Bora yoon

Sunken Cathedral

Innova 880


01       O viridissima virga                10:25 

02       Father Time                           03:34 

03       Finite Infinity                         04:38

04       In Paradisum                         08:54

05       잔소리 판소리 (Jansori Pansori)       04:09

06       O Pastor Animarum              04:27

07       Speratus                                 02:04

08       Little Box of Horrors             09:04

09       Weights & Balances              05:35

10       Semaphore Conductus         07:19

11       New American Theater        05:20

12       Doppler Dreams                    07:45



A cartography of blood, synapses, circuitry, memory, and spirit — Sunken Cathedral is a sonic journey through the subconscious and the architectural chambers of the body.


Each track evokes a different chamber, corridor, and sonic ‘space’ that excavates memory and illuminates the very matter, energy, and elements of which we are made.


Inspired by the alchemical moment of transmutation where one medium becomes another, Sunken Cathedral traces death, life, rebirth, and the cyclical / recombinant nature of the universe. 



Written and performed by Bora Yoon

Co-produced by R. Luke DuBois.


Bora Yoon: voice, organ, church bells, percussion, Tibetan singing bowls, water, viola, chime sticks, Bible pages, cans, piano, 10-gallon jugs, coins, cell phones, radios, dorje, synthesizer, bike bells, breath wind, electronics, field recordings, sound design.

Featured guest artists:

Sekou Sundiata: Poetry and performance in “New American Theater”

Chris Eddleton: cymbals, metal percussion in “New American Theater”

Peter Scherer: Percussion in “Jansori Pansori” and “Weights and Balances”

Sympho: symphonic performance in “Speratus

New York Polyphony:  Male vocal quartet in “Semaphore Conductus

New York Polyphony appears courtesy of BIS Records.


Mastered by Paul Geluso

Vinyl Mastered by Bonati Mastering  (Innova 881)

Photography by Leslie Van Stelten

Back Image created by Matias Corea, from Harmonograph: A Visual Guide to The Mathematics of Music

Side A/B image: Ouroboros © Saki Blackwing (DeviantArt)

Side C/D image: Messier 10 by NASA

Design & Layout: Popular Noise


Recorded and engineered by R. Luke DuBois (NYU Polytechnic , Ringling Museum of Art), Peter Scherer (Zurich, Switzerland),

Joshua Druckman (Outlier Studios), Paul Howells (Church of Ascension, NYC)


All words and music by Bora Yoon except “O Pastor Animarum”, “O viridissima virga” by Hildegard von Bingen (1098~1179), medieval chant “In paradisum”, and Latin proverbs in “Semaphore Conductus.” Words by Sekou Sundiata in “New American Theater”, 2006.  Industrial rhythms in “Little Box of Horrors” from Titanium Rhythms, Big Fish Audio.  Shortwave transmissions in “Semaphore Conductus” and “New American Theater” from the CONET Project (Irdial-Discs, 1997) Used with permission.


Score for “Semaphore Conductus” is published by Boosey & Hawkes Publishing.

SSAA and TTBB arrangements available for choral performance. 


This album includes performance works created and commissioned for: 

• The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – the multimedia staged adaptation, directed by Stephen Earnhart, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami

• TOWER – chamber commission for the Ann Hamilton spiral tower at Oliver Ranch, California, with Sympho

• ARCO – site-specific symphonic commission for the 55,000 sq. ft military drill hall within the vast Park Avenue Armory, NYC with Sympho

the Young People’s Chorus of NYC Directed by Francisco J. Núñez. “Semaphore Conductus” premiere at Transient Glory Symposium VII

the 51st (dream) state – by the late poet Sekou Sundiata, a performance questioning American identity in a post-9/11 ideology

• AGORA II – site-specific dance work for the 55,000 sq. ft historic McCarren Park Pool, Brooklyn, NY. Directed by Noémie Lafrance.


Made possible by the generous support from the Sorel Organization for Women Composers, Asian American Arts Alliance, Park Avenue Armory, Ringling Museum of Art, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Church of Ascension NYC, Goddess Camp, Queens Council on the Arts, HERE Art Center, and my given and chosen family.  


Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.  

Innova Director: Philip Blackburn  |  Operations Manager: Chris Campbell  |  Publicist: Steve McPherson




Very special thanks and gratitude:


To everyone who played and contributed to this record.  Judy Cope, Claudette Sorel, Berge, Walter, the Sorel Organization, and Yuni Yoon for your faith and support in my work.  To R. Luke DuBois, without whom this creation would not be possible.  Thank you for seeing this through to its full circle.


Marcie Ley, Jocelyn K. Glei, Dolores McElroy, Glynis Rigsby, Sesame, Sue Young, and Rika Iino at Sozo Media for your wind, compass, and guidance through this journey. Dennis Keene, Mother Shelley, and the spiritual family at the Church of Ascension. Maurine Knighton, MAPP International, Nico Daswani, Andrea Louie at Asian American Arts Alliance, Michael Royce and David Terry at New York Foundation for the Arts, Rebecca Robertson, the Park Avenue Armory, Kristy Edmunds, Ann Hamilton, Paul Haas at Sympho, Noémie Lafrance, SENS Production, Francisco J. Núñez and the YPC, Linda Golding, Dana Haynes, Stephen Earnhart, Paul Geluso, Josh Bonati, Josh Druckmann, Peter Scherer, Adam Larsen, Brock Labrenz, Boris Klompus, Ajay Chaudhary, LEMUR, Leif Krinkle, Harvestworks Digital Media, Philip, Chris, and Steve at Innova, April Thibeault, Ben Kellogg, Byron Kalet, Matias Corea, Saki Blackwing, Adam Larsen, Uram Choe, New York Polyphony, Toni Dove, Kim Whitener and Kristin Marting at HERE Art Center, Richard Mai for logo breeze”, Sophia Benhammou, Tom Rielly, Shoham, Sam, and the TED Fellows. 


This record is dedicated in memory of Peter Yoon, Sekou Sundiata, and to my family — Yuni Yoon, John, Suejin, Chris, Sangjoon, Sukbong, Kacie, and Asher. I am because of you. With love and great heart    Bora Yoon



+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +



01  O viridissima virga  (O hail greenest branch)


O viridissima virga               

que in ventoso flabro sciscitationis

sanctorum prodisti.


Cum venit tempus               

quod tu floruisti in ramis tuis;        

ave, ave sit tibi,                                 

quia calor solis in te sudavit           

sicut odor balsami.               


Nam in te floruit pulcher flos         

qui odorem dedit omnibus aromatibus

que arida erant.                   


Et illa apparuerunt omnia 

in viriditate plena.                


Unde celi dederunt rorem  

super gramen                                   

et omnis terra leta facta est,           

quoniam viscera ipsius frumentum


et quoniam volucres celi     

nidos in ipsa habuerunt.                 


Deinde facta est esca hominibus,

et gaudium magnum epulantium;

unde, o suavis virgo,                        

in te non deficit ullum gaudium.    

Hec omnia Eva contempsit.

Nunc autem laus sit Altissimo.        


O greenest branch, hail,

who came forth in blowing wind

from holy wise men.


When the time came

that you bloomed in your branches;

hail, hail to you,

the heat of the sun infused you

with balsamic fragrance.


The beautiful flourished in you

gave its aromatic fragrance

to all that was withered.


And thus all appeared

in full greenness.


The heaven spread dew

over the grass

and the whole earth was made glad,

because her womb

brought forth fruit,

and the birds of the skies

had their nests in her.


Thus was made the food for humanity,

and great joy among the dinner companions;

and therefore, of mild Virgin,

no joy is missing in you.

All of this Eve had disdained.

But now praise be to the highest.


Buddhabox, heartbeats, Bible pages, breath, Tibetan dorje, organ, voice – Bora Yoon

Field recording of songbirds – Tokyo  (2009)

Field recording of hailstorm – Santa Fe (2010)

Manton memorial organ of the Church of Ascension, NYC.

Antiphon chant by Hildegard von Bingen (1098~1179)



02 Father Time

a chance operation sound vignette featuring multiple phasing metronomes–outlining arrhythmia and the various moving components of time. 


ancient Tibetan bowls, metronomes, marine radio, voice, ayoyote, transmission static – Bora Yoon




for Jasky Raju (1980~2005)


Times are moving in stranger strides indeed

thrown back, beyond a life that ever recedes

a janky rhythm of speeds—

each place, each face, a rhythm found in the rhyme…


My head is full of arrows and thoughts

we exist in sweeps and in stops 

—Anvils drop, ad infinitum—

O to belong beyond the dreaming and the dead

first breath to last, one must admit finite infinity


Dreaming is where your dreams maleate into metaphor where you fissure your garnets—

and he says, “every time I dream, I die—

and every time I die, I dream…”


We are all the air­ — we all evaporate 

gather in the clouds, til we rain one day


Sometimes things

change things sometimes


Piano, voices, anvils – Bora Yoon




04  In paradisum (Into paradise)

in living memory of my father Peter Yoon (1945~1993)


‘In paradisum’ is an antiphon chant from the traditional Latin liturgy of the Western Church.  Found at the end of some Requiem masses, ‘In paradisum’ is traditionally sung by the choir as the body is being taken out of the church, as the soul transitions from one life to the next.


In paradisum deducant te Angeli;

in tuo adventu suscipiant te Martyres,

et perducant te

in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.

Chorus Angelorum te suscipiat,

et cum Lazaro quondam paupere

æternam habeas requiem


May the angels lead you into paradise;

may the martyrs receive you in your coming,

and may they guide you

into the holy city, Jerusalem.

May the chorus of angels receive you

and with Lazarus once poor

may you have eternal rest



Pen scrawl, radio, voice, viola, loose chimes, Bible pages  – Bora Yoon

Field recording – Bushwick dogs, EVP (2008)

Microcassette recording of Peter Suk Ryun Yoon (1992)

Buddhaboxes I & II – FM3

Subwoofing spoons – created in collaboration with the League of Electronic Musicians & Urban Robots (LEMUR)




05잔소리 판소리  (Jansori Pansori)

featuring Yuni Yoon

A play on words and love


Voicemails – Mom

Kritalas, snares on Tibetan bowls – Peter Scherer

Hands, aluminum cans, Bible pages, water, voice – Bora Yoon

Field recording of prayers, wishes, and coins tossed at Meiji Temple, Tokyo Japan (2009)



06  O Pastor Animarum  (O Shepherd of Souls)


O Pastor animarum,

et o prima vox

perquam omnes creati sumus


nunc tibi,

tibi placeat,

ut digneris nos liberare

de miseriis et languoribus nostris


O Shepherd of souls,

and o first voice

through whom all creation was summoned


now to you,

to you may it give pleasure and dignity

to liberate us

from our miseries and languishing   


Organ, water, churchbells, ark creak, train, timer, voice – Bora Yoon

Manton Memorial Organ and churchbells of the Church of Ascension, NYC

Antiphon chant by Hildegard von Bingen (1098~1179)





07  SPERATUS (Hope)

Recorded live at the Park Avenue Armory, by Sympho.  A selection from ARCO a site-specific symphonic work co-composed by Paul Haas, Paul K. Fowler, and Bora Yoon for the historic Park Avenue Armory military drill hall in NYC. 


Memini, memini

nosce te ipsum

Anima aeterna, memini



Non nobis solum natis sumus;

Temet nosce.


Noctis lucis caelum

Noctis lucis caelum




Remember, remember,

to thine own self, one must be true

Soul eternal, remember



Not us alone born are we;

Know thyself.


Sky of the night’s light

Sky of the night’s light




Buddhabox, Tibetan dorje, voice – Bora Yoon

Violas, cellos, basses, prepared piano, harp – Sympho

Conducted by Paul Haas






The architecture of the mind is an infinite space

full of rooms, corridors, and stairwells which unfold, and converge, in curious ways


It is the hours of day and night, which cycle around the structure

that illuminate the wonders, and grow long the shadows of what lies within,

and beyond. what is conscious, and what wells up from below.


And while some rooms retain their glory and height, where guests are welcome to come,

there are those rooms in severe disrepair—

under, under construction 


But it is here in the wreck, where the most valuable parts of yourself

are presented back to you to transform


for the things that cut

are also the very things that illuminate—

and what you don’t deal with…

deals with you


It is in this inverted world, one is reminded

It might take a little bit of dying, to know what living is


and your greatest challenge—that of your own creation

and there’s no way out but in. 


Heartbeats, sand debris, water, Astoria pool, industrial rhythms – sound design

Prepared piano, breath, box, 10-gallon jugs, voice, bowed Tibetan bowl,

audio feedback – Bora Yoon






I’m shutting down the valves of my attention

I’m shutting down the valves of you, New York

The science of life, as it swirls around the cup…


it’s either you or me … who’s it gonna be


I have a little shadow

that goes in and out of me,

And what can be the truth of her

is more than I can see.


The further she moves, the tighter the noose,

the greater the sacrifice, heavier the blame


If you’re not going to help

then get out of my way


Nothing ever changes

Nothing ever stays the same


what goes up, must come down

what goes up, must come down


Fate is what happens to you—when you do absolutely nothing

Life!  It’s happening!

It’s funcomfortable!

My shadow has no sense of how

things ought to lay,

and only serves to make a fool of me

in every kind of way


Yeah?  you like this —

I don’t really know what to say…

I mean, you, you chose this. 


round and round­—round and around

what goes up must come down


it’s a mystery, it’s a tragedy

it’s a heinous whorl of hilarities

where Truth is two-sided and spins in six directions


all it takes is a little change…


Weights and balances, pulleys and strings

and all of God in between

it’s all the things you don’t hear that count


where Love learns her tail, under the belly of the beast

what goes up must  come down


What really matters at the end of life?

Is it the things that surround you—or the movements between? 

The invisible threads, the movement of winds

weights and balances, pulleys and strings—

which is the matter, that matters at the end of life?


of water and sky

of heaven and hell

of light and dark

of which we are made


You kill me

You kill us

No one is getting out of here alone

We’re in this together

or not at all.


round and around…

All it takes, is a little change.




Piano, voice, horror foley soundbox, loose spare coins – Bora Yoon

Swiss cowbells, sheep bells – Peter Scherer






10 SEMAPHORE CONDUCTUS is an electroacoustic choral work, inspired by the medieval song form ‘conductus’ and music’s likeness to the conduction of energy,

and the language of signals.  Performed by vocal quartet New York Polyphony, Semaphore Conductus speaks to the notion of music as a timeless medium of expression and communication over distances, format, and time. The work personifies the evolution of communication devices in dialogue, tracing the cyclical nature of music and technology across the centuries — and how transcendental and transportive qualities from early music, are found in new music today.


Sum quod eris, fui quod es

unda est ortus,

sepulchrum pluvia, festina lente

esse quam videri

in lumine tuo, videbimus lumen


I am what you will be, I was what you are

the water is rising,

gravity’s rainbow, make haste slowly

to be rather than to seem

in your light, we shall see light


Megaphone, conch, walkie-talkies, voices – New York Polyphony

Gramophone, synthesizer, voice, semaphore – Bora Yoon

Heartbeats, Morse, cellphones – sound design


New York Polyphony is:

Steven Caldicott Wilson, tenor

Geoffrey Williams, countertenor

Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone

Craig Phillips, bass





from the 51st (dream) state

in collaboration with Sekou Sundiata  (1948~2007)


A citizen walks into a Citizenship looking for directions as the drama opens in a New American Theater with a view from the Lower 9th Ward that looks out on Speed,

a Word Perfect for a future that is Always Now, a millennium already old and half done.

These are the rules to engage this space.


Characters enter and exit at will, drawing blood over Reality vs. Faith. The fighting is dark and sustained,  when the mood is absolved, the Republic moves on to standing ovations.


A poet addresses the podium, calibrates her papers and speaks her words into the room where against all gravity they float: the scale of Empire. War, she says, is the basic unit, but what she really means is Wars, but it doesn’t seem to matter which one.

The audience clears its throat and checks its pockets


Underground ciphers script the streets with graffiti forecasts and prophetic verses on tee shirts and jittery beats that assault and batter the four walls of the common measure — when it’s either murder or be murdered or be motion and overflow

in a narrow leftover space or be not about Time, or on Time — but Time itself



There is singing coming in from the wings on wings:

What is Life?

Life is what we are thinking about all day

The water is rising


The sky over the harbor turns to beauty from time to time from Lower Manhattan to the Verrazano Bridge, and the air in September is brushed lightly with memorials to forgetting, though far away a car is torn apart on a busy street and another bomber petitions eternity


Special forces with special powers return home.

The word on the street says the CIA antennae sits on top of the old Williamsburg Bank,

calls dropping from cell phones as soon as you get anywhere near as if Jihad is taking calls in the mosque between Nevins and Hoyt


Who said to who to who?

Prayer after prayer after prayer bears witness by listening for a call back


Peace and whatnot to the indigenous people of the Salvation Army

Amen to the sinners coming to the house of the Lord for the sweet hour of power

Inshallah to the believers handcuffed in front of the halal store


There are books coming out on the subject every day. The latest one says to lose your soul is a special kind of death. It  never leaves the body, it takes refuge in the sympathetic nerves, in the gaps between synapse, in the possibility of remembering. Turn a page, and there it is:

One eye sees, the other eye feels,

a knowledge of Self and Others.


A wave of mixed messages


A tapping through the wires


It doesn’t  come quietly in the morning. It doesn’t come storming at night.

Decrease by increase by degrees it comes flipping and spinning and insinuating


My left. Your right

My left. Your right

Left right left right left right left right…


by Sekou Sundiata for the 51st (dream) state

Recorded live at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, 2006

Cymbals, Percussion – Chris Eddleton

Violin, voice, cellphones, Bible pages, breath, marching -- Bora Yoon

Shortwave radio transmissions – CONET Project





Composed and created for site-specific dance work AGORA II, in the empty

55,000 square foot pool basin of the historic McCarren Pool, Brooklyn, NY directed

by Noémie Lafrance (SENS Production). Performed by seven sopranos on

bicycles, with the audience at the pool perimeter, the kinetic sopranos ride and

sing in circles at various sizes and proximity to the pool edge, creating a largescale

Doppler effect and unique musical composition for each audience member,

dependent upon their specific location within the space.


Voices, bike bells, electronics – Bora Yoon




For best results, please listen with audiophile quality, full frequency response speakers or headphones, during nocturnal hours.