Gig Recap: Byron Huang-Dean (AUS), Yan Jun, Zhu Wenbo + Zhao Cong (Underpass 2017.09.07)

It’s been a while since I stopped by the Sanyuanqiao underpass for some experimental ambiguity. But whenever I do, it’s always a treat. It’s one of the few occasions where you still soak in how the space shapes an performance – the blanket of the fluorescent bulbs, the hum of the cars above, the way every sound travels and bounces off the cement, and most intriguing to me, the spectators who find themselves in the crosshairs of this most curious endeavor. And while the ‘music’ may not always connect with me, the experience is always something and in many ways is the essence of these events. For this particular juncture, Zoomin’ Nights and Sub Jam hosted the Melbourne-based sound artist and experimental musician Byron Huang-Dean, who used an array of instruments and apparatuses to explore the urban space – a practice in ‘acoustic ecology’ if you will (I really dug how the pocket fans were utilized). Meanwhile, Sub Jam head honcho Yan Jun gave a perplexing, minimalistic ‘acoustic dance’ – where the snap of a finger and the roll of a sneaker on the bare floor were the rowdiest sounds to emerge (I’d be curious to hear what the recorder actually picked up). Finally, Zoomin Night power couple Zhu Wenbo and Zhao Cong amplified some free jazz clarinet through a pair of old school portable radios, which eventually emerged through the crackle of static and FM radio hits (which made it all the more enjoyable). So yeah, quite the diverse outing at the underpass – here’s to hoping they pop out a few more before winter hits.

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