Processes of Revelation: Liza Lim

My latest article for Sound and Music’s INTO Magazine is out, and it’s a sort of profile/introduction to Liza Lim and some of her recent music. A short article like this is nowhere near enough space to begin to unravel the layers of intellectual investigation and emotional energy that make Liza’s music so special. This is only a sketched beginning, in some ways a study for some more detailed work I’m going to be doing later this year on her recent ‘shimmer’ pieces, but hopefully there’s something in here that will hook some new listeners.

Opening a Liza Lim score for the first time, one is struck by its mix of precise rhythmic and pitch notation, and generalised, graphical indications of timbre and sound production. A flurry of microtonal demisemiquavers under a 9:8 tuplet might, for example, be followed by a hand-drawn wavy line and the instruction ‘sweep bow’. When one listens, however, the contrast between the controlled and the speculative dissolves, revealing something utterly new and original.

Thanks to Liza for taking the time (in the early morning after a premiere no less!) for the interview that feeds into this piece.


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