a tonal cloud (shō study)

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i have always been interested in building up atmospheric drones and have lately become obsessed with the traditional japanese instrument known as a shō. the free reed instrument is powered by breath and uses metal reeds tuned with wax attached to the bottom of 15 bamboo pipes (17 pipes total). the instrument traditionally serves the purpose of ‘freezing’ a melody into a kind of floating cloud for other instruments to occupy.

this audio work attempts to approximate some of the tonal qualities of the shō using a harmonium transitioning between the traditional chords ‘ge’ and ‘otsu.’ once an atmosphere of floating tones was created, improvised violin and acoustic guitar were interwoven using a stereo tape feedback loop and a closed tape loop.