These recordings were taken mostly in Beijing, in the spring 2007 – the Great Wall implied a four-hour bus drive. They show what I found and might have been looking for or expecting, and what I failed to find or notice or understand.
They are the account of my wanderings in the city. I got lost, often.
01. Airport 6AM
02. Choir of the Temple of Heaven
03. Great Wall
04. Roller Coaster
05. Men Sing
06 & 07 & 08. Tao Temple
09. Women Sing
10. Night in Beijing
10 Tracks (49′17″)
CD-R (50 copies)
(c) Artwork / Audio / Photos by Thomas André
Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2009 / Gr 069 / LC 09488
Guillermo Escudero | LOOP
Gruenrekorder is a German label founded in 2003 by Lasse-Marc Riek and Roland Etzin with more than 70 releases in the fields of experimental music and phonography.
„Recorded in China“ consists in 10 tracks mostly taken in Beijing and in the Great Wall in Spring 2007.
These are pure field recordings with no treatment that shows various passages of the China capital: airport, temples, Great Wall, parks. In these places we can hear people talking, smiling, singing and playing the Chinese violin and guitar.
This CD-R in a limited run of 50 copies is a trip in itself that it feels very real.
André captures the essence of the environment, its people and landscapes.
Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY
Today might be the hottest day of summer in The Netherlands. I can barely move between arm chair and computer, or perhaps even think about reviewing music. Listening to music is hardly a problem, switching a CD is a bit more dramatic. So its easier to press ‚play‘ again and listen to it again. I imagine China to be hot this time of the year too, but Thomas André made his recordings in spring 2007. Maybe the weather is better then? The title is as plain as you can get it; ‚Recorded In China‘ means ten tracks of sounds from that immense country. The cover describes every track in detail: ‚Sunny. People, Loners, familias, couples. Near the main temple, a choir gathered and started singing. They are smiling, having fun and making jokes. Leaning on a tree, in the shades‘, is the description for ‚Choir Of The Temple Of Heaven‘. I have never been to China. I would like to go, but not because I just heard ‚Recorded In China‘ twice. These recordings, untreated, unprocessed, as they are, are quite nice, and it just made me more curious about that country. Even when these recordings are quite nice, I sort of wonder who they are for? Maybe its all a bit too pure field recording for me and I rather would like to see something musical be done to them.
Tina Manske | titel magazin
Keine Mittel mehr? Noch nicht mal fürs Mittelmeer? Wie wär’s mit einer imaginären Reise in das Reich der Mitte, bequem daheim auf dem Sofa? In der Feldaufnahmen-Reihe des Gruenrekorder-Labels erscheint nun das Reiseporträt von Thomas André aus dem Jahr 2007. Ein Chor am Himmelstempel, erschöpfte Fußgänger auf der Chinesischen Mauer, zwei Männer singend im Park. André hat die Zustände, in denen diese zehn Tracks entstanden, ausführlich im begleitenden Text beschrieben. Ganz leicht kann man sich fallen lassen in diese akustischen Ausflüge, die seltsam minimalistisch anmuten und keinerlei Gefühl oder gar message vorgeben. Einfach mal hinhören, wenn ein Vogel singt oder ein Mönch vorbeischlappt, während im Hintergrund die Großstadt im Verkehrsrauschen versinkt.
Jez riley French | ‚IN PLACE‘
Let me begin by saying that track 8 – ’night in Beijing‘ makes this a worthwhile purchase on it’s own. In fact for me it’s probably a track that is best heard in isolation from the others as it’s the only one that really goes beyond the audio postcard approach of this release.
Now, I have been known to be critical of field recordings that are more or less ‚travelogue‘ & my reasons ae simply to do with having listened to a lot of field recordings for a very long time. I don’t think it’s possible to capture anything emotive of a place by simply pointing a microphone at it and bunging the results onto a cd. That said, it’s usually always interesting to listen to location recordings.
Many of the tracks on Thomas’s cd capture aspects of local folklore – music features heavily on 4. There are many, many excellent cd’s of Chinese traditional music recorded on location & while I assume the intention behind this cd was to provide a representation of the artists trip to China, I was happy to skip these tracks.
Actually, if you program your cd player to just play tracks 2, 5 , 7, 8 & 10 you have, in my opinion, the best of this cd & it seems to hang together better like this. It makes it something ‚more‘. These tracks feature various simple, and often quiet moments – often with a lot of activity somewhere in the landscape but somehow giving an impression that communicates something far more real and far more exciting.
The 20+ minute track (8) ‚Night in Beijing‘ is a recording made from a 10th floor apartment balcony window where Thomas was staying. In the distance one can hear the constant sound of thousands of cars & indeed it’s a sound that will be familiar to us all. In fact it’s a recording of one of those sounds we all take for granted and that even can annoy us at times. It’s a way of recording that I know very well & it’s this way of capturing a sound that we all take for granted and presenting it in a way that allows the listener to find a new way in, a new way to appreciate sound as something good and interesting rather than an aspect of our lives that just sits there, unnoticed or serving to annoy, that makes field recording such an exciting art form.
So, do get hold of this disc – but take my advice & program your player as I mentioned above – those 5 tracks are the core of this release – they are the tracks that make this cd worth the entry price.