REVIEW: MIJI Concert #39 at Meridian Space 21/9/16

This review was originally published in Chinese on the Sub Jam wechat account, on the 30th of November 2016. Thanks to Yan Jun and Yan Yulong for their support, and to 白杨 and 黄山 for translation.

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For the experimental music community in Beijing, each month holds the promise of another MIJI Concert. Organised since 2011 by various members associated with the Sub Jam record label, MIJI Concert is now in its 39th edition. This event has managed to survive in a city that has become less than fertile ground for experimental creative productions over the past few years with the closure of a number of venues that would host such events; MIJI is now one of the few regular events for such practical research into sound and music. Since edition 18 MIJI has found a home at the Meridian Space, located in a small creative cluster behind the National Art Museum of China not far from the Forbidden City in central Beijing. The long, thin, upstairs room in which it takes place is perhaps inhospitable for regular styles of performance, but within an experimental context provides an ideal foil for the artists. The quality of the space helps to work against divisions between performer and audience, so the physical relationship between them is always under negotiation – dependant on things like the equipment being used, the style of performance, and the nerve of the audience members. Last week’s MIJI Concert 39 was a case in point, with four pieces making various uses of the space, setting up different experiences of the performers’ relationship between themselves and with the audience.

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MIX: Experimental Sound from China

As my own contribution to World Listening Day (tomorrow, July 18 2013), and at the invitation of Jason Coburn at 8trk radio, I’ve put together a mix of recent work by some experimental musicians and sound artists in China. The sounds require a commitment of time and patience, but I hope you can take an hour out of your day to listen, as this selection rewards sustained listening!

Track list:

  1. 01, V0, by Yan Jun (2011) (performance at Observatori Festival in Valencia, 2011, taken from the CD v, released on Kwanyin Records http://www.subjam.org/archives/1401)
  2. Solo at D22, by Sheng Jie (2010) (unreleased) http://sgogoj.com/
  3. 系统的二次方_三影堂现场录音, by Soviet Pop (2013) (unreleased) http://sovietpopbeijing.bandcamp.com/
  4. KG, by Li Jianhong (2012) (taken from the CD compilation Noise, released on Kwanyin Records http://www.subjam.org/archives/2193)
  5. Sedna, by VAVABOND (2011) (taken from the CD Yellow, released on Kwanyin Records http://www.subjam.org/archives/1208)
  6. 03, by Yang Tao (2010) (unreleased)
  7. 001, by Damage Blanket (2013) (unreleased, includes a sample from Breathe by Holly Herndon) https://soundcloud.com/damageblanket
  8. OP27, by jfi (2012) (unreleased) http://www.douban.com/people/jfi/

8trk.15 Guest Mix by Edward Sanderson (China Experimental) by 8trkradio on Mixcloud

UNCUT TALKS: Three Interviews with China’s sound workers

Over the past few weeks I’ve begun a series of interviews for the “Uncut Talks” sound magazine, a project initiated by the artist Ma Yongfeng of forget art. At this point I thought I would pull together the first three interviews which (coincidentally) have all been with Chinese sound artists and musicians. Future interviews will venture into other creative fields. Ma Yongfeng and the Italian curator and artist Alessandro Rolandi have also added their own interviews to the Uncut Talks site, so please take a moment and check them out, I think there is something for everyone there!

Yan Jun talks about his “Living Room Tour”:


Sheng Jie (gogo) talks about her audio-visual practice:


VAVABOND (Wei Wei) and Li Jianhong talk about improvisation:

GeoSlant: Shan Studio and Gigonline: Don’t wake the neighbours

Sheng Jie (aka gogoj) and Shan Studio

Shan Studio, 3-2-302# Sweetness Home, No.29 Huayuan Hutong Dongxiang, Andingmennei, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China

It’s midnight, Beijing-time, and in the darkened living room of a small apartment near the city’s second ring road, two figures quietly attend to their bank of equipment. The performers, Taurin Barrera and gogoj, appear not entirely there, in a world of their own, working away in an environment with few sounds filling the room aside from the rustles of their movements. Projected on the wall beside them are gogoj’s wave form lightening strikes, reacting to some unheard input, building from simple shaped waves through to complex smears and many-dimensional structures as the feeds become ever more complex. The silence in the room contrasts starkly with the sounds and visuals each performer is producing within the walls of the equipment and immediately dispersed away online to a small audience which has gathered from around the world to experience False SIP, Shan Studio’s first Gigonline.

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