The title, "Man-Mo", of this soundscape-composition is the name of a temple in the centre of Hong Kong. It was at this location that the first conception for this piece was inspired. Large incense spirals hanging from the ceiling of the temple provided the bases for the structure of the composition. The music can be seen/heard as the slow movement of a veil of incense smoke escaping through the opening in the ceiling of the temple roof.
The piece consists of five parts and is conceived for prerecorded tape and two live performers. Two different types of sounds are used on the tape: soundscapes and instrumental sounds. The soundscape recordings were partially realized in Ghent and in the Northern Territories of Australia. They bring together sounds of water, bells, tropical insects and parrots, and the waking up of a marsh at dawn. The soundscapes have a very slow evolution of ever-altering timbre which gives the impression of using electronic modification; in reality however, the mixes are only made out of pure nature sounds. Each part of the composition ends with one or more gong beats, which slowly lead to the climax. This process of growing can be compared with a hieratic slow movement to climb high stairs: at the top, an elusive heavenly sanctuary is to be discovered.
The graphical score of "Man-Mo" was originally drawn with black and red sumi-ink on large sheets of japanese rice paper.
"Man-Mo" was commissioned by the National Belgian Radio and appeared on the CD "Logos Works" XI 117 (Experimental Intermedia Foundation, 224 Centre Street, N Y 10013, NY,USA)
Published on the web on September 13th 1998 by Moniek Darge