Soma Ras: The ‘juice of Soma’. Soma (सोम), is a psychoactive drug, of which the poets of the Vedas received through vision. However the Soma is not known anymore. Soma soon came to be known as the moon, or Chandra (चन्द्र). ‘Ras’ later came to mean, "Sacred mood, which is experienced by being in the presence of good art, poetry or music"; of which there are nine in total.
Soma Ras is a work created to generate a sonic experience in a chamber-like room, immersing the audience into the lyrics of eight songs. Each song takes on a different romantic stance around ideas of utopia, nirvana, and personal histories. Soma Ras also portrays transcendent encounters and narratives, helping one to escape from clinical contemporary culture. By immersing the viewer within an empty room, this work attempts to scrutinise the void that one faces when accessing the notion of ‘creativity’. It is through listening to the lyrics that this work attempts to enhance the experience of Soma Ras.
The Cocktail Song (3:14)
The Cocktail song presents viewers a mode of escapism based on the trending theme of alcoholism, which is prevalent in popular music. It describes a moment when one decides to free oneself to the promise of alcohol, and by doing so, celebrating their individuality.
Rack City Bitch (3:13)
This song contains 40 lines that consist of the first lines of the UK top 40 music charts. This song is an attempt at creating the perfect song, by using lines from music that are well-received by listeners. The lines are arranged from the first to the last song.
Love Doctor (1:55)
This song draws influence from the ever-popular theme of sex within current radio music. I appropriate lines from a variety of popular songs that describe the liberating quality of lovemaking, following closely to the way it is described on the radio.
On the Prowl (3:27)
The sister song of Rack City Bitch, this song also contains 40 lines, but is made up of the last lines of the UK top 40 music charts. The song is made to follow the same musical scoring as the aforementioned, but is lyrically inadequate. The lines are arranged from the last song to the first.
Blue Bollywood (2:22)
Blue Bollywood is an amalgamation of the metaphorical use of colours to describe a certain mood or emotion and the technique of mixing foreign languages into a song. This is a very common approach in current music that I am attempting to emulate. I use lines from several songs with the colours blue mentioned in the title, all of which describe a lonesome character, it is then juxtaposed with found Hindi tracks.
Scat is a song that utilizes the vocal technique of scatting to exemplify the colloquial term, scat, which is used to describe human faeces. This juxtaposition is reminiscent of songs that comment on music where singers present themselves as equals to their listeners, knowing their roots amidst their fame and calling a place home.
You and Me (1:52)
You and Me is a love ballad, which is based on describing physical distance between two lovers. Distance is statistically the most used theme in popular love songs; this song is the ultimate love song.
You and Me
Photos courtesy of Joel Yuen