This year my monthly challenge is to create a piece of electronic music using only one short field recording to create the whole piece. In the quest of how sound can be processed into something that may retain the essence of the original but is also very different, this is March’s piece – Tengu.
Japan has a wealth of monsters, legendary creatures, demons and deities. Tengu or “heavenly dogs” take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou) and were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, but are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. The earliest Tengu were pictured with beaks, but this feature has often been humanized as an unnaturally long nose, which today is widely considered the Tengu’s defining characteristic in the popular imagination.
Buddhism long held that the tengu were disruptive demons and harbingers of war but their image has gradually softened into one of protective, if still dangerous, spirits of the mountains and forests.(wiki)
I’ve given this piece the title Tengu, but even under this category there are seemingly hundreds of sub categories of demon and my Tengu is more water based than the traditional bird – like dog demon. The original field recording is of Sunderland Winter Gardens and quite by accident it transformed into a kodo drum rythmn with some mysterious ‘singing’ . How I love it when a few simple processes to sound create something so different.
Artwork by Museleon.