Born in Nanjing, China in 1995, Li holds a bachelor’s in musicology and is currently studying in the music engineering master’s program at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University, with a focus on how emotions, imagination, and stories are purposefully transmitted through music.
“Sound is the vocabulary of nature.”
– Pierre Schaeffer, the father of ‘musique concrète’ (1987)
Li specializes in applying digital music techniques such as filtering, ring modulation, granular synthesis, and additive and subtractive synthesis on familiar sounds such as closing doors, jingling silverware, wood being chopped, stones kicked up along the roadside, burning wood, and thunder in order to explore their acoustic possibilities. The results are often sounds that are both comfortingly familiar yet strikingly new, reflecting ‘fuzzy’ tones that inhabit the boundary between the abstract and the real. These sounds connect the listener directly into her (or his) auricular experience, opening new horizons for the imagination.
Illusory draws inspiration from the shamanistic cultural references and ‘tree spirit’ stories in Badai’s Witch Way, borrowing sounds from nature to draw visitors into the time journey of the young woman shaman and the whispered conversations between ghosts and tree spirits. The installation adopts natural sounds as its foundational coordinates, breathing authenticity into this 17th century legend in hopes of achieving a richer depth and diversity of meaning.
Recreating the ‘true’ sounds of shamanistic creatures and the true settings and situations in Witch Way is, of course, impossible. However, attempts to do so should avoid becoming overly regulated, while evoking an ambiance that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy. The ideal of the musique concrète genre is to use wholly natural sounds directly in the creative sound development process. By contrast, absolute (aka abstract) music creates sound wholly from abstractly created notes written down in the form of musical scores.