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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Dong Zhou’s Alternative Bows

Live video from the Soundwave festival

The medium of perfect sound forever, the compact disc, is here explored for its textural details. One might think that the CD, its data secure(ish) within layers of clear plastic and bright metal, is distinct from, say, vinyl LPs and cassette tapes, both of which have their well-known reproductive shortcomings. LP and tape surface qualities, the wear and tear, are an implicit part of the bargain. But the CD is different. Debates about its fidelity have to do with high-grain digital verisimilitude, not with background noise (even if the glitch genre/effect did derive in part from the sound of failing CDs).

But this video performance locates something different. By using a CD, at the opening of “we will finally lost in heavy fog,” as a means to play a violin, musician Dong Zhou (born in Shanghai, China, and based in Hamburg, Germany) gets at its hard materials, at the clipped corner of it sharp edge. She then proceeds to use other tools, including a pair of bows, what appears to be a rubber band, and an unidentified if certainly suggestive green object. Furthermore, she begins to process the sounds, so by the six-minute mark, when the green item is employed, she’s also using her laptop to echo and lightly yet radically transform the source audio.

Video originally posted at Dong Zhou’s YouTube channel. It appears that it was streamed during the October Soundwave Festival 3.0, which was held five Saturdays in a row in October 2020 (onnow.tv). More from Dong Zhou at dongzhou.live and soundcloud.com/shimo_zhou.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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