YAN JUN – Lamma Island Diary


“An attempt to focus on field recordings and other site specific recordings”. Thus Yan Jun describes Lamma Island Diary, a collection of sixteen tracks precisely detailed in the internal leaflet, including the type of technique used and the exact setting in which the sources were captured. Difficult to understand Jun’s actual intentions, as this record sounds quite disconnected from an episode to another, deprived as it is of a real thread linking the different parts. Some of them are certainly fascinating. A vocal exercise on the seashore is overwhelmed by a strong breeze; a Chinese-speaking man amidst birds is distinguished by a mind-calming accent. A number of experiments with the microphone inside bottles, tree holes and urns generate interesting results. Perhaps the most stimulating test is that with environmental elements and headphone feedback in the twelfth chapter. However, there are also several segments in which almost nothing worth mentioning happens: “normal” noises, the classic (meaning “already exploited a thousand times”) rustle of steps on a trail, chattering and laughing people heard from a distance, children at play. These things don’t mean much because they look like unexceptional events lacking a definite logic, appearing rather irrelevant to these ears. Therefore, in terms of artistic achievement, this is a 50-50: not a complete disappointment, yet definitely not standing among the genre’s finest.

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