Kink Gong – ‘Computer Pipa (Performed By Li Dai Guo & Recomposed by Kink Gong)’ D/L []

Can’t believe we’ve not really featured Kink Gong before on these pages, especially as we’ve worked his ever growing catalogue on the NTS show at every excuse we get. Kink Gong is the project name of Frenchman Laurent Jeanneau, a field-recording musician based in southern China, the reasons of which will become evidently clear soon.

Jeanneau specialises in recording and editing “minority ethnic music”, sewing together collages of rare sounds in to full-length releases. The tracks may be made up of traditional songs through voices, handmade instruments or oxen hoofs on cattle to name a few possibilities, but generally the kind of soundscape we wouldn’t find in Western Music.

It was 2011’s Xinjiang LP that first got me hooked. Had that one spinning for days, and at the time it was so unique to my ears that I just couldn’t pinpoint the love for it. But it’s in this journey to remote areas that the beauty lies – it’s meant to be unfamiliar; instruments, languages, street sounds and movements that you’ve never experienced first hand. It became a mission to track down all his releases on vinyl only after that, as the full catalogue itself would take a lifetime to listen to.

Jeanneau has released a remarkable 142 CDs as Kink Gong, mostly self-released. Of those 142 there’s 72 CDs dedicated to remote areas of China alone, and a further 3 DVDs. Just last year I got my hands on a copy of the 2012 boxset collecting 5 CDs of an hour each, where he’d ‘remixed’ various countries (Cambodia, China, Laos, Vietnam, Xinjiang) in to even newer pieces. That’s the second-tier art of field-recordings, being able to edit them effectively after you’ve found the idea that you want to capture. Jeanneau’s skill is one-of-a-kind, arguably the best at this art form in the world.

Last month we had a digi-only release from Kink Gong pop-up. Not an entirely new set of recordings but a collaboration of sorts which saw the workings of Li Daiguo given a working over by Kink Gong. Daiguo is a master musician operating out of Sichuan, classically trained in both Western and traditional Chinese music. Among his instrument specialities is skill with the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese guitar that sounds like nothing else; absolutely beautiful in the right hands.

And this appropriately brings us to the title of the collaborative release, Computer Pipa. You only have to check out the DIY album sleeve complete with gmail addresses to know that it’s self-released, and intriguingly one of the strangest endeavours in the Kink Gong discography. The playing is as rough and broken as the recomposer wants it to be, switching direction quite rapidly in some areas, without ever losing it’s adventurous vibe.

As well as the customary Kink Gong approach to creating a melting pot of world sounds, we hear elements of electronic effects given passage throughout. It’s a more than interesting listen, no doubt a project birthed from the two artists wanting to push their musical talents even further.

Hats off to the master, for that’s what Jeanneau truly is. If you’re new to Kink Gong it can overwhelming, but the soundcloud page is a good place to start, just make sure you remember to support the artist: 

Meanwhile, check out more of Computer Pipa below where you can link direct to the bandcamp page to purchase.