Boomkat Product Review:
Another pearl from Métron Records, introducing Li Yilei to their fold with a 2nd album of filigree ambient works reflecting her Chinese heritage and states of mind during early lockdown
At the onset on the pandemic, London-based artist Li Yilei managed to book a ticket on one of the final flights back home to China, where they finished up a suite of compositions while quarantined in Shanghai. Although begun before lockdown, the experience inevitably seeped into her recordings and they came to be a sort of poetic meditation on time and place, with Li intending to “portray each song as a short, scattered poem - a moment that I captured to represent each hour.” The results dovetail beautifully with Métron’s emergent style of immersive, abstract ambient storytelling, gently resonating with the ghost stories of Meitei and the delicacy of Florian TM Zeisig’s multiple releases.
Tapping into the zeitgeist from the near epicentre of 2020’s world changing madness, Li deploys her sound craft at its most sensitive and elusive across 12 pieces of deliquescent, time-dilating electronics, with each tracks metaphorically transcribing and distilling hours of the day to convey her feelings of “grief, panic, dealign, cessation, melancholy, vastness, hope, joy and emptiness” felt whilst in isolation. Additional to her electronic palette, a range of violin and traditional Chinese guqin aid in colouring and connoting her moods, finding a sublime tension between the synthetic and acoustic that can be read as allegory for relations between the manmade and natural worlds.