Berlin-based artist Pan Daijing has announced a new album ‘Jade 玉观音’, coming via PAN on 4th June 2021, as well as two new majot pieces of artwork
The nine tracks on the new album were written and recorded over the last three years, are quite a departure from the visceral noise-based music we’ve come to know Daijing for, this time we hear a calmer sounding artist at work, sounds born of a place of refuge and creative self-sustenance.
Electronic textures and tension-inducing arrangements are met by Daijing’s vocals which arrive fragmented and lost. At times spoken word is said or sung, usually in the form of reflections or experiences, which, when pieced back together, urge the listener to confront the tender parts of her own. Speaking of these songs, Daijing says, “solitude is like an immense lake you’re swimming through,” says Daijing of these songs. “Sometimes you dip your head in and sometimes you lift it above.”
Alongside the album announcement, Daijing has revealed two new commissioned artworks: ‘Done Duet’ at Power Station of Art, Shanghai Biennale (April 17th to July 25th) and ‘One Hundred Nine Minus’ at Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (May 1st to December).
Since her 2017 ‘Lack’ LP, Daijing has expanded her operatic vision into her multi-disciplinary art, which explores the human voice, electronic sound, choreography and installation, earning her commissioned exhibitions at The Tate Modern, Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Here come the Bandcamp
“What if a song was not a culmination but a singe, an imprint, or a crater left in the wake of creative process? On her new record “Jade”, Pan Daijing composes at a different scale than that we’ve come to know. Since the release of her groundbreaking LP “Lack” in 2017, Daijing has expanded her operatic vision into a series of major commissioned exhibition-performances at institutions including the Tate Modern, Martin Gropius Bau, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Developed for full casts of opera singers and dancers, and reaching for an all-encompassing durational experience of intensity for both performer and audience, the development of these works was for Daijing as emotionally disarming as it was thrilling. In order to continue accessing her own limits, Daijing had to develop a place of sanctuary within her own practice.
Its nine tracks written and recorded over the last three years, “Jade” is the sound of solitary release and refuge, of creative self-sustenance. Written without the imperatives of direct address to performers or audience, “Jade” speaks inward, while inviting a kind of rhetorical listening. The artist draws on materials familiar from her previous work: namely, ascetic electronic textures that rumble and pierce, and voice bent in irreverent directions. In place of catharsis, however, her arrangements here linger in tension, extending curiosity towards the delicate void that nourishes extremes. They toy with the minor capacities of song: repetition, chant, observations that conclude without resolving.
“Jade” comes from a vulnerable place, tender as in an undressed wound caught in the midst of healing over. Vocals, mostly Daijing’s own, arrive as wordless sequences of notes soaring alongside a drone, or plain laughter, or in a few places spoken word. What is said or sung provides fragments of experience and reflection. In the process of piecing together these fragments, the listener is confronted with the tender parts of her own. “Solitude is like an immense lake you’re swimming through,” says Daijing of these songs. “Sometimes you dip your head in and sometimes you lift it above. On album centerpiece “Let,” she speaks to us over the sound of rippling water, returning between anxious scenes to a refrain: “I take my bath in the ocean.” We are not just consuming Daijing’s story; we are being invited to join her in the water” .
Meanwhile those art pieces, following on from the 2019 Tate Modernpiece, Tissues, can be explored on her website.
We’re told the One Hundred Nine Minus (upcoming) piece at Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong from May 1st, 2021 will be ” A composition consisting of two voices – a soprano and a countertenor lures the listener on a sonic journey based on the act of voicing. The act of voicing today has an existential allure, as it can reveal a deeply personal dimension of life in an age of damage, loss, and longing. Countering the sense of collective solitude, this composition seeks proximity with the listener and proposes a profoundly intimate form of shelter: voices guide, companion, and incline towards the listener. As responsiveness is one of Pan’s fundamental poetic principles, her practice always embraces the architecture it is hosted by. Exploring the spiral staircase’s movement, sound becomes more audible when ascending the stairs as the heartbeat quickens, or eases off when leaving the space and descending the staircase, slowly departing from the experience of the exhibition. Strongly informed by the practice of improvisation in all stages of artistic creation, Pan’s singers employ operatic vocal techniques that here enter in dialogue with her expanded techniques of vocalization and narration. Tapping into these technical tools allows Pan to broaden musical awareness and recognition into an unknown territory of sonic experience. Based on a repertoire of words underpinning the creation process, the composition drives the listener away from logical understanding towards a sensate rendition of reality, as words are stripped from their layers of meaning. A vocal beacon, Nine Hundred One Minus guides the voice, the ear, and the heart into fervent oscillation”. We’re also told that “this work will unfold into a large scale durational performance late Fall 2021”.