The Korea Herald


Lucid Fall returns as musical explorer

Second ambient album ‘Being-with’ comes after contemplation on the essence of music

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : Dec. 12, 2023 - 13:04

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Singer-songwriter Lucid Fall. (Antenna) Singer-songwriter Lucid Fall. (Antenna)

Back with a new ambient record, singer-songwriter Lucid Fall returns as a diligent explorer who collects, combines, and twists sounds around us.

“After some transition period, I feel like my identity has split into two parts: Lucid Fall who makes songs, and Lucid Fall who explores through sounds,” the artist said in a group interview Thursday.

The album "Being-with," his second ambient music album after “Dancing With Water” in 2020, is a collection of five pieces created with sounds from everyday life. The sounds of people, ocean, grass bugs, and construction noise are dismantled, reassembled, and transformed into music.

While the 10th full album “Voice beside Guitar,” released in November last year, was about the essence of song, with lyrics and melodies built around minimal instrumentation, the new album is the exact opposite, explained Lucid Fall.

“I think music is the furthest away from language, but song is a mixture of both. So I wanted to create music that solely uses a pure sense of hearing to impress people,” he said.

“I think I’ll keep go back and forth, sometimes making songs, sometimes creating language-less sounds.”

The first track "Mindmirror" consists of variations on repeating eight-bar motifs, while second track "Aviiir" uses Bach's “Aria on the G String,” stretching the original sounds.

"Microcosmo" connects the sound of the ocean, grass bugs and sounds of people in traditional markets through a tape loop.

"Transcendence" conveys comfort in a gentle and warm atmosphere, and the title track "Mater Dolorosa" expresses the suffering that the Earth is going through, using the sound of a backhoe.

To drag out music from sounds, consistent experiments are needed.

"I usually wake up around 4 a.m. and work on music until about 11 a.m. It’s like studying. I try new instruments and programs, listen to new kinds of music or sometimes go back to very traditional, analog methods to play with sounds. Then when it feels like the sound is becoming a piece of music, I grab onto it and dig deeper."

According to Lucid Fall, the process is very different from composing a song with vocals and lyrics.

“Making a song is not something you can do constantly. It’s similar to a carnivore animal hunting for food. A song doesn't come out just because you hold a guitar all day long," he said." However, I can make ambient music for hours and days, just as herbivores graze. It's something you can do consistently and persistently.”

Unlike most music albums that have detailed credit lists of composers, producers, and engineers, the credits on “Being-with” come down to a simple phrase: "All sounds were created or captured by Lucid Fall."

"At some point, the boundaries of production, composition, recording, and mixing just disappeared. If a chef does everything alone, from growing the ingredients to serving the dish, all processes will become one big task of cooking. Making music seems to have become a single giant task just like that."

Following the album’s release, Lucid Fall plans to hold concerts and an exhibition.

On Dec. 16 and 17, he will perform at the LG Art Center, Seoul, as a part of the “Club Arc with Antenna” concert series. An exhibition about Lucid Fall’s new album and essay book will take place at Space Sophora, Jung-gu, Seoul, From Dec. 21 to Jan. 7 next year.

“A public reading, signing event or other special events might also take place with the exhibition. The detail is still in discussion. I hope many people will be interested in it.”