Gig Recap: Wonton Bureau – Transcend (2021.03.24)

Wonton Bureau 馄饨局: Transcend Zuho 关于, Voision Xi, 二次河流, Brizzli ALL Club 2021.03.24

So last week LiveChinaMusic co-hosted the latest Wonton Bureau 馄饨局 – the weekly ALL Club series held by On The Road. What I love about setting up an event there, particularly on a Wednesday, is the ability to use the space for something a bit looser in terms of concept and vibe. And for the occasion, I had decided I had wanted to veer deeper into ambient territory – a mix of hardware heavy drones, slow-burning trip-hop neo soul grooves, avant-garde soundtrack music, and layered and nature-evoking house music. The reason besides indulging in the idea of a place like ALL Club turning in on itself for something more intimate and spiritual (in the musical sense at least) was because it was being held on the week I was due to become a father. I felt that perhaps I needed to meditate on the impending parenthood. Or at the very least, step outside of myself one last time before my outlook was revised. 

And of course, serendipity (no such thing as bad luck in these situations) came knocking on my door and the morning of the show, I was looking into my daughter’s eyes for the first time. The whole ordeal is a story unto itself and sleep was in short supply, but by the afternoon I was crammed in close quarters with my wife, my kid, and three other couples – the closet thing I can imagine to being in a Chinese university dorm, albeit with a lot more crying. Luckily, I had my partner-in-crime Cab on the scene to cover for me.

I did manage to sneak out at one point for a forty-minute stopover between my home and the hospital – hiding in the back of ALL, mostly in a state of shock. And, have to admit, hearing Zuho perform will go down as one of the most surreal, moving, and dare I say, transcendent moments in my entire life. The music is already soul-crushingly beautiful on its own but tangled up with the emotions at hand and my physical and mental state at the time, it floored me. I’m sure I’ll try to put it into better words one day to my daughter, but at that moment, I ceased to be.

Thanks again to all the artists, to On The Road, to ALL Club, to Cab, to the friends and fans who came, and of course my ever-expanding family. 

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