Gyeonggye: Border details

Gyeonggye: Border

for Taegŭm (plus voice; and Japanese Temple bell [high] with suspended internal striker, or F crotales)  (2020); duration: 7′ 01″; publisher: Australian Music Centre

Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) in action at Creativity Unlimited Music Festival 2017 (photo: Petar Jovanov) and branch in Mulgoa Nature Reserve, Sydney (photo: Bruce Crossman)



Hyelim Kim GB 2
Hyelim Kim, National Gugak Center, Pungryu Sarangbang, Seoul, South Korea on 9 February 2022


score available from

Australian Music Centre

program note

Gyeonggye: Border was sparked in my imagination by the organicism of the zig-zag organisation of a tree branch, observed during my bush walks in Mulgoa Nature Reserve near the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Sydney. Its organic rhythmics, angular and sharp, jarring things with the rhythm of nature inspired the organicism of the music, as a flow of juxtaposed living colours. Here, a living colour thread of taegŭm bamboo colours move from breath sounds to full-blown reed-membrane stridency excitations, with subtle pitch shifting, pure-to-noise notes, chant memories and air-attacks in-between. It is shaped as a cellular acceleration structure inspired by Korean Gugak sanjo structure. It moves from the gentle stillness of the opening’s Japanese temple bell resonances, broken by Judeo-Christian glossolalia chanting entwined with the Korean word ‘gyeonggye,’ and closes with taegŭm breath-drones and emergent flourishes as if signaling heaven; this double stillness frames a disruptive, accelerating middle section. Here, the taegŭm’s breath-membrane noise-purity tones gradually accrue colour density juxtaposed with moments of ecstatic inner rhythmic möt and glossolalia speaking-in-tongues chanting, towards a controlled free improvisatory space for the performer. Its timeless space allows the player room to create whooping sweeps of colour and breath-to-tonal bends, towards ripping up the motif structures in a liberamente free-joy. In this sense, the unpredictable improvisatory ripping up of the breath colours as spirit movement in the music, was inspired by Chinese painter Cai Guo-qiang’s gun-powered exploding of calligraphical painting towards spirit, that Hyelim and I had witnessed together in Melbourne last year. The pulsing juxtaposed colours of the taegŭm are a type of symbolic life pulsing, as spirit crosses from heaven to earth and earth to heaven, as a tribute to my father’s border crossing to heaven this year.

Bruce Crossman, Gyeonggye: Border (taegŭm)

dedication note:

Gyeonggye: Border was composed as part of a film collaboration between Korea, United Kingdom and Australia, involving Hyelim Kim (taegŭm), Pedro Velasco (director/ director of photography) and Bruce Crossman (composer). It was written for Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) and in memory of my father, Wallace Crossman (Potocki).

first performance:

The work was recorded by Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) in London, United Kingdom, November 21 2020.

article & recording
available on writings page

See article on the work and recording on the writings page, Local Materials and Creative Flow towards Interior Senses of Spirit 


Gyeonggye: Border (short film) 2021

Gyeonggye: Border still: Hyelim Kim (Pedro Velasco, director of photography)

Pedro Velasco: director and director of photography

Hyelim Kim: taegŭm performer and producer

Bruce Crossman: composer, concept and producer

Filmed on the November 22 2021 at Abney Park in Stoke Newington, London, United Kingdom

Sound Recording (taegŭm): November 21 2020 at Stella Polaris Studios, London, United Kingdom

Mixed at Stella Polaris Studios, London, United Kingdom and Building F (studio), Western Sydney University in Sydney, Australia

Session Producer: Øyvind Aamli and Hyelim Kim (London)

Session/Mastering Engineer: Øyvind Aamli (London)

Mastering Engineer: Michell Hart (Sydney)

Calligraphy: Lew Haeng-yol (South Korea)

Music: Bruce Crossman, Gyeonggye: Border (solo taegŭm), Australian Music Centre: Sydney, 2020

Sponsor: School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University

Duration: 10:31

Gyeonggye: Border stills: Pedro Velasco (director of photography)


For the film Gyeonggye, the concept is a type of travel metaphor (not literally) but of spiritual passing with Korean traditional Gugak performance movement through physical locations of arches, gravestones into the hidden bush within a London cemetery (Abney Park in Stoke Newington). The idea is to move from hidden beauty within the bushscapes of the graveyard into skyward ascendance, and slowly return to arches/gravestones/hidden bushes within the cemetery as ‘grief reflection’ and ‘healing’. The colour comes through gently as abstractionist painting approaches to show some burgeoning moments in nature as a metaphor to suggest healing processes amidst grief.  

Hyelim Kim in Pedro Velasco’s short film Gyeonggye: Border