CIA Debutante, Zhu Wenbo – 老耗子 小老鼠

A collaboration made in the the throws of the Cocid-19 pandemic between Parisian duo, CIA Debutante (Nathan Roche and Paul Bonnet) and Zoomin' Night head and multi instrumentalistn Zhu Wenbo.

'I first got in contact with Zhu Wenbo through my friend Toni. Nathan and I wanted to contact Chinese musicians to organize a CIA Debutante tour in China. Zhu Wenbo kindly answered me, and when I proposed releasing a cassette of our material on Zoomin' Night in preparation for our tour, he instead suggested that we collaborate on a new release. Zhu Wenbo quickly sent me a collection of recordings. The first phase of our collaboration consisted in Nathan and I recording live on top of these sounds. I had a few books laying around my bed, an edition of Marx's "1844 manuscripts" and HP Lovecraft's collected works. Nathan started recording himself reading these texts, but quickly began to improvise and parody the material, while I was playing simple sounds on a Korg MS20 going through a tape echo. The boundaries between serious music and amusement started getting blurry, and we fashioned ourselves as fancy actors  performing a pretentious stage play.
When Covid-19 hit France and we couldn't play together anymore, I transfered these recordings to a 4 tracks tape machine and tried to piece together these various materials. Nathan and Zhu Wenbo kept on sending me new materials, sometimes by my request, sometimes out of the blue.

The amount of sounds was overwhelming, and I'm still not sure if these recordings are finished or in a constant state of shifting.
It was the first time I used a computer to edit and compose a sound piece. I tried to use the recordings from the 4 tracks as raw material, and arranged our various contribution into something that could feel satisfactory to me. Sometimes it felt like I was merely using  the music as an illustration to Nathan's voice, like those corny radio plays you can hear at 2 AM while driving on the highway.
At other times, the combination of voice and sound seemed like something really special.
In any way, I hope people can enjoy these recordings made in strange circumstances, and that we will have the opportunity to play all together in China.'
Paul Bonnet, April 202


Instruments, voices and field recordings by Paul Bonnet, Nathan Roche and Zhu Wenbo, with guest Zhao Cong and Shi Leqi.
Mixed by Paul Bonnet
Mastering by Benoit de Villeneuve
Painting by Paul Bonnet
Design by Liu Lu


Released May 27, 2020

Released: Zoomin' Night