Sui Zhen sent us this mix last month; we have migrated inside since then, and are finding ways to exist, to create, to adapt and hopefully thrive within limited and uncertain formats. May this mix offer a spacious place to lean into.
Sui Zhen is a musician and performance artist based in Melbourne. Her latest album, Losing, Linda (released last fall on Cascine), examines the disembodiment of digital life and internalizes loss across a series of surreal and highly inventive experimental pop songs. Zhen has a knack for arranging myriad musical ideas into singular moments while never losing hold of the rhythm. Like the way flute & clarinet mingle with bossa-nova bass lines on “Being A Woman,” emphasizing her candid questions about gender expectations, which toggle between melodic phrases, self-harmonies, and robotic sing-speak.
Behind the AI alter-ego preface of Losing, Linda, it is deeply human. As is the message of this mix, presented in her words below. She also penned a piece today on resetting expectations in the age of isolation.
“Over the last couple of years my listening tastes have moved toward more textural, expansive, contemplative soundscapes that could accompany me whilst I am thinking & reflecting about all manner of things at home. Or whilst I am preparing my studio space. Trying to quiet the mind. This could be because I’ve been creating soundscapes and music for listening in art galleries for work in this time period. But I think it also has to do with the rise of internet radio and mix series reaching a point where there is so much choice. Mixes can be life-changing or just a really positive way to collect musical ideas and references into an hour-long listening experience. Ambient is not the right word, but there is a sparseness and fragmentation to a lot of the pieces here in this mix. I love to try and continue a thread and draw links between other artists working with similar sounds or techniques. For me, this kind of music is highly evocative and good for the soul. It doesn’t always sound familiar and you might not know where it is leading you, but it can open the mind and be a cleanse of sorts to all the noise elsewhere in the world. I am always so impressed and in awe of the power of sound and music. What a privilege to have my hearing and to be able to participate in this way.”
FM3 & Dou Wei – 四
Meredith Monk – clusters 2
Félicia Atkinson – The Flower And The Vessel
FM3 & Dou Wei – Fallen Flowers 落花
Sam Mallet – Wetlands
Log(M) & Laraaji – Sundog Suite
Ana Roxanne – Slowness
Meredith Monk – strand (gathering)
Sosena Gebre Eyesus – 03 ባየነውም ጊዜ – Bayenewem Gize
FM3 & Dou Wei – 八
Brenda Ray & Scientist – Rejoice For The New Born
Hydroplanes – Grand Central
Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus – Chat Two
Primal Astrology – Primal Astrology
Log(M) & Laraaji – Sruthi Dub Resonance
Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell – From The Earth To The Ceiling (Part 07)
Sheila Chandra – Not a Word in the Sky
SQÜRL – Blue and Grey
A Gethsémani – Cheree
S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.