Nick Luscombe’s Musicity returns with a surprise release from Simon James aka Simonsound. On Shenzhen/Shanghai, Simon looks to the hidden sound world within the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai, excavating the ambiance and using it as the basis for an album of tranquil, multi-leveled Buchla synthesizer compositions.
During the first half, we are taken on a sonic trip through Shenzhen, one of China’s youngest and fastest-growing cities. From the resonating, chamberlike cavernous silos that once held the chemicals needed to make glass but now hold nothing but reverb and dust, James transforms these empty spaces into a truly mesmerizing whirlpool of metallic sounds and vibrations that endlessly bounce around within the solid structure. On the second step of the journey, we move into Shanghai, where using a microphone attached to a massive cable reel, we experience the sound of the mic travelling across the floor of a huge hangar at West Bund Aircraft Factory, which is currently being transformed into a cultural hub on the banks of the Huangpu River. The final step of the journey brings forth an electromagnetic recording of Shanghai’s maglev train travelling Shanghai Airport, bringing this chapter of the Musicity project to a close.
A proper example of true industrial sounds and concrete brutalism captured forever on cassette by this always-evolving and ever important label.