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Yin: Shanghai’s Gooooose Mines Humanized Computer Music on “Rusted Silicon”

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Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII column that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

The first time Gooooose featured in this column it was as part of the band that he and 33EMYBW form the nucleus of, Duck Fight Goose, and their “sci-fi flavored future rock” album CLVB ZVKVNFT. In that piece, Josh Feola wrote of the band’s interest in technology and how the record’s title alluded to a space where “all the beings, man and machine, can dance together in harmony.”

That album is now three years old, and in the intervening period Gooooose has put out a number of solo releases, including his debut solo LP they and Dong 1, which gave him his most recent appearance in this column and was “built largely from field recordings of traditional choral music of the Dong ethnic minority, a group of about three million mostly concentrated in the southwestern Guizhou and Guangxi provinces”

Yet as much as his output and sounds may have shifted since CLVB ZVKVNFT, that keen interest in the interplay between humans and machines has remained at the heart of much of his work. Which brings us to his latest album, released on Shanghai label and Chinese electronic music lynchpin SVBKVLT, and entitled Rusted Silicon.

 

“I consider Silicon to be the symbol of modern technology advancement after the ’80s, or it could even be considered to be a key element in the core of the technology-driven culture world wide,” writes Gooooose in a text that accompanies the record’s release. “And since we are now in a super uncanny period of time, I feel, conceptually, its starting to rust or be humanized. The sounds inside this album is accurate initially later on distort into various forms, in order to make them sound like something scientifically imperfect, but feeling more alive. Whether it’s organic or not is irrelevant, just like what we are experiencing now.

“Or to put it simply: The trend of humanising computer music is an intention to corrode purely inorganic forms. In the ’70s we thought plastic is the best, now we believe in vegetables. To me it sounds like the same game.”

For the listener, that means a journey that skitters between glitchy, breakneck beats and more spaced out compositions with their elements pulled apart, all while feeling part of a cohesive whole. The record is then rounded out with remixes and rebuilds from Samuel Kerridge and Nahash, plus an “electro-acoustic rework from Sote featuring traditional Iranian instrumentalists Arash Bolouri (Santour) and Pouya Damadi (Tar).”

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.