20.5.17

suicides and zombies

with sudden suicide of chris cornell, im quietly left to think, in the little bit of empty period between mad working period and over three months of 'unemployment,' about tolerance for life.

cornell was immensely popular singer and one of the biggest entity for the grunge era; my high school days are literally full of his music, along with few others. and so many of them from my teenage years are now dead.  scott weiland died of overdose (likely), kurt cobain shot himself, jeff buckley drowned, elliott smith stabbed himself (likely), layne staley overdosed, the list goes on.

of course, there are many who continue to live on, doing things, but this sudden realization that eddy vedder is now the 'betty white of the grunge' does crack me up a bit.

as public frantically re-focuses on tragedy of suicide-ridden pop culture, i cant help but to think about the average people, like me, who might already be dead one day, but continue to 'live on,' as if nothing happened.

this is not to glorify suicide culture. or to reiterate the point that there will be a few people in every population group, who will die soon, but just from watching the homeless problems gaining intensity in my 'hood.

the downtown bay corridor quickly became the new condo belt in last ten years. and now it's yonge street. so many buildings are shut, sold, waiting to get their building permissions to dig and build up.  the unexpected side effect of that is the rise of homeless population in the area.

as the first levels of these empty lots have bit of nook that people can 'claim,' many homeless gather in the area during the night through early morning. unlike liberty village or little more swanky southern corridor, or the resident-packed annex, the lack of neighbourhood culture in this area, in conjunction to not-too-much-money (when the area is super wealthy, there are never any homeless; they are either kicked out, or leave voluntarily as there is no 'sharing' in the area), and close distance to former problem areas (moss park, regent park, etc) and many different kind of shelters, along with limited yet real access to public facilities such as toilet (big grocery shops, fast food restos etc), LCBOs and relatively cheap food,

these are my speculation for incresed homeless population in the area.

but once condos are built and that security guards come around, they will leave to somewheres else, in probably 4-5 years, max.

they are usually sleeping/pretending to be asleep during the morning rush. and by midday, they are up and gone to tend the day. the weekday mid mornings, between 10-1130, is when they can be confrontational and violent (i had 3 run-ins in less than 5 minutes in two-blocks distance the other day).  and i gather it's because of morning rage.

imagine.

you woke up, from uncomfortable sleep, if you slept, that is. you may had run-ins during the night- may be someone tried to steal your stuff. or beat you up or physically and/or sexually assault you. it's not terribly cold that you 'had' to stay in crammed shelter. but nevertheless, you are hungry, tired, and you try to shield yourself from all these 'lucky people' who are heading to work, for their fancy jobs.

may be youve saved a few bits from night before for the morning- may be a cig, bit of drugs if you are a user, may be scraps of food.

but generally, not much.

not much, to look forward to, for the whole day, may even endless chains of days.

we worry about 'mental health,' we 'try' to talk about it. though it's a valid effort, i cannot shake that feeling that it is mostly for the middle class and up. what about these people, on the street, who live with mental desert, where not much can grow or to be fostered? are we creating this new sub-class citizens, the homeless-zombies?

with bursting news about connell's death, i cant help but to think about my own street.
what can be done about it?
if suicide is bad, what about structured mass homicide?

may be more 'artists' die because of their sensitivity toward the world.
but what about sufferings of others who are resilient (ex. continue to go on), but without any real hopes? how is that any better than finite death? and why do we feel remorse about someone's suicide but hostility towards others who may be suffering, just as much, if not more? if 'lesser' people suffer, are they suffering actually 'less?'  if 'they' have not given 'me' something worthwhile (in case of these singers, they gave 'me' plenty!), then should 'they' be expected to suffer with no help from me?


complicated.

1.5.17

letter to a composer

last night, when i got home, first thing i did was take the score out from my backpack. whether i had time to look at it on the given day or not, ive been carrying it, because it was the 'new' thing, bit like 'new' seedling. cliche, isnt it. but just like a seed, it didnt necessarily 'resemble' what it was to become during the process. being a city kid, when i first saw potato plant in dirt in kindergarten farm, it didnt even make sense to me that potatoes had leaves. WHAT.

and i genuinely was curious to put this 'thing' away. the physical act of 'moving on.' i was rather 'sad' ( ? ) to take it out and put it away, as it meant end of this 'project,' which i enjoyed thoroughly.

going back to fav movie of 2016:
https://youtu.be/tFMo3UJ4B4g

i was fascinated with this alien language form. grown up korean, i learned to write/read korean, basic 1000 chinese letters and then had to work my butt off once i was dropped in english as we moved to toronto when i was 13. i took latin in high school to vent my frustration against mandatory french education (because no one was really ahead in latin...). i started to travel and got basic feel of the romance languages, and so far, the strangest language i encountered first hand was icelandic, couldnt even pronounce any.

and all these linguistic experiences (with passing interest in etymology), i am aware of the role of linguistics in a cultural composite.

western classical music has not changed much in notation, i dont think. or perhaps it's my own familiarity with the notation that i encounter, that i dismiss western classical music notation as 'simple.'  may be it's that im a typical piano player and therefore my vision remains quite narrow.

so when i saw your mixed-bag of notations, the first question was: when you write down these sound events, what were you hearing? for instance, one of the pieces i adore is jolivet's suite in concert for flute + perc 4tet.  i looked over the perc parts many times. but then i never find out: did jolivet knew exactly what he wanted? but doenst it deviate from the performance to performance (human factor, instrument access, etc)? of course it's all approximation (even on a good day), but what are you writing, and how does that translate? isnt this weird, as player would have to form a some sort of super intimate relationship with another conceptor, but largely through a secondary plastic medium...
writing/speech/language do shape and generalise a culture- and if so, where are you coming from- what do you like to do, where do you live, how do you speak and what do you read?

*this comes from my recent reminder from a friend during baroque harpsichord-strings recital, that most italian words has accent/lean on the second syllable (ex. ferrari, spaghetti, etc), so even though the beat falls on strong beats, never to neglect beat 2 and 4, as that's where things actually do happen (supposed to land on 1 and 3).  where are your notations coming from? what kind of soundscape are you in, normally? do you separate your aural space from your creative vs. observant-normal-daily space? what kind of person are you to write this way?

oh dear, that sounds like a personal challenge. haha. im sorry. im just curious. everyone who speaks a bit differently, usually have a narrative or two. im just curious about you as a person, as the sounds you prescribed are interesting to me.

*BTW going back to the arrival, here's an article i enjoyed much.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/11/22/a_linguist_on_arrival_s_alien_language.html

second point:
when you write such intricate music- especially for near silence threshold but super dense, some of it reminded me of luigi nono's music, i assume that you rely on the human connect that the player(s) will build with the instruments as well as one another.

in this i had to draw my ears closer to my brain and heart, not only to my 'stuff,' but to perc-piano stuff (as they are intertwined so closely), at some points, players will connect and lean onto one another, to a non-normal level. for example, i didnt 'look' at the perc, but i knew he was 'watching' and so was i.

you, as the composer, have curated this scenario.  but once it's in motion, you are actually not part of this 'intimacy,' how do you feel about that? do you ever feel that you are actually in it with the performers? do you ever expect to be part of it? isnt it weird?  during the perf, i felt familiar, even though my head was rushing a bit, with hoping to execute, observing failures, etc. everything all at once. even the familiarity of 'going through the course of time' with all the variables.

there are few more thoughts but this is plenty long, so i think i may fold it for now.
thanks for taking the time to read it, if you did- perhaps the best thing i can say is that i actually did miss not 'practicing' or 'carrying' this piece in my backpack today.