Structure Of, also known as ChoP 5, is the latest in a series of international ventures between China and Poland. Curators and artists Grzegorz Bojanek and Zen Lu created the first collaboration in 2006. Since then the project has grown to include film festival and tours, and will soon reach festival size; the first ChoP Festival will take place this November in Shenzhen, China. In order to create this installment, each artist recorded a series of tentative tracks and sent it to the other for finishing. Deciphering which is which is impossible, a testament to the success of the blend. But even more important than the sound is the olive branch extended by each country, accompanied by a sincere willingness to find common ground. One might even venture to say that the artists involved have gotten to know each other well enough to finish each other’s sonic sentences.
The odd-numbered tracks were painted by Krzysztof Orluk and polished by Bai Tian; the reverse is true of the even-numbered tracks. If there’s a distinguishable difference in timbre, it may be that the even-numbered tracks possess a slightly more apparent drone (save for the odd-numbered “white night”, which is all drone). Each set draws from field recordings and electronics, although whenever a flute is heard, it comes from China, especially apparent in the sublime “on the way”. The miniature samples are the most effective, in particular a cold icicle crackling in “mars” and wind chimes in “sense”. Some of these sounds may be the chopped-up remains of Orluk’s old Polish records, falling like pieces of pulverized plastic. (No actual vinyl was harmed in the production of this album.) The thick electronic static and squeal found on “mind spa” makes it the album’s most engaging track.
There’s nothing here that sounds distinctly Chinese or Polish, which is part of the project’s appeal. In this instance, music is proven to be the universal language. Birders may have fun identifying which field recordings come from China and which come from Poland, unless for some odd reason a single species migrates from one nation to the other. The idea is appealing, as it suggests the possibility of the artists traveling to each other’s countries – Orluk to the Shenzhen Festival and perhaps Bai Tian to Unsound. This would complete a cycle of friendship that began in an exchange of sound files – a thoroughly modern way to bring nations together while providing a testimony to the more stringent government that the internet need not always be feared. (Richard Allen)