Notes by
Ken Ueno

work for amplified
voice anD violin (ossia)
with electroniC sounds
and Pop Rocks.

Since this piece is
only performable by
the composer,
there is no score.

The title for this piece comes from the Japanese word for “remaining snow.” The discourse for the musical narrative follows statistical morphologies between white noise and pitch. The singer is required to use various extended vocal techniques including overtone singing.

All of the electronic sounds are derived from samples of extended vocal techniques performed by the composer. The first section of the piece involves a gradual, statistically increasing, presentation of noise artifacts superimposed over micro-tonally fluctuating sustained tones. These artifacts were created in this way: (1) vocal samples were time-expanded to reveal microtonal fluctuations; (2) various excerpts were burned on to a CDR; (3) these CDR were “prepared” with scotch tape purposely so that a CD player would misread and create “skips” and distortions in pitch and rhthm; (4) “prepared” CDRs were rerecorded to be included into the final quadraphonic mix. These preparations were statistically controlled by the number and location of preparations on each disk (there were typically seven CDRs of the same sample per section of music in the final mix). The increasing number of artifacts present in the mix leads to the second section of the piece featuring pure white noise. There are several other sections before the final solo — some featuring only the electronics, while others are solo sections without electronics for the live performers. The vocalist, with a mouthful of Pop Rocks, performs the final solo. The solo is a concentration on formant change and envelope filtration within the mouth. During the three minutes of this solo, the vocalist must hold his breath in order that his breathing does not disrupt the flow of sound.

At all times, the live performers are in counterpoint with pre-recorded/processed versions of their past actions. Here is a folktale-like analogy to the sonic interaction/counterpoint between different layers of memory, past and present:

Imagine a stream, a fast moving stream. The stream is turbulent and loud. A hiker happens by the stream and decides to enter the stream for a swim. As he is swimming in the stream, it not possible to distinguish the sounds his movements contribute to the overall sound of the stream from those of the natural flow of the turbulent stream. Now imagine that the totality of the present movement of the water and its consequent sounds were actually an accumulated memory of all the past swimmings in the same stream by the same hiker.


© 2020 KEN UENO



© 2020 KEN UENO