Arranged here for vibraphone, small metal percussion, and string quartet, Farewell to Flesh is a 7-minute standalone movement of the percussion and sax quartet titled Connectome. Farewell to Flesh, the second and third movements of Connectome, embarks on a captivating journey of musical exploration that delves into the intricate neural connections within the human brain. Just as a comprehensive map reveals the intricate wiring of the brain, this composition offers three distinct reflections on the potential futures that the mind's intricate network may lead us to.
In Part 1 - "Pashupatastra (From the Mahabharata)," we draw inspiration from an ancient tale. Arjuna seeks the sacred and formidable weapon, Pashupatastra, which possesses the power to vanquish both man and god. However, he is warned of its uncontrollable nature—the weapon cannot be discarded, returned, or reversed once unleashed. Echoing the spirit of a New Orleans funeral's second line, we contemplate whether we, as humans, have become the ultimate weapon, potentially aiming destruction upon ourselves. Could this be our own funeral march, accompanied by a recognizable yet fragmented melody?
Part 2 - "Farewell to the Flesh," an elegy, contemplates the prospect of achieving complete scans of our neural connections, creating accurate and comprehensive connectomes within our brains and nervous systems. This increasing likelihood raises profound questions about the transition to digital consciousness after death—an immortal existence. Yet, amidst this transformation, we ponder the mourning of our physical, sensual selves. Will emotions still resonate within us as code? Will a well-crafted joke evoke genuine laughter? Can we experience the senses of touch, taste, smell, and hearing? And as digital beings, will our very essence be subject to editing, replication, or the merging of human and artificial intelligence?
In Part 3 - "Rom in Space," we venture further into the future of space travel, imagining a time when all individuals have the freedom to traverse the cosmos. Picture a vibrant community of gypsies and nomads, filling the stars with their energy and creativity. This vision invites us to consider the boundless possibilities and the collective spirit that humanity, and perhaps even our connectomes, could bring to the uncharted realms of outer space.
"Connectome" offers a thought-provoking musical odyssey, exploring the intricate pathways of the human mind and the potential futures that lie within. Through evocative melodies and profound reflections, we invite you to contemplate the intertwined nature of our neural connections and the extraordinary possibilities that may await us on this extraordinary journey of self-discovery and cosmic exploration.
Watch and Listen
Farewell to Flesh (string quartet and percussion)
for String Quartet and Percussion
Instrumentation: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Vibraphone/Junk Percussion