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Okkyung Lee

Okkyung Lee | 57 Answers
- cello, pick-up microphone -

Be prepared and listen to the recording through a real sound system!
To use subwoofer it makes so much difference for this composition.

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Press Reviews:


"A voyage perfectly structured, fascinating in its proposal and culmination" Tomajazz, Spain

"One of the most intimate and elegant sounds of noise and the new composition in just sixteen minutes and twenty seconds", Mexico City.

"Why necessarily expressing complexity in long durations? With this piece – lasting 16-plus minutes – Okkyung Lee finds a way to substantiate a radical synthesis of sorts, a sound world containing practically everything as two major forces – that of periodic acoustic exhalation and knotty phraseology – fight one another, ultimately giving life to awesome artistic implications.

Overdubbing parts is a rather uncharacteristic process (though not altogether new) for an unrestrained improvising fury such as Lee’s. Nevertheless, the reiterative structures constituting the essence of 57 Answers are as threateningly fascinating as a pre-storm sky in their husky reconfiguration of the cello’s lower frequencies. In the first half, a thrumming pulse underlies a series of intricate evolutions in the acute register, screeching pitches and sulfurous upper partials producing the same sparkles of a chainsaw blade hitting a metal sheet. Following a somewhat cryptic section in which the instrument’s timbre gets literally vivisected, revealing hundreds of gritty hues and crepitating noises, the last part explodes in a loud chorale of growling drones swinging violently like a crazy pendulum until no more energy remains.

Sparse arco whispers conclude the action, but something still lies underneath the apparent placidity. We’re left with a persisting sense of precariousness: think of a horror movie’s finale where, just before the end titles, the killer’s scarred face is smiling wryly after everybody was thinking that he had been destroyed." Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, Italy


Editor's Note:


From many sites we can read about the exceptional background and unique music of Okkyung Lee. We can read also a lot about her development as an improviser and composer, and her numerous performances with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Carla Bozulich, John Butcher, Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore, Ikue Mori, Butch Morris, Evan Parker, Wadada Leo Smith, John Zorn, etc... or we can list her albums on tzadik, psi,ecstatic peace, emanem, or with Christian Marclay... but on this "art in release" we would prefer to mention otherwise some beautiful moments for us as audience.

On the 20th of march, in 2012, Audition were collaborating with Bei Roy and the Ohrengala Series. Nils Ostendorf was searching for a place to perform with Okkyung Lee, Kim Myhr and Morten J. Olsen and he contacted us.
Of course it was an amazing lineup to say yes immediately. Okkyung performed also on the same night a solo...

Sometimes is quite easy to talk about the skills and obvious virtuosity of our favorite musicians, but to see how the audience is "emotionally moved", inspired while a musician is playing... that's gold.

Five months later, we organised another evening again at Bey Roy's Ohrengala, and she performed with Dj Sniff [Takuro Mizuta Lippit]... wow! Simply another great night. From the beggining to the end the duo was an infinite overflow of sounds and elegance.... and smooth brutality.
Yes, it was quite noisy!

Each time we have listened Okkyung, an implosion feeds the sensations and the feeling of something alive, extremely alive.
And that's why we prefer to avoid any question from beyond. Enjoy this jewel!

Enjoy the "57 answers" by Okkyung Lee (



Audition Records, January 23, 2013, Mexico.