“the solo LP xi xi 息息 is a compilation of live and studio improvisations recorded between 2016 and 2019. Although the online description refers to it as Ye’s debut LP, the recording nonetheless marks the end of her current approach to music; she’ll be taking a break from the kind of improvising that has formed the foundation of her current practice, and xi xi 息息 is her sonic summary of that work.
The B side of the album is one live set from 2016 that is cut into five different pieces. The A side features four discrete tracks, each using a different setup. Electronic sounds figure heavily on both sides, either as haunting backdrops or built into blooming transitions that force the music forwards or sideways. But while many of the techniques on the album could plausibly fall in the electroacoustic music genre, electronic effects aren’t something Ye is concerned with. On the first track, below beyond green 绿, she sampled three octaves of her vocal range and fed them into a Max patch on her computer. Rather than trying to change the sounding qualities of her voice, though, Ye simply used the patch to randomize the note sequences; in the final track, the samples themselves remain totally unprocessed…..
On the first three tracks of xi xi 息息, Ye uses an electronic module for real-time biofeedback called MIDI Sprout, which, when touched, translates electrolytes present in the body into MIDI. Others have used the module primarily as a way of sonifying plants. ‘Plants never say that they want to be heard,’ Ye says—and, after a pause., ‘but I use my own body.’
Listening to those tracks, you can sense the audible connections between the voice, instruments, and electronics…..”
from Xuan Ye: Plurality & Dissonance by Sara Constant on Musicworks (Issue. 136) 2020
xi xi 息息 is Xuan Ye’s debut LP. Compiled from solo improvisations across a three year span, the recordings comprise a fascinating document of X’s foundational ideas: free improvisation, computational randomness, noise of the field, hybrid chaos of gestures and mediated bio-electrical currents.
xi xi 息息 is out on November 29th on Halocline Trance (LP, WAV). All songs by Xuan Ye. Mastered by David Psutka. A Side (2019) & bonus track (2016) recorded by Jason Doell; B side (improvisation live set Nov. 16, 2016) recorded by Aaron Dawson. This album features artwork by Véronique Sunatori + Sara Maston, with calligraphy by Xuan Ye. Distributed by SRD and available to purchase via fine music retailers worldwide.
Photo by Mary Chen, 2019