Genre: Environment Improvisation
Recorded on Oct.6 2010, on a beach of Dasha Village in Hepu Town, Xiangshan, Zhejiang province, China
Program by Max 6
Recorded by ZOOM H4
Recorded and Mastered by Li Jianhong
Cover Photo: Fang Xianhai
Inside Photo: Li Jianhong
Artwork Designed by Weng Shanwei
Many thanks to Li Jianhong, Zhou Zen and her family.
---About the Recording
Time: Oct 6, 2010
Location: a beach of Dasha Village in Hepu Town, Xiangshan, Zhejiang province, China
The concept of Environment Improvisation formed from Li Jianhong’s discussion of the relationship between environment and improvised performance. Not long ago before this trip, we had just finished such collaboration in his hometown – in a bamboo forest of the little village. This time, the improvisation on the beach of Dasha Village, will be the first attempt based on the idea of Environment Improvisation of my solo project “VAVABOND”.
Dasha is a small island village in Hepu Town of Xiangshan, Zhejiang Province, and the beach lies at the end of the village. With the shape of a crescent, the beach is surrounded by several hills, just like a typical one on an island. On the beach, not only the sounds of sea waves can be heard, but also the winds blowing in the reed mash and the birds’ singing in the hills. Summer has already passed, and there were few tourists when we arrived. The environment was so quiet and relaxed that even roar of the steamboats not far away on the sea felt like an indispensable part of the environment.
I set my laptop and myself on a commanding point on some cliffs on the west of the beach, which were formed in some volcano explosions tens of thousand years ago. By sitting there, I could watch the sea, and listen to the hills, at the same time escaping the human noise on the beach. But the positions of the ZOOM H4 recorder in the three tracks were different: sometimes it was beside me, sometimes it was put on the rocks under my position, and sometimes it was set in front of me where was higher than my position but closer to the sea.
During this recording, sounds of the sea and laptop were recorded at the same time. But I don’t think it was “collaboration” between the sea and me. To the sea, there is no common view being achieved, and no intention to establish any relationship with me. There was only such an opportunity that allowed me to sit besides the sea, when the sea was doing its daily jobs – breathing, surging, coming forward and backward, keeping silent. But I can not deny that on the afternoon, there were some kind of subtle connections between the sea and me – it might be “my” “emotions” under such a condition, or the “meanings” the “sea” represented to “me” at that moment.
For quite a long time, I was puzzled by an assumption: if the material world in front of our eyes can be enlarged as a picture, what can we get? Many square-shaped pixels? So many LED screens in modern cities seem to say “No” to my questions.
If scooped up some water with your hands, the sea is what you can see; if broke a mirror, a thousand mirrors are what you can get; if radiated laser on pieces of a hologram of a rose, you can get a complete image of the rose on each piece. And our world seems to be established in the same way.
“A World in a Grain of sand”, written in Avatamsaka Sutra thousand years ago.
And this is my world-view: in my hologram universe, everything is closely connected as countless entirety; everyone is one of many pieces, and also integrity. The conviction was stronger than any moment in my life on that afternoon.
The digital sounds from my laptop was connected to an electron of a Carbon atom in my brain, which was connected to a proton of a Hydrogen atom in the sun, and they were also connected to all the swimming fish in the sea, all the bumping hearts on the earth and all the stars in the sky … Everything is permeating everything. They are just pieces with no differences, representing the entirety.
In my recording process, I also tried to express my world-view through my organization of sounds: I used a sample repeatedly as original material. The sample was like a tiny grin before the Big Bang. I changed its speed, chose different clips from it, split it into pieces, and reform the sounds. The methods differed in different time point and different moods. That is how the album came about. Any sound in this album had already hidden in the original sample; any of them is a peephole to see the entire album.
And me? I’m not the one who created them; I just found them that afternoon.