Boomkat Product Review:
Intriguing debut album of disjointed, abstract computer music and free improv by Chinese artist Xuan Ye, who currently resides in Toronto after studies in NYC
”Xuan Ye, also known as APA (A Pure Apparatus), is a prolific artist, multi-instrumentalist, and computer coder. Born in China and trained in classical piano from a young age, X’s family - though not wealthy - were one of the first owners of a piano in their small community in Xiaocuo. X left home at eleven to study piano performance at a boarding school in Gulangyu, an island colloquially known as Piano Island - famous for its architecture, winding car-free streets, and crucially, a plenitude of pianos.
Despite a significant aptitude for music, parents forbid pursuing a career in hopes that X would secure a financially viable vocation. X continued a clandestine music practise while studying e-commerce and financial engineering in Shanghai, posting online and performing at night to become certifiably internet famous on the social network Douban. Upon graduation, X once again left the familiarity of home, quit the job and became a bar singer in the mountainous community of Lijiang, near Tibet. The gig obliged X to perform certain standards, including numerous Teresa Teng covers.
Xuan eventually moved to New York City to study. Focusing on sound and semiotics of performance, it is here that X became familiar with the works of the avant-garde, deleted the Douban profile, and transformed into APA. X relocated again to Tkranto/Toronto and began a series of complex and crucial performances in the creative music community, guided by a self-imposed rule to never repeat the same setup. “A Pure Apparatus” is emblematic of this ethos of improvisation
XI XI 息息 is Xuan Ye’s debut album. Compiled from solo improvisations across a three year span, the recordings comprise a fascinating document of X’s foundational ideas; free improvisation, computational randomness, hybrid chaos of gestures and mediated bio-electrical currents.”