Thursday, 14 December 2017


The screaming cosmic synth that hits at the start of this track, it arrives scathing and scorching, but shot through in the midst of its scratchings and scrapings is this plasma modulation, a sense of the steel and unbridled progress of the present and its outstretched hands craving the years ahead and beyond. The decayed whistle and muffled impact of a bomb, the PA system speaking to the crowd as you embark a ship to a future industrial megacity. This is the scene-setting power of two-thirds noise one-third classical in 'Empty Mountain Weeps Alone [空山独哭]' by LA-based musicmaker Nicolas Zhu aka bod or Baojiaxiang[包家巷] ('Baojia Alley'), presumably named after the same street in Chengdu. Maybe not.

Halfway through this short sharp snippet of sound we are introduced to this gargantuan construction site, the glitching beat like heavy machinery working in unison clashing together cranes and cement mixers and all the movement and drills and hammers and metal and muscle carving away at the surface of the earth and constructing a cradle of consumerism. In the background the silken tones of a traditional Chinese lute-like instrument (there are many so to name one would be a guess), like a sigh of nature drowned out by the grunts of advancement, reminscent of the hole-boring mall-making and gaudy grandiosity at tourist destination Yangshuo. Nature as stomped on by humanity. And it ends, the rush of cars in the rain, piano sounding a gentle shrug as protest, a casual hands-in-pocket lonely lament.

  • 🔔 This wonderful experimental piece arrives from bod's upcoming release for Zoom Lens called Piano Compositions: a 17-minute piece of which this snippet is in fact the 3rd movement. It's out and available tomorrow (15th December).
  • 🔔 Read about the strange carnival that is Yangshuo right here, which we wrote about as part of our Visits travel series.

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