Music for DIY instruments and percussion / Cassette release with AnyOne
In Daylighting, Passepartout Duo continues to explore their fascination with building personalized musical instruments. A new suite of electronic devices that functionally integrate textiles and synthesizer circuits accompanies the two musicians' familiar set of small portable percussion. These strange machines aesthetically recall imaginary landscapes connected to a trip to the Meili Snow Mountains in China, and inspired the seven tracks of the album.
Highlighting the potential of the new instruments, the musical process began from the careful shaping of each sound from its visceral fundamentals. The overall structure of the music is built through momentary collisions between layers of sound that exist in parallel dimensions, continuously and independently. These collisions explore timbrical, rhythmic, and melodic unison ideas that act as mile markers on listening paths. Symmetrical compositional ideas spiral out from the centerpiece of Daylighting that bisects the music of the album with its austere process, expanded and explored in each surrounding piece. The design of the cassette summarizes the project as a whole, including machine-generated structures, geometries of weaving, and visual illusions, all distilled into the soy-based inks of the risograph.
The album is released on AnyOne (CN), the Chinese art company and record label founded by Yannis Zhang and Yumo Wu, and is designed by Passepartout Duo. Inserts and packaging were printed by Concretipo in Florence, Italy.
Daylighting was written and recorded in Wunongding Village, Shanghai, Verona, and Krems an der Donau.
Special thanks to JNBYHOME, Sunyata Hotel Meili, the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, and AIR Niederösterreich for providing time and space for the creation of this project.
Vis-à-Vis means "face to face". "We wanted to capture both the metaphorical facing of our Western and Eastern artistic lives, alongside the literal sitting across from each other when performing at our instruments as an ever-regenerating creative encounter". Making use of a portable set of instruments designed and built by the duo out of scrap wood and metal found on the streets of Geneva (in addition to keyboards, synths, and percussion), the duo premiered the music during a month-long train journey from Switzerland to China. The album contains two pieces that spring from material of the same origin, evolving, reshuffling and realigning through the extensive use of hocked techniques and metric modulations. Mirroring one another, the two included tracks fill each side of the LP without pause, conveying a patchwork of prismatic timbres underpinned by a tightly woven rhythmic fabric.
About Passepartout Duo’s long train journey
Reflecting on the themes of creativity, mobility, and sustainability, Passepartout Duo embarked this year on a new creative journey. During the summer, they spent three months on an artist residency in Switzerland (Embassy of Foreign Artists), where they had the time to design and build original handmade musical instruments. These instruments were created by using scrap wood and metal materials that they found on the streets of the city. The instruments have some restrictions, like a limited range of sounds, but these limitations became a source of inspiration for new musical compositions. The idea of recycling material to create art, and to use creativity to address the limitations is something that makes this project unique.
The instruments are not perfect like the ones that you would find in a music shop, but the artisanal value and the way that they resonate with the performers on stage is a completely unique experience. Together, the instruments become a human organism, working side by side to make compositions in resonance with one another.
This trip was very important in addressing another interesting theme: sustainability. In a time where everybody is discussing climate change, also artists and musicians are invited to reflect upon their practice in a new context, and to find alternative ways to connect to the planet, and to our future through actions in the present. Taking the trains instead of flying was a way to explore ways of travel that could possibly be less polluting, or create more connections with communities along the way.
A vinyl EP written and recorded in Iceland's cold north Situated just half a degree south of the Arctic Circle, the low peaks of this fjord are high enough to prevent the sun from rising all winter. A small town of just 800 residents exists there, thriving on the shell of an extinct fishing industry. Passepartout Duo, Zhang Zeyangping, and Yumo Wu worked for nine weeks together in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland. The resulting album is informed by this special place in time, acting as both an encapsulation of their experiences in Iceland, and a requiem for the fishing industry in the North. A collaboration between two musicians and two visual artists, the end result is an album containing four original tracks alongside cyanotype prints, inspired by this small fishing town during winter. Produced in Beijing by AnyOne organization, the 10” vinyl record features cyanotype prints inspired by Ólafsfjörður's undersea inhabitants.
The work came to fruition during the four artists' stay at Listhús residency. There, Yumo Wu created a "cyanotype diary" that used natural materials to measure the waning sunlight as the solstice approached. Taking the medium into this collaboration, Yumo created a series of five prints through fish X-rays.
Released December 21, 2018
Music by Passepartout Duo
Nicoletta Favari: piano and keyboards
Christopher Salvito: drums and percussion
Album design and concept by AnyOne Workspace
Yumo Wu: cyanotype prints and original artworks
Yannis Zhang: album production
Special thanks to Alice Liu and Listhús / Skammdegi Festival, Teresa Cheung, and the Schär family / Bau 4.
Ólafsfjörður was recorded in January / February 2018 in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland and Altbüron, Switzerland.
Fish X-rays used in the artwork process were given courtesy of the Vancouver Aquarium.
Zhang zeyangping & Yumo Wu
In the winter of 2017, Zhang zeyangping and Yumo Wu arrived in Ólafsfjörður in northern Iceland from Beijing for the dark arts festival held by the mountain city art center. After 70 days of darkness, their images and music were completed, and they spent 90 days in the blue mountains (bigci) in Sydney, Australia, where most of their works were related to the local natural environment. The works include spatial installations, images, photography, and interdisciplinary works.
During their residence in Iceland (2018) and Australia (2019), they collected local video and sound materials, as well as creative materials, and presented them through the works. While creating, they reflected on their current living state, and hoped to redefine their own life through their travels and conversations. As a sample, construct what they consider to be a "real" space.
Echo islands records the paths of Zhang zeyangping and Yumo Wu on two islands in the northern and southern hemispheres -- bushwalking, driving around the island, and sailing by sea. They will continue on the road, meeting plants, animals and people from different countries to complete the practice as a "sample".
AnyOne is an art label founded by artists Wu Yumo and Zhang Zeyangping. Their artworks are not classified and defined, involving works such as installations, images, and sounds. Traveling around the world provides the possibility of interdisciplinary cooperation and artistic creation for their works. Their creation focuses on rethinking the connection between people's daily life and the natural environment. "Local creation" and "mobile studio" are their recent practice and research directions. They hope to walk and talk through their own. Redefine life and build a "real" space for them.