CIA Debutante / Zhu Wenbo – 老耗子 小老鼠 by cassette
I first got in contact with Zhu Wenbo through my friend Toni. Nathan and I wanted to contact Chinese musicians to organize a CIA Debutante tour in China. Zhu Wenbo kindly answered me, and when I proposed releasing a cassette of our material on Zoomin’ Night in preparation for our tour, he instead suggested that we collaborate on a new release. Zhu Wenbo quickly sent me a collection of recordings : long bass clarinette improvisations, field recordings, various experimentations and a track by Zhao Cong made by applying needles to an electric bass pickup. The first phase of our collaboration consisted in Nathan and I recording live on top of these sounds. I had a few books laying around my bed, an edition of Marx’s “1844 manuscripts” and HP Lovecraft’s collected works. Nathan started recording himself reading these texts, but quickly began to improvise and parody the material, while I was playing simple sounds on a Korg MS20 going through a tape echo. The boundaries between serious music and amusement started getting blurry, and we fashioned ourselves as fancy actors performing a pretentious stage play. When Covid-19 hit France and we couldn’t play together anymore, I transfered these recordings to a 4 tracks tape machine and tried to piece together these various materials. Nathan and Zhu Wenbo kept on sending me new materials, sometimes by my request, sometimes out of the blue. My wife recorded a rendition of “相鼠”, an antique Chinese poem, while Nathan read an old fashioned and verbose english translation of the same poem.
The amount of sounds was overwhelming, and I’m still not sure if these recordings are finished or in a constant state of shifting. It was the first time I used a computer to edit and compose a sound piece. I tried to use the recordings from the 4 tracks as raw material, and arranged our various contribution into something that could feel satisfactory to me. Sometimes it felt like I was merely using the music as an illustration to Nathan’s voice, like those corny radio plays you can hear at 2 AM while driving on the highway. At other times, the combination of voice and sound seemed like something really special. In any way, I hope people can enjoy these recordings made in strange circumstances, and that we will have the opportunity to play all together in China.
Paul Bonnet, April 2020
我最早认识朱文博是通过朋友Toni。Nathan 和我想要联系一些中国乐手，帮助我们安排中国巡演。 朱文博热心地回复了我。我提议在巡演前先将我们的东西在燥眠夜发行一个磁带，他进而建议说一起合作一个新的发行。 朱文博很快就给我发来一些录音：很长的低音单簧管即兴，实地录音，各种实验的东西，还有一首是赵丛用针在电贝斯拾音器上触碰的声音。 第一阶段的合作是我和 Nathan 基于这些声音用现场的方式录音。我床边有一些书，一本马克思的《1844年手稿》，还有H.P. 洛夫克拉夫特的作品集。Nathan 开始是读这些文本，但很快他就开始即兴和恶搞，于此同时我把 Korg MS20 合成器串上了一台磁带混响，演奏一些简单的声音。严肃音乐与娱乐之间的界限开始变得模糊，我们把自己搞成浮夸的演员，表演做作的舞台剧。 后来法国也有了新冠病毒，我们不能一起演奏了。我把这些录音导到四轨磁带机上，试着把它们组织成型。Nathan 和朱文博继续给我发新的素材，有时是应我之邀，有时它们突然来访。 我太太朗诵了一段《相鼠》，这是一首中国古诗，Nathan 则读了这首诗的一个冗长陈旧的英文译本。 这些声音素材的数量极多，我一直不能确定这些录音是已经完成了还是仍在变形之中。 是我第一次用电脑来编辑构建声音作品。我试着将四轨机的录音作为原始素材，再把我们的各种贡献整理成让我满意的东西。有时我觉得，我仅仅是把音乐用作对 Nathan 人声的注解，就像是那些你午夜两点在高速公路上开车时能听到的过时的电台节目；而另一些时候，这些组合真像是一些特别的东西。 总之，我希望人们会喜欢这些在奇怪的情况下制作的录音。希望我们能有机会在中国一起演奏。
Paul Bonnet，2020 年 4 月