You might remember Found Sound China, a “music diplomacy fellowship” that put out an open call in February to find three Chinese and three American musicians to meet up in beautiful, rural southwestern China for a brief meet-and-greet-and-beat-making orientation, followed by three pairs splitting off to different corners of the country to dip deeper into diverse sonic territories:
They’ll spend two weeks traveling and collecting sounds (“traditional instruments, nature sounds, car horns, folk operas, prayer bells, freestyles in the local dialect, and more”), before reconvening in Beijing for five days to produce, perform, and ultimately assemble their tracks into a badass, one-of-a-kind album for release in both US and China.
Apply Now: This Program Wants to Send You to China to Make Beats
Well, the finalists have just been announced, and we’re quite excited. We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears on this residency as it unfolds in July, but for now here is the lowdown on the six participating artists, so that you can start looking forward to what they’ll sound like smashed together. (All photos and text below provided by Found Sound China.)
Yao is an electronic musician of Naxi descent, born in Lijiang, Yunnan. She graduated from the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with a Master’s in Theory and Composition. She composes art songs, choral music, and chamber music. She is currently experimenting with combining her native Naxi language, field recording, and synthesizers to create an improvised live performance in the vein of Music Concrète, Noise, and Drone.
sususu is a 90’s music fanatic, all-around creative, producer, and beatmaker. He began playing music when he formed a band in middle school, and later went on to major in Music Business in college. His believes that the art of sampling is just as expressive as analog sound-making, as it allows each individual can express themselves uniquely. His creative process often combines the intricacies of production software with sampling and synthesis.
A unique Chinese artist that wears many hats and refuses to be categorized, ChaCha sees herself as a collector of song and sound. She uses music to create her own one-of-a-kind universe, constantly pushing the limits of musical possibility. In 2017, she released a full-length album under her alter-ego Faded Ghost, called “Moon Mad”. The album drew from samples from her travels around the world over a period of 5 years, influenced in particular by Southeast/South Asian sounds and culture.
Jamel Mims (Jam No Peanut) is a New York City-based rapper, interactive media artist, and revolutionary bringing trap music and technology to the fight against mass incarceration and state terror. In 2008, Jam No Peanut was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study hip hop culture in China, and produced the multimedia ethnography, The Misdadventures of MC Tingbudong. Jam No Peanut’s internationalist politics and experience in China resonate in his music, as he switches between english and mandarin in politically charged verses.Born and raised in Washington DC, but known in NYC as the ‘Ratchet Revolutionary’, his work in music, technology, education and activism has been featured in the New York Times, The Nation,VICE, XXL, Complex, and more.
Kayla Briët is a 21-year-old artist exploring themes of identity in multiple mediums of storytelling: film, music, and virtual reality. In 2016, she directed, edited, and scored her short documentary, “Smoke That Travels,” which immerses viewers in her native Prairie Band Potawatomi heritage and explores fears that her culture may someday be forgotten. Through intimate live performances, she shares stories through wave-like vocals and live looping — mixing electronic beats with the strings of a Chinese guzheng zither and blending influences from her Chinese/Dutch-Indonesian heritage. In an experiment to preserve memories and emotions we humans project onto objects, she is currently creating a room-scale VR time capsule called “Trove.” Her work has been exhibited by the Smithsonian Institute, the White House, MoMA, National Geographic, PBS, film festivals, and recently, Kayla was named a 2017 TED Fellow, Adobe Creativity Scholar, Oculus Launchpad Artist, and a Sundance Film Festival Ignite Fellow.
Travon Henry, aka “eu-IV” is a beatmaker, photographer, and painter, born and raised in Baltimore, MD. His production style blends classic off-kilter J Dilla beats, the west-coast acrobatics of Knxwledge, and the psychedelic R&B of Frank Ocean, while staying rooted in the vibrant Baltimore underground scene. With almost 20,000 followers on soundcloud, he’s established himself as an up-and-coming hip hop producer, collaborating with vocalist Claire Reneé, Austin Bey, and Fly Anakin. As part of the collective label Flow-Fi (and independently), he has released four far-reaching projects: Pearl, Close Your Eyes, Supernova and SHINELIKETHESUN.
Cover image: Found Sound China/China Residencies
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