Taiwanese-born audio technologist Mei-Fang Liau moonlights as Floating Spectrum, a moniker that encompasses the immersive, cinematic soundscapes she conjures up.
Her debut album, A Point Between, arrived last autumn on Temporary Residence, an exploration of organic and synthetic textures created through using everyday household objects, synthesizers and software synthesizers built by Liau herself. Built on the foundations of two compositions she wrote for a dance performance, she examined themes around life: how it emerges, flourishes and eventually decays and the emotions associated with these different phases.
Her work is meditative, thought provoking and intricate, something that is stimulated by her technological ambition and her ability to create depth and texture in simplicity.
Here she eases us into the new decade with a mix of beautiful, ambient soundscapes. Just what the doctor ordered...
Please introduce yourself... Who are you, where are you, what are you?
Hi! Here is Floating Spectrum, currently (temporarily) in Finland. I am a 21st century music box
Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.
Knowing that the mixtape is aiming to ease the listeners into Monday, I would like to bring light, energy and a soothing feeling with this mix
If it were to be drawn what would it look like?
Like warm light beams shining through dark green organic textures
If it were a food what would it be?
A smoothie with banana, frozen berries and crunchy chocolate toppings
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Lying on a hammock with sun shining over your face
What should we be wearing?
A pair of hiking boots with colorful shoelaces
Where was it recorded?
Finland (tomorrow was the shortest day of the year when I recorded it btw., trying to stay bright with the mix)
Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?
If I had a restful Sunday, I actually like Mondays
Who got you hooked on electronic music?
When I was at university a friend called Showyao showed me the music software Fruity Loops. I was very intrigued by the sounds I could produce with it and started to dive into electronic music
Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?
Honestly, the music that I've enjoyed in different stages of my life has all shaped my current taste. But I think Eliane Radigue, Laurie Spiegel, Broadcast, Tim Hecker, Greg Haines etc. had big influences on my debut album. I want to craft novel and imagination-evoking sounds while being deeply touched by my own work
What were your original aspirations as musicians and how do you think you're shaping up?
It's curiosity and the gratification I got from making music that led me on this path. I didn't have specific goals when I started out
What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?
My brother and I played loads of console games when we were kids and I think that's my first exposure to electronic music. I don't remember what the first ever was (Super Mario maybe?), but the first one that stuck with me was the soundtrack of Shining Force. I wasn't into RPG games at the time but I would watch my brother play, as I was thrilled about some of its music
How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?
When things are going well - it feels like it's on fire and the world has disappeared. If I am not making music my brain probably is in analytical mode for patching/coding tasks.
What were the first and last records you bought?
I vaguely remember asking my mum to buy me a symphony orchestra CD when I was a little kid. Unfortunately I don't remember the title. I was rather into classical music when I was tiny. The latest album I bought was Phantom Island by Andrew Pekler. Really love the concept behind it and the synthetic yet organic sounds
What are you obsessed with at the moment?
Super dark chocolate (> 85%) So good!
If you could travel in time...where in time would you go? Why?
I would like to go to the time when I was around the age of 10, when my family was living in the country side. I miss the time being a little wild kid running around the field everyday. I still remember the sounds of the summer nights - crickets, frogs and noise from trees blown by gentle winds.
Some self help questions for a Monday...
Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?
I normally don't look forward to meeting people. But I actually almost always enjoy it when it happens :)
Am I going to my dream job?
It brings me moments of joy and enlightenment, but it comes with less interesting things to deal with as well. So yes and no
Am I being compensated fairly for the value I bring to my job?
I wonder as well
Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?
At this moment, yes, no and no
If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose? How long would it be before you eat them?
My boyfriend. He can have fun with basically anything, so at least we can keep ourselves entertained. Human meat is the least environmentally sustainable food out there so I'll try to find some wild mushrooms instead
Your doctor says you need more exercise....what do you take up for exercise?
Weight lifting - maybe I'll enjoy carrying my gear around a bit more?
What's your answer to everything?
The answer would be - Why does that matter to you?
Anything else we need to discuss?
If you enjoy my mix, be sure to check out my debut released via Temporary Residence. Hope you enjoy it :)
Follow Floating Spectrum. Photo Credit: Victor Luque.