Field Recordings from Sichuan and Yunnan, China
CDr, edition of 30
nada 01

A straightforward and mysterious release, the debut CDr from Nada, a label with no obvious location or proprietor. As the title suggests, these are indeed field recordings from the titular Chinese provinces, ranging from temple and ceremonial music to city bustle to nature and weather. They’re very well-recorded and somehow intimate, although they avoid adding up into some kind of narrative. They simply float by like a person passing on the street, perhaps well dressed—as this CD is, some nice photos from China pasted onto a cardboard sleeve wrapped in tea packaging—but otherwise unnoticed and not contemplated. In this sense, Nada is perhaps the most transparent label I’ve come across, with no traces of agency save the object itself and the title of the final track—“Bulang Musicians Play in my Hotel Room.” Whose is the “my”? This will be an intriguing label to look out for if future releases are as quietly beautiful as this one.

– Travis Bird