"You are invited to the world of quiet and solemn emptiness of dark female voice with the punctuations of crunchy tasty cluster harmony!"

Shiori Usui is Embedded Composer-in-Residence at BCMG. Shiori selected Richard Baker's 'Huiusmodi sunt omnia'

TB: Why have you chosen this piece? What did you find compelling about this music and why should I listen to it?

SU: It has been difficult to choose only one piece. I liked the pieces such as “unassigned” by James Saunders and “submarine revisited” by Evelyn Ficarra as well, for example. I enjoyed listening to all three music mentioned above, and I enjoyed each of them in different ways. However, I chose Huiusmodi sunt omnia by Richard Baker for this occasion. The piece Huiusmodi sunt omnia evoked my attention because of the tension between the solemn emptiness and the crunchiness of the dissonant harmonies together with the dark colour of the female voice. I don’t wish to force anyone to listen to the piece I chose because listening is a very personal experience, and therefore I cannot tell you why you should listen to it. But if you like the kind of things described above, or better, if you are curious, perhaps you might want to give it a try.

TB: As a listener, how does the piece unfold? Are there any surprises along the way?

SU: You are invited to the world of quiet and solemn emptiness of dark female voice with the punctuations of crunchy tasty cluster harmony. The intensity is intimately woven throughout the piece (rather like breathing) but perhaps never revealing itself fully. The ending sounded a little abrupt to me, and that was a little surprise (maybe the recording?).

TB: As a composer, how does the piece, or any element within the piece, relate to your own output? Are there any ideas here that you’d like to steal for your own work?

SU: The people who know my music might be a little surprised by my choice for this occasion because what I normally create might come across as something very different from this particular piece of music. But the solemn and empty intervals resonates with me, the crunchiness of cluster harmonies, and the hidden intensity that the music evokes. So if I were to list the things that I would like to steal from this music, probably in a more technical way, then these might be the ones. But this is the kind of music that I would like to listen to again and again, and I just don’t know how long it takes for me to digest and internalize the experience. Someday, somebody might discover the influence of the piece in my works, or this might not happen. Only the future will know. Richard Baker’s Huiusmodi sunt omnia features on Volume 1 Can’t.Remember.How.It.Starts.


Digital Discoveries: Thomas Butler interviews Shiori Usui