Click-through: Improv Guitarist Li Jianhong’s “Lonely Lodger” Web App

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5:08 PM HKT, Tue April 17, 2018 1 mins read

If you’re looking for some calm, rural guitar improvisation to ease into your work week, we’ve got just the thing for you: Beijing-based experimental guitarist Li Jianhong’s latest album, Lonely Lodger, is now streaming in part inside an interactive browser app.

Li, who was born in a town near Hangzhou in the southeast, is one of China’s more original musicians, crafting a distinct voice as a self-taught noise artist and guitarist influenced both by the sudden influx of dakou cassettes and CDs in the early ’90s and the ritual Daoist music of his home village. For the last seven years, he and his wife, electronic composer Wei Wei (aka Vavabond), have focused much of their creative energy on “environmental improvisation” — minimalist vignettes, usually performed deep in nature, that reflect the sound, feeling, and atmosphere of the surrounding environment with subtle musical queues.

Lonely Lodger CD in Shenzhen record & book shop Old Heaven (旧天堂)

Lonely Lodger is one such reflection, recorded while Li was an artist-in-residence at the rural, idyllic Lijiang Studio (which is currently gearing up to host a bunch of itinerant beat makers). The album includes rustic track titles such as “Dusk at Jixiang Village,” “Thinking of the Mushrooms on Muyezhu Hill,” and “An Afternoon of No Importance,” and can be picked up on CD via Japanese label Concrete.

If you, like me, don’t own a machine that can play CDs but do own a smartphone, enjoy a few songs from Lonely Lodger via this crafty interactive browser app, which supplements the strains of Li’s guitar with several snaps from his side grind as an amateur photographer.

You can check out some of Li’s earlier environmental improvs in the stream below, or via China Free Improvisation, the label he co-founded with Wei Wei in 2011.

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