Disguised in Nature

This composition examines the modern constitution of nature from the perspective of a Chinese composer exploring electroacoustic music with the influence of Chinese cultural heritage. A trope among city-dwellers, particularly in China, is that people go ‘away to nature’ to enjoy ‘peaceful’ atmospheres and ‘soundscapes’. However, technocultural integrations within the fabric of our everyday lives challenge suggestions of a straightforward binary relationship between nature and humanity. While Chinese Daoist philosophy uses this old dichotomy, contemporary evocations of the man-nature dyad have become complexified in different post-digital and post-human ways. In acoustemology, the boundaries become even more blurred. In this composition, never-before-heard birdsong created from digital synthesis of barely-recognisable Chinese instruments is presented as a musical facet of the modern relationship between human, music and nature, which has long been a concern of traditional Chinese philosophy such as in the literature Yue Ji which dates back to earlier than the second century B.C., and has been increasingly discussed in recent decades in the fields of ecomusicology. The “classical” relationship between Heaven, Earth, and Man as discussed in Chinese philosophies will be re-examined through the composition.