Posts Tagged ‘silk and dogs’

The Provinces project

October 11, 2010

Silk and Dogs

The Provinces project is now available as a zip file, complete with art work and track information

The Provinces project was an audio exploration of cross section of life in China’s provinces. Each month a track was released, constructed of field recordings, found sound and processed instruments, that highlighted a particular sound/image/memory of the province in question. Some were abstract, others less so. The project ran from Oct 2009 until Oct 2010.

The Provinces project (Click to Download)


Silk and Dogs – Tibet

September 6, 2010

September 2010
Tibet (Right Click and Save As to Download)

Much has been said of Tibet, and its relationship with China. I am not sure that I am in any way qualified to add my own voice to that maelstrom, to tread on the toes of others whose work is much more visionary, and exciting and powerful:

Free Tibet Campaign Archives
Dalai Lama’s Official Web Presence
Rangzen Alliance
Tibet Online
Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

A few years ago I wrote a piece of fiction, which may or may not find its way in to a larger piece of fiction I am currently constructing, about Tibet. It was composed of reflections and descriptions from an old book on pre-invasion Tibetan customs. The piece can be found here

Tibet marks the end of the year long Provinces project, which sought to highlight specific news or historical issues in a variety of Chinese provinces. A complete archive package of the 12 tracks, along with associated material and links will be available to download as a zip folder from the Silk and Dogs website in mid October.

Silk and Dogs – Yunnan + Listening Habits Post-Last FM

August 20, 2010

August 2010

Silk and Dogs – Yunnan

Yesterday, part of the same system that continues to bring devastating flooding to Pakistan.

I don’t really want to add anything else, as it is a constantly changing situation. I would urge people to donate money to the Pakistan relief appeal though.


Last FM

Having recently attached myself to Last FM, my listening habits have changed somewhat, largely in the pointless task of listening to something that hardly anyone has listened to according to the Scrobbler stats. Obviously I could achieve this with some ease by just listening to my own work, but where would the challenge be in that. Instead, I thought I’d try it with regular items from my WMP library such as it is. The best result so far, and I really haven’t been trying too hard owing to the possibly more pressing concern of finishing my literature review, has been Baby Dodds, who has a mere 2000 listens so far. So, a swift run down of top listens this week, which are hardly about trying to find the smallest number…I’ll put some effort in with that post-September when I have more time:

5. Stephan Mathieu – Radioland

My Father
4. Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

Black City
3. Matthew Dear – Black City

2. Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker – Fantasma-Parastasie

Life Witout Fear
1. Ekkehard Ehlers – A Life Without Fear

Two new ones in the pack there. I quite like the new Swans album, even though some people have been saying it is not as visceral as earlier stuff. Perhaps it’s because Gira isn’t the sort of person to compromise what he sees as a way forwards to placate people who want a rehash of earlier work? Black City is also good, and not at all what I expected from Matthew Dear. A lush and brooding production.

Am off until early September, to combine meetings with old friends. Though not in a way that means my house is empty. Back soon.

Last FM updates

August 18, 2010

Just a small note to say that Heroines of the U.S.S.R, Creeping Jaw Society and Silk and Dogs now have tracks streaming and available for free download at Last FM, including a fair amount of stuff not available in the archive, such as the Cimmerian EP, A Map of Lost Causes, Winter, Dawn of Dogs EP and Nine Works for Piano in their entireties (The first two in that list are my favourites, or at least the things I am happiest with…the others are sort of an interesting look back at why my old ideas and production techniques weren’t so great). I’ll hopefully be adding much older material by the likes of The Fucking Fulfords, Ptolemy Pegram’s Big Noise Band, Kid In A Drawer and Garcia Dances The Jttrbg to the archive shortly as a way of cataloguing the old WDT/VSTM/School of Unthink stuff I have.

Last FM links:

The penultimate track in the Provinces project by Silk and Dogs will be posted tomorrow/Friday, but is already available on the aforementioned ( titled Yunnan), with a 30 second preview of the final track, unsurprisingly called ‘Tibet’, also available (full download from mid September). There will also be a ‘Recent Listening Habits’ post up shortly, using the helpful scrobbling service so beloved by everyone, to see what I’ve listened to in the last week or so. Early September, there will also be a sizeable post on horses. I’m not sure why.

Silk and Dogs – Gansu

July 16, 2010

July 2010

Silk and Dogs – Gansu (right click and Save As to download)
This piece, the 10th in the Provinces Project (which will conclude in September on track 12 – all will be available to download as a zip file from mid-October), is an attempt to develop a generative work based on one five-note arpeggio and its gradual collapse/build in to granular disorder. The fuzz that seemingly attached itself to the track reminded me of being on the beach at Camber Sands many years ago, and watching as the wind pulled in the dry sand from dunes in to the sea.

China, and particularly Gansu province, has a problem with both desertification, and subsequent sandstorms. A comprehensive, and expensive, programme to combat the problem through international collaboration with the Japanese, South Korea and others, has started to make a dent in the frequency of such events. Gansu province is the area where most sandstorms in the country occur, and so the PRC centred their research and anti-desertification measures there, setting up the Gansu Desert Control Research Institute (GDCRI). The institute has now started rolling out training programmes to other countries suffering from desertification, inviting panels from numerous African nations ( Egypt, DRC, Angola, Tanzania) affected by similar problems. Last year’s course was held in Minqin County in Gansu, one of the four major areas in the PRC from which sand storms originate. The county saw 14 sand storms in 2006, down almost 50% on 2005, after it brought 2,000 hectares of desert under control by encircling the sand with nets made of wheat straw and planting drought-resistant plants. Fujitsu, the Japanese electronics company, has invested over 10 million Japanese yen in various desert greening projects in China, under an agreement signed by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and the workers union of Fujitsu in 2006. This sort of cross governmental programme, along with the continuing training the GDCRI is providing to developing nations in Africa, is the only real way progress can be made, and deserts can be reclaimed.

For more information on the vibrant and eternally exciting history of anti-desertification measures in Gansu, here are some links:

Initial 2001 findings
2007 article/source material

Silk and Dogs – Heilongjiang

June 20, 2010

Heilongjiang (Right Click and Save As to Download)

Back in 2002, Channel 4 screened a series of programmes about China, including the infamous ‘baby cannibal’ modern art programme ‘Beijing Swings’ (the artist in question was Zhu Yu). They also screened a selection of Chinese films, including one that has stuck with me – and indeed formed part of Sunshine and Power Lines – in the intervening years. Sadly, I am unable to find the name of it, but it dealt with a Chinese artist escaping from Xi’an (I think…it was a long time ago and my memory changes things for fun) after being accused of murdering his girlfriend. He decides to travel by train to the northern town of Mohe in Heilongjiang province, which is far enough north that it is essentially polar. He saw it as the remotest place in the PRC.

The track I made to accompany this province uses a field recording from an American tourist of a folk song from Heilongjiang which I have cut up and rearranged. In much the same way, the following section has been cut up and rearranged.

Neighbours in arms, characters, a secret body in the mountain near Mohe’s northern candles. They stand in the many Waters. Here, in northern skies, kilometres of old strange frequented towns. To eat the opposite, tooth, earth. Their part. Along it, animals of blue, ancient feet, red high latitude rings in northern skies. In their heads, resources from “ Big Walk Lights”, possibly back in the four Chinese, advertisement skeletons. Rising colours likely. Big stares in this remoteness, is too much of a remoteness, there in the belt of stars. The North is tender, the years are rouge from clay. The cockerel’s river, ice. A river may like the cold, perhaps the road will come in to the high Mohe winds. There the fights, at the Russian border, in the dam of ribbon-fish that move like a map.

The passengers are an appropriate childhood surplus. In the autumn the river appears and very few of the passengers understood the water mother this spring. Dreaming stares stretches colour to camp. Her brown plants and the Wu nickname. Visits the lights in the magic cube band. Scattered material in polar Mohe. The arms are a boundary of degrees, a boundary for possible river lights. The ink black surpasses it and bacterium likes a ring fungus, like most of nature, a wish on the ocean. Cold gardens of scattered snow. Red now, the cockerel’s river, the home, the brew bent wonders of virgin geography. When will we use the dissonant house mouth. Then eat then vanishes Mohe, who stretches heads in the long wind.

Silk and Dogs – Jiangsu

May 24, 2010

May 2010
Jiangsu (Right Click Here, and ‘Save As’ to Download)

Ma Yaohai, a professor at Nanjing University, was jailed for three and a half years by a Nanjing court earlier this week, guilty of the charge of “group licentiousness”. Between 2007-2009, he was engaged in numerous group sex acts with nineteen or twenty one others (who also received jail terms…the exact number seems to vary across news coverage) at his home, where Chinese authorities believe he lived with his elderly mother. This case raises a number of questions about the sexual civil liberties in the PRC. There is growing pressure for such laws to be reviewed, and China sits on an awkward bridge between increased sexual experimentation, and legal prevention. Pornography is banned, except if you can get hold of the software to circumvent the government website blocks, and many do. A sizeable number of Chinese cities operate ‘adult health shops’ selling a variety of sex toys and related materials. How the authorities proceed after this case is uncertain, with public opinion also veering wildly from utter disgust to feelings of anger at continued government interference in the populations private lives. In her blog earlier this year, Beijing sexologist (yes…this is the actual term) Li Yinhe suggested the 1997 law banning “group licentiousness” should be abandoned. “If the nation’s laws interfere with this sort of activity of people in private, then it seems like the participants’ bodies aren’t their own, they’re the government’s”. This case highlights that the government, as yet, are unwilling to change their minds or their legislation when it comes to sexual liberties.

This composition, in fairly simplistic terms, represents a slightly drugged up orgy.

Li Yinhe’s blog (in Mandarin)

Silk and Dogs – Shanxi

April 5, 2010

Shanxi (Click to Download)

Today it was announced that 100 of the 153 miners trapped in the Wangjialing coal mine flood had been rescued, with a provincial party chief confident that more survivors would emerge over the day. China has one of the worst safety records for mining fatalities in the world, due to a combination of a lack of formalised safety checks, poor state and provincial regulation and the large number of illegal mining operations across the country. Shanxi province, one of the major mining centres in the People’s Republic, has seen three especially bad mining accidents in the last five years. In 2009, a  mine blast before dawn at Gujiao, left 74 dead and well over one hundred in hospital with serious injuries. This event saw the highest number of casualties since a gas blast outside Taiyuan killed a similar number in 2007 (exact figures for the number of dead and injured are often difficult to come by and, more often than not, woefully inaccurate). Wangjialing, with its seemingly successful rescue mission appears, thankfully, a comparatively safe operation.  Xinhua news agency reports that figures for the number of mining related accidents in China for the year ending 2008 had dropped 19%, but still stood at a frightening 413,700. These are the official numbers; the actual number of Chinese injured or killed each year, which go unreported, is much higher.

This track, the seventh part of the Provinces project, represents an audio interpretation of these three mining disasters.

Silk and Dogs – Liaoning

March 9, 2010

Download (Right Click+Save As)

’40 years in a building in the northern suburbs of this little version, but never naked and cowering behind a rock from the red threat. I was seen as if I had become the red threat, retreating from the old ways, of factionalism, fighting the fractional destruction of the mighty north east when the overseas came inland. I did as told but only when I thought it wise, and moved away when I thought it not. We held him, shivering on the hillside, and made the pact to battle with all, united across the vastness of peoples…when light was split between what is today (well a loose version of it) and what could have become – an unending war. Betrayed as straying from my own gun shaking khaki capped allies, and moved/removed to the east four years on from the war to end all wars. There was always conflict though, even after ninety three, when the other two were gone and I could sail further east, to volcanic land and distant recollections. They called me. Ignoring pleas to return, to bestow, to grant credibility to faltering ideology. Neither/nor. Asleep one year after the turn, and enshrined as addict, abuser, failed peacemaker; not simply following my old Generalissimo to the summit, but making him see, if only for a moment, a differing path.’

____ _____ was born in Liaoning province on or around 1898. Liaoning was made using piano fragments from a recording by a well known resident who grew up in the second city of the province.

New Sounds

February 19, 2010

An interim post perhaps…

Just to say that the February Provinces track by Silk and Dogs, titled ‘Anhui’, is now available. For more information on both track and artist, go here.

Also, a little experiment I tried over a lunch break – putting together a song using the old fashioned technique (by my standards anyway…the first song I made with a drum beat was done this way) of painstaking lining up individual beats over a track…hence it being less than 2 minutes long. The results can be heard here. An undisclosed amount of cold hard cash goes to the first person who can name the sample.

And next…woodland/tree based map with detailed annotations coming in around March 1st.

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