“By falling asleep I fall inside myself… to where I am no longer separated by the world… I pass that line of distinction to slip entirely into the innermost and outermost part of myself.”
Jean-Luc Nancy, quoted from his book The Fall of Sleep, on the fall within oneself when we sleep. Nancy’s views on sleep, particularly the fall, are one inspiration for this work, Morpheus.
The title of the composition itself refers to Nancy’s analogy of sleep through the mythical Greek god Morpheus, son of Hypnos, who can don the shape of humans: “Morpheus transforms the pure matter of sleep into form. He gives shape and flight to the shapeless and to the fall. His metamorphosis contains the very mystery of sleep: the outline of a fluidity, the look, sign, and gesture of evanescence with the charm and virtue of presence”.
Metamorphosis and donning both function as compositional strategies in this work: sounds from the environment are convolved with a single note plucked on the cymbala, allowing noise to masquerade as tone.
The interplay of internal and external experiences in the world, and our perception of them, are crucial to Nancy’s ideas on sleep, and this interplay strongly influences not only the concept behind this piece and what it aims to refer to, but also the sound palette used.
Sounds from the outside world (the sound of traffic, sirens, birds, as captured in the bedroom) are manipulated and
organised amongst the sounds of my own nocturnal sleep-activity (sighs, movements, mutters) - sleep reflects our innermost and outermost selves, and in turn, Morpheus embraces the nocturnal environment in its inner (myself) and outer (the world surrounding me) representation. From outside to inside referential sounds mark the space of sleep it is narrated. But soundmarks are also used to portray the passing of time. The journey from night to day, from dark-night to light-morning is marked by respectively the sound of night-traffic in the street, my own sound while asleep, and the sound of birds early in the morning to mark both the awakening and the end of the journey/composition.
Luca Nasciuti is a composer based in London. His work spans from installations to video and performance art.
His second release, Vanishing Point, will be out on Somehow Recordings in July 2012.
Morpheus was written in late 2011 at the Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths University of London, as an 8.1 channel surround piece.
Photo courtesy of Giacomo Bandini