bod [包家巷]’s symphonic poetry transcends forms + approaches trauma through the untranslatable in Detrimental Variance [损害方差]

, 2 February 2018

bod [包家巷] (aka Nicholas Zhu) dropped EP Soliloquy Of The Distant Home [远家独白] via Vienna’s Amen Records on January 1. To accompany the release, the Los Angeles-based Chinese-American artist and producer shares a bonus track ‘Detrimental Variance [损害方差]’ through AQNB today.

The two recordings follow another recent EP, Piano Compositions [钢琴组成] , out on LA label Zoom Lens, all of which make up a musical project that reinterprets classical, Romantic and modernist forms in music. All the works are constructed from field recordings, live piano and MIDI simulations of the Chinese zither instrument called guzheng, as well as a series of samples, ranging from machinery and scenes of war to rain and sci-fi sound design. Zhu in turn applies 19th Century Hungarian composer Liszt‘s ‘symphonic poem’ approach to these compositions, an orchestral form in which a single continuous movement evokes some other non-musical source.

In the case of bod [包家巷] that source is what the producer calls the “untranslatable illegibility of the cycle of traumatic experience and its subsequent abusive outcomes.” ‘Detrimental Variance [损害方差]’ flows out of traditional Western logic and into its sung and effects-laden non-English lyrics, and a languid ambience that simply winds down and dissolves.**

Nicholas Zhu’s Soliloquy Of The Distant Home [远家独白] EP was released via Vienna’s Amen Records on January 1, 2018.