I’ve always found it awkward to talk about myself. “I’m a composer.” I just keep an ear to the world, follow its transmissions. That’s all the word “alive” really means. I just live, and the music emerges.

The most important moment in my life, I think, was when I discovered the “ear within.” It was a couple years ago, as I walked through the woods under a green canopy of trees. Suddenly, all of space seemed to curl itself around me and immediately begin running backwards. At this moment of coagulation, what I experienced was the absence of whatever time usually is—instead, I became totally immersed in a single, infinitely prolonged instant. The state I was in felt incredibly loud, absorbing all the sound of the world and exploding into silence. I had the sudden feeling that something in my ears had been sharply broken, and I could feel a resounding white emptiness pouring in. I can remember the sympathetic vibrations between the dome of my skull and the dome of the forest.

I take this moment as my starting point, my passage through zero. Everything before it has vanished, reduced to ash. All that remains is “I exist! Here I am!” But I don’t mind the forgetting. To let go is to receive. I suppose I’m closer than anything to the spirit of ancient Chinese art, characters written in water on the road. Lines that evaporate before the image they constitute is completed. From absence to absence. Or as Keats had written on his tomb, “Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water.”

. . . Music, I think, you can’t hold onto. In music, you have to get attuned purely and precisely to the subtle vibrations of the World Spirit. And then it can either be born through you or not, depending on its will. “We’re only mouth.”


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