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Listen: Minimal Electronic Music Inspired by Ancient Art

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A few weeks ago we wrote a bit about Monks and Artists, a recently opened show at the M WOODS museum in Beijing’s 798 art district:

The Kizil grottoes are renowned for their polychrome murals, which were painted between the 3rd and 8th centuries, and mostly destroyed, looted, or surreptitiously removed by foreign powers in the early 20th century… in Monks and Artists, M WOODS puts the Kizil fragments into dialogue with a range of contemporary works, as well as antiquities from other times and places.

Part of the exhibition features a series of week-long artist residencies, the first of which was completed by Beijing electronic music producer and Shanshui label founder Sun Dawei, aka Sulumi. Sun has just released the end result: a short album of minimalistic electronic compositions, also entitled Monks & Artists and ostensibly inspired by the singular Kizil art around which the show is framed. On the album’s Bandcamp page, Sun writes:

Kizil means “Red,” so this magical place is a starting point, and it brings people into the theme around this concept. “Cliff” and “Trace” are the ways in which the original caves are presented. This is to imprint the most subtle spirit in nature. The melody line in the “Cliff” is… a tribute to the ancient music of Kucha. The music of “Trace” is very short, representing the scattered fragments expressed in traces. “Replace” and “Rebirth” represent the value of this event. M WOODS has integrated and restored [these mural fragments] in a diversified form, once again showing this culture — rebirth.

He talks a bit more about these compositions in a recent interview with Edward Sanderson:

I express my feelings through different musical styles, and basically these pieces are a form of quiet music. All the music was created over a ten-day period at the M WOODS Art Museum a few weeks ago. I had not prepared anything beforehand, and this lack of preparation was one of the concepts behind this cooperation.

Stream below, or watch a short video of Sulumi live from M WOODS here.

 

Cover image: M WOODS

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