Boomkat Product Review:
Composer and multimedia artist Anqi Liu blends reverberating field recordings and wailing modular synths on her Longform debut, looking to Medieval Chinese porcelain to inspire her alchemical sonic processes.
During the Song Dynasty, in around 1100CE, the Chinese imperial court commissioned a very special pale blue-grey pottery known as Ru ware from a cluster of kilns around the village of Qingliangsi in Henan. And while the style has been imitated many times following this period, it's never been matched - there are fewer than 100 pieces left, and the last sold fetched an eye-watering $38 million. Liu is fascinated by the mysterious process behind the Ru process, that was down to ancient craftsmen's knowledge of the unpredictability of iron, which was used to acquire the cloudy color. She sees her sonic experiments as similarly enigmatic, and embraces both flaws and perfection to achieve her finished result.
'a window on absurd, evanescent scenes' is a single, half-hour odyssey that combines field recordings captured across the USA with undulating synthesizer improvisations, weaving acoustic elements into the spaces in-between. And it's gripping stuff - Liu isn't making background music, but detailed, narrative-driven sound that traipses across the physical and historical world to make connections we might not initially perceive. Not exactly meditative, it's like noise or free improv reduced to a gentle simmer, slowly building up to an intense, hypnotic conclusion. Very good stuff.