edward sanderson interview yan jun & zhu wenbo: about “There Is No Music From China”


according to “there is no music from china”
edward sanderson’s blog

ED: Why these artists?

YJ: first at all i didn’t want to do it by my own. i thought i had to work with zhu wenbo. he is an experienced organizer and a good musician. one of the low-profile scene which grows after “no beijing” and d-22 rock. i’m not sure how much he and they related to the previous experimental music scene in beijing but definitely it’s the most interesting sound today. in today’s beijing zhu wenbo is more active on the field than me.
we have some common favorite artists on list. but some different. such as zhong minjie. he was almost in silence for 6 or 7 years. i discovered yao qingmei by chance. by a link of her “internationale”. in her case she is not really working on music but this piece is definitely about music and i personally have strong empathy with this song.
as we initiated this compilation from the title, a paradox and joke, i’d like to invite some artists who might be interesting on playing the game. and of course, their works are somehow in-between “music” and “no music”.

ZWB: as Yan said, that’s right. The plan is, he ask half people, I ask another half, one by one. Most of them are friends (except Zhong and Yao to me), nearby friends, faraway friends, old friends, fresh friends….. Not only friends, another reason I ask them is, I trust them. I believe they will have interests to do something based on this subject.

ED: How does this compilation reflect, or differ from what we might normally call the experimental scene in China? Was there a particular feeling (or understanding of the scene) you were trying to give with this collection of artists/works?
YJ: for me “experimental” or “avant garde” means react to the reality. when these terms are mainly genres, today, the meaning of be experimental is important. it has to be a reflection or reaction from its own time and environment.
virtuosity is also something i tried to avoid. and, perhaps, taste.
if you listen to kurt schwitters’ original recording of “ursonate” and compares it to jaap blonk or eberhard blum’s version you will see the subtle but interesting difference between “ur” (wild, primal) avant garde and its classified posterities. of course we are in our traditions. but what is the reason we are in this spectrum, not another? this is a tradition which it tries to not be self-classified. some would say john cage is accepted by the mainstream in europe and north america. but is it a success of revolutionists? or just been disinfected and consumed by the bourgeois culture?

ZWB: it close to my aesthetic. The ” normally called experimental scene”, I have to say, is too sounds like traditional “music way”. Or you could say, they are just experimental than pop music. Some of them I don’t respect; some of them I respect, but I still want to keep a distance.

ED: For you does a compilation have the status of a historical document, or is it about new creations by the artists? I’m particularly thinking of Ake’s piece, which I would say is atypical based my previous knowledge of her work, but presumably represents how her work is developing.
YJ: it’s not about history but about now. we are still young and don’t know what we are doing. it’s a chance we meet and support each other. this is a little statement to say “perhaps we are not doing music (as you understand) but we enjoy it”. you know this is a time that romanticism is strongly, globally be embraced by both dictators and consumers. these sounds are small if we don’t listen to each other. so whatever the artist does let’s listen to her with heart.

ZWB: For me, the compilation is more like a project, need some time to prepare and finish, step to step, like my solo performance, or band album. Too early and too big words to say “historical”. Everything will be as history, good, bad, ugly, shy… You will find your eternity in your old work.

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