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TSI-SHIN-KUT


for four percussionists and computer generated sounds (1993/1994)

Production by the WDR Electronic Music Studio

In Memoriam Hans Oesch

In TSI-SJIN-KUT (earth-spirit-ritual), I forge a link to the tradition of Korean peasant music (Nong-Ak) that has accompanied me since my childhood. There is an ancient shamanistic ritual that lives on to this day. In January of every year, small groups of four or five musicians travel from village to village and go from house to house to pray blessings on homes and families. The ritual music is intended to abate and placate the earth spirit, so that life may thrive in the house and home.

The Chinese "Mu" character is the central shamanistic ideogram. It combines the heavens, earth and a (dancing) human couple. Mankind, Earth and Heaven are seen as a unity, with creation actually being linked together by mankind. The dancing couple reminds us of the source of all rituals that beseech the heavens to be merciful towards the earth. According to Mu-cult, the human soul did not originate in heaven as believed by the Christian faith, but came out of the earth, to which it returns after death. So for us, the earth in endowed with a soul, it is the reconciling element in which the soul finds peace.

I have created a composition surrounding this ritual, the shamanistic KUT ceremony, for four percussionists that are accompanied by electronic sounds. Modern technologies involving computer, synthesizer, etc are becoming increasingly important in the field of musical composition. I have chosen to work with relatively simple and tangible methods. Various drums (played by Isao Nakamura) and several tones from a double bass flute (played by Carin Levine) provide the source and have been remastered.

One of my goals was to call upon the omnipresent "Computer spirit", so to speak, which has so completely penetrated our society as to be found even in the nursery. Through my work, I would also like to encourage people to take a new and critical look at our "disposable society". I strongly object to our tendency to dispose of objects after superficial use, in order to buy ever more perfect, convenient appliances; it is of great importance to me to strive for equality by using ancient percussion instruments as well as the sound products created by electronic instruments that no longer represent the state of the art. And so instead of becoming enslaved to modern technology, I would like to perceive and incorporate technology as a musical instrument instead.

Younghi Pagh-Paan (1994)



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