New Music: Xianshan, Zhao Cong, Sound Blanc, Krakatoa

Wang Ziheng 王子衡 & Qian Geng 錢賡 & Anton Kaun – Krakatoa

‘Catharsis through sound, ephemeral rituals and cave painting’ – WV Sorcerer Productions’ latest preserves a once-in-a-lifetime experimental sound, noise and art collaboration. Manifested at the onset of the pandemic in Germany of March 2020 – calligrapher Qian Geng, video/noise/performance artist Anton Kaun, and avant-garde saxophonist Wang Ziheng teamed up with collaboration activist Adam Langer for an excursion of boundary-breaking performances across the country, using the collapsing and uncertain atmosphere around them as inspiration – ‘ radical blend of impulsivity and inwardness’. It’s a mammoth release featuring 90-minute chrome tape, a two-hundred-plus page art book, and other ‘fragments’ left behind from the endeavor.

Xianshan 咸山 – 奏斯弦

Guitar-based ambient music for the soul – Xianshan 咸山 – the musical project from musician Yan Shuai (who also acts as producer for bands like Amber, Lur:, and Earsnail) returns with his latest – ‘Strum 奏斯弦’. Compared to his debut ‘Boundless Island’ from earlier this year, the musician seems more comfortable leaning into the innate organic elements of his guitar, with the atmospheric electronic ornamentation supplementing the looping chords and elastic melodies, and in many ways giving them an ethereal quality that suits the purposefully fluid and meandering tracks quite nicely.

Zhao Cong – gear, gear

High-pitched serenades from a bygone era of household items – experimental sound artist Zhao Song (whose work frequents the label Zoomin’ Night) uses an array of miscellaneous objects that I can only assume were collecting dust including a used micro-cassette player, spray, pop rocks, and a bug zapper, among many others. Eccentric for sure, but like most experimental music of this strain, there’s quizzical pleasure derived from the different ways we listen to the things that surround us.

Melts77, L+R, Xu Sibo 徐思博 – 气QI/初CHU

Sound Blanc 白- Modern Sky’s ambient label and one of the driving forces behind the resurgence in ambient music across China dropped two new conceptual albums surrounding Meditation. Much like a high-end yoga session, the two releases – ‘QI QI’ and ‘CHU’ from producer and sound artists L+R, Melts77, and violinist Xu Sibo – intertwine their immersive, patient and transportive sounds with holistic exercises involving breathing and concentration. With separate tracks featuring Chinese and English guides, the compilations hope to get listeners to explore their ‘inner world’ and adjust their state of consciousness. Dive in for the immersive soundscapes and stick around for some peace of mind.

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