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Ensemble X performers - Xak Bjerken (piano), Ellen Jewett (violin), Elizabeth Simkin (violoncello)

Leaked Tape from the Sacred Mysteries (2018)

9 minutes - for piano, violin, violoncello

Commissioned by Musica QuLacoza to represent the young contemporary music of Turkey in Japan.


World Premiere by Musica QuLacoza, February 09.2019 - Nagoya, Japan.

Turkish Premiere by Ensemble X, August 29.2018 - Cappadocia, Turkey.

This piece was made possible thanks to Musica QuLacoza and composer Hideki Kozakura's kind invitation.


Leaked Tape from the Sacred Mysteries is the precursor to a larger ensemble piece, A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley, in which a fictional ritual is enacted by beings who can be described as "almost human, but not quite". These entities are trapped on the thin line between the human and non-human, and their rituals are meant as a way of embracing this existential duality. As its title suggests, Leaked Tape from the Sacred Mysteries was written as if it is a secret recording taken during one of these aforementioned rituals.


Much like the residents of the Uncanny Valley, the piece itself also possesses both "human" and "non-human" qualities. The composed material is derived from the spectral analyses of the Narrator’s voice from A Night of Music in the Uncanny Valley, and accordingly, certain fragments of the piece are also made to sound organic like speech. By using the phonetic qualities of the source material as a reference, I intended to create a blend between the human voice and the acoustic instruments.


In contrast to this "human" aspect, other parts of the piece are structured in a more organized, "inorganic" fashion. In these sections, the temporalities are stretched out and the textural and modal qualities of the source material are emphasized. This deliberate manipulation of the source material is intended to underline the new, artificial shape that it is now given. The back and forth transitions and superpositions of the "human" and "non-human" sections are meant to guide the listener towards a state where they might stop distinguishing between the two. I see this perceptual uncertainty to be an essential ingredient in achieving the uncanniness that I wish to evoke through this piece.

Ensemble X performers: 

Xak Bjerken (piano) 

Ellen Jewett (violin) 

Elizabeth Simkin (violoncello)

Art: Max Ernst



The text that is used in this work includes an altered quotation taken from an interview with Mark Tilden.


Leaked Tape's performance at Studio Haru, Nagoya:

Kumi Uchimoto - Piano

Rika Futakawa - Violin

Yuki Nomura - Violoncello

Concert excerpt, Nagoya

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