The piece is an intimate take on the recent internet phenomenon known as the Autonomous sensory meridian response. Wikipedia describes it as:
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a euphoric experience characterized by a static-like tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine, precipitating relaxation. It is most commonly triggered by specific acoustic and visual stimuli including the content of some digital videos, and less commonly by intentional attention control.
Using this as a starting point, I wrote a score which transplants this approach to sound into the live ensemble. The piece uses a pre-recorded voice which narrates and navigates the actions of the percussionist. The percussionist, in turn, is playing various quiet sound objects which are highly amplified. The rest of the ensemble is accentuating the sonic events with dense sliding harmonies and contrapuntally arranged noise objects.
“Andrius Arutiunian’s ASMR is a truly corporal and intimate experience of today’s user of smart technology. Here, all kinds of whispering, swishing, and crackling sounds simulate a close and intimate relationship with a human and eventually evoke the sensation of tingling, horripilation and euphoria, as if the ASMR model is whispering in your ear, fixing your collar or trimming your hair. This demonstrates just how private and corporal the bonds between sounds and a listener may become, and how it stimulates the inner most and very intimate centres of the human brain. This is true speaking of the ASMR models who, just like sounds artists, strictly control the sonic experience of a listener, according to Andrius Arutiunian. The composer makes these private and intimate experiences public by scanning its aesthetic and musical aspects and transferring them into a universal concert space.” – Vytenis Burokas in “Another Point of View” by Music Information Centre Lithuania
The piece was recorded by Ensemble Synaesthesis, voice recording by Marianna Maruyama