow the World to know me merely by those three 09-10 pieces despite my favoring them (it’s The Sea, the Sea, Journal Entry : I :, and A room of French windows and limestone sculptures). I will get a mastered, released version of aer- sometime in the near future as I was informed. For now, having a rough version online may just be better off than nothing. One thing that makes the internet so sexily conceptual is the easy access of UPDATE, and yes, old things we posted linger like debris underneath the stove, but what did we say about the Imperfection and the Found Objects and the Progression? Isn’t it much sexier nowadays to retouch, revise, redub, and reiterate to create layers and layers of meanings? Isn’t it both the risk and the beauty that we are seeking in the act of exposing oneself as an artist to the world?
Or is it just an excuse of mine for publicly posting an unpolished recording?