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Zemi17 is an artist pseudonym adopted by the Brooklyn based composer Aaron Taylor Kuffner for sound and multi media projects, inspired by the multitude of inter continental stories of the mythic cicada. The goals of the Zemi17 project is to extend the legacy and sensibilities of magic seen in nature, and harmoniously interoperate and fuse this magic with our understanding of modern society through the medium of the creative tools of the technological age.

Zemi17’s self proclaimed genre since 1997 is “Space Haus”. Conventionally he floats between the more defined genres minimal techno and electronic ambient music. He is also the co-creator and composer for the Gamelatron (The world’s first and only fully robotic Gamelan Orchestra) and also composes experimental Indonesian music under the name “the Orkestra Jangkrik dan Gamelan Listrik Aneh”.

Zemi or Semi in Japanese means Cicada or the insect Jangkrik in Indonesian. In America there is a special kind of Cicada that only appears above ground for 30 days every 17 years, called the Magicicada (or Magic Cicada). It is an above ground life that almost solely consists of singing very loudly, flying around to find a mate, mating and dying. These specific cicadas are part of many native mythologies and beliefs. Shamans would use their bodies in magical and healing medicines; artists and holy people would depict cicadas often as symbols of resurrection, and rebirth. There are still tribes of people that place the body of a dead Magicicada under the tongue of deceased relatives before they are buried in the ground.


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  • Silvernymph

    Well done on the Gamelatron in the Temple of Transition. Still entranced.

    25 Dec 2011 Reply

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