Philadelphia’s Lucy Liyou is a composer and sound artist. The innovative new release, Practice, draws on Liyou’s Korean heritage, including segments of pansori (Korean folk opera), the Korean concept of ‘Han’, and Korean drama soundtracks. The young composer is able to keep listeners engaged with focused and playful music.
‘Practice makes perfect’ is a generally-accepted term, but it isn’t a truth. Practice makes permanent, not perfect, and Liyou’s music is finetuned, the piano is expansive, bright, and colourful, and it’s enough to take the music higher. Of course, there are multiple meanings to the term, but the record tackles the ‘rhetorical friction that exists between two of them’. Practice can refer to the performance of an activity or regular exercise of a skill in order to improve one’s proficiency, but it can also refer to the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.
Practice was composed, recorded, and produced at Liyou’s family home in Washington State as a reaction to last September’s events, where Lucy’s mother was required to wait in Korean quarantine before they could be released to care for the artists ailing grandmother. A fraught, emotional, and tense period led to a time of deep reflection on ‘the spectrum of family dynamics and the peculiar ways that personality traits echo across generations’. Text-to-voice, lilting piano melodies, and a heavier, more brutal set of electronic textures are all a part of a coping mechanism, an emotional outlet in which Liyou can dissect and display feelings. As such, Practice is a haunting and deeply personal record.