Atlantic Waves 04may10: An Anthology Of Chinese Experimental Music 1992-2008 (pt 2/3)

This four-disc volume at first seems like a daunting, overwhelming prospect: in addition to being a vast and sprawling collection of works, it’s made up by a roster of artists whose work will (for the majority of Western listeners at least) be entirely unfamiliar. The Sub Rosa anthologies are unfailingly impressive collections of work, but this one more than most represents a deluge of new information and new sounds. Help is at hand thanks to the inclusion of two booklets: the first gives a full tracklist complete with artist biographies, while the second (penned by Zbigniew Karkowski and Yan Jun) offers some background context to this collection, with an essay on Chinese underground culture. Compiled by artist Li Chin Sung (aka Dickson Dee), the selection here draws new laptop and electroacoustic music from across not only mainland China, but Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia too, and while its impossible to give any kind of comprehensive or fully formed representation of a music scene as truly multi-faceted and subterranean as this, hopefully the collection will offer up a number of new avenues for you to pursue in discovering more about the intersecting cultural movements hinted at within. After an initial disc filled with glorious experimental sounds and cutting edge abstract electronics that border on the more academic end of digital musics, by the second CD slightly more pop-influenced sounds start to infiltrate the compilation: while the likes of Wang Jong-Kuen’s ‘Leaving’ and Dickson Dee’s own ‘Somewhere’ occupy a rigorous and uncompromising microsound approach, you can hear 4/4 dance music templates being utilised throughout Sun Dawei’s ‘Crawing State’. In addition to these extremes, sifting through the compilation reveals a particularly resonant affinity with noise music, with groups like Torturing Nurse and D!O!D!O!D! suggesting cross-pollinations of Japanese, American, and more European, industrial influences. Noise is truly a global language. In fact, one of the most striking things about the compilation, once you’ve worked your way through its full expanse, is that old notions of East and West don’t necessarily count for much within the context of music – at least not experimentally motivated music (for example, just compare the sense of forward-thinking post-digital innovation presiding over Dennis Wong’s ‘Para_Dot’ to Alva Noto’s hyper-minimal propulsions). In any case, there’s a abundance of revelatory moments and exciting, unfamiliar sounds spread across these four discs, and for any follower of experimental music, the anthology has to rank as essential listening. (


Sleeping Dogs Lie 98: Red

redSet up in 2003, Lona Records is an independent label in Hong Kong preoccupied with producing alternative/experimental music. In December 2005, they launched a series of 3″ CDR singles as an attempt to explore the aesthetic boundaries of experimental sound. Each 3″ CDR or 3″ DVDR features musical/multi-media works by independent artists from across the world, including the U.K., U.S., Italy, Sweden, mainland China, and Hong Kong etc. Each volume is released in a limited numbered edition of 50. From droning to clicks n’ cuts, from glitch to avant-garde, from ambient to extreme noise, they venture off the beaten path and bring all sorts of exciting sounds to a worldwide audience. Their 3″ series has attracted more and more great artists/bands, both new and established, from near and afar, to lay in Lona’s hands the products of their sonic experiments. Open-ended and ever-evolving, this series is rolling on and on—breaking new ground, transcending more boundaries. Alongside the 3″ series they also release CDs in larger size and quantity, which include the official album Hou Guan Yin of FM3 + Dou Wei from Beijing , the first official album She Traded Her Leg of Jeffrey Bützer from the United States, and the debut EP and album of The Yours from Hong Kong.

RED is the first compilation of Lona Records’ Color Series. RED is a massive 3-CD compilation (including 28 pages A5 size booklet) that goes beyond genre and pigeon holes. In RED, Lona Records invited 16 pioneering Chinese sound artists and musicians from China, Hong Kong and overseas to present their interpretation on the color red. The result is a radical and eclectic mix of experimental sounds, extreme noises, and atmospheric instrumentations.

01 Li Jianhong: “Red” (00:39) from “Red” (2009)
02 Yan Jun: “Re(a)d Garden, Sound Forks in the Rain” (09:53) from “Red” (2009)
03 ZenLu: “Sunset” (04:21) from “Red” (2009)
04 Wilson Tsang: “black FLIGHT AT red NIGHT” (03:39) from “Red” (2009)
05 Kim Tak Building: “The Man Who Sprayed into the Forest” (06:05) from “Red” (2009)
06 Vsop: “Noble Savage” (04:53) from “Red” (2009)
07 Bai Tian: “Red” (06:40) from “Red” (2009)
08 KWC: “Hometone” (19:31) from “Red” (2009)
09 Wang Changcun: “Dream Receiver” (04:38) from “Red” (2009)
10 Fathmount: “Part 1” (21:15) from “Red” (2009)
11 Torturing Nurse: “Spoken Word” (00:36) from “Red” (2009)