Floating Spectrum – Taiwan-born, Berlin-based composer and software designer Mei-Fang Liau, is about to drop her debut album, A Point Between. Crafted from synthesizers, household objects, and unique software synths she made herself, A Point Between is an album like no other. Her organic sounds are both earthy and ephemeral, shining in the light of the otherworldly while at the same time celebrating the majesty of nature.
Liau had already created audio works for a dance performance, and the album flowered from then on. The performance explored the recurring cycles of nature – the emergence of life, its flourishing and demise. Human emotions follow this circle, too, shifting from one extreme to the other. Liau’s self-made, fractal-inspired software synthesizer, Polyphylla, was designed to simulate the way in which nature can create very complex and organic forms by repeating slight variations on a simple form.
This is a triumph on a technical level, but technological feats don’t amount to much without strong music. The tones are muscular and well-built, and so too is the structure. The foundation will never fall. On ‘Eruption’, Liau built a generative sound system that turns visual data into sound, bleeding signal with data, and data with human interaction. Really, though, the music feels alive and independent of thought, not in need of or requiring the presence of a human being at all. The notes shimmer through a bright haze, like light winking through trees. Her dynamically-alive music points to the nourished soil and a healthy soul. It’s full of colour, vitality, and resistance.
In 2019, where a global environmental crisis is coming to fruition, plagued as it is by plastic, climate change, and massive wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, A Point Between also, perhaps, declares and celebrates the resilience of nature and her ability to grow strong once again, to withstand the atomic bomb, the polluted rivers, the nukes and radiation levels. Liau’s melodies are able to find pathways through and beyond the seemingly-impossible, washed in some kind of a green-emerald sheen.
Barriers are erased. She doesn’t so much guide as she surrenders to the notes and the direction they take. The powerful timbre takes over, consuming all. Distortion flares up, opening like a poisonous flower. The sound reverberates over open channels, broadcasting to Liau’s fresh and noise-strewn neighbourhood. Liau exercises the abrasive and the pillow-soft, sometimes engaging the two contrasting dynamics within a single track and producing an epic battle. She melts them in her pot while gasping in awe at the wonder of nature, constructing something magical and ultimately uplifting, her creation a part of the wider creation.