Originally from Inner Mongolia, Deng Boyu has been active in the Chinese music underground since the late 1990s. His work spans numerous genres, as a drummer, solo electronics artist, improviser and collaborator to many musicians both in and out of China, including Mamer, Lao Dan, Lee Ranaldo, Marc Ribot, Akira Sakata, Theresa Wong and Federico Casagrande. Having hosted two of his releases on our site through the Old Heaven and Dusty Ballz labels, we're delighted to present《Inertion》on our in-house OTOroku imprint.
Opening with the thrumming, pulsing hum of ‘Her Eyes Lost Their Luster’, Boyu hints at reverie but wastes no time in pulling the rug out, the lulling bass drone being intermittently disrupted with static bursts and fragmentary synth stabs before the two sonic factions coalesce in an increasingly dizzying scree of chirping electronics. Just as you think the palette has settled, Boyu abruptly changes tack once again, laying down a sparsely propulsive rhythm over which a stadium-sized guitar suddenly erupts, whose initial incongruity is instantly washed away in a surge of giddy euphoria; Boyu not so much setting fire to his guitar as the whole damn stage.
Second track, ‘Like Blade of Grass’ doesn’t let up, with fuzz-drenched tones dancing around each other in percussive patterns that skitter and churn in a freewheeling clatter that constantly threatens to unravel whilst always keeping just ahead of itself. The titular closer, ‘Inertion’, piles on the Industrial Lynchian dread, beginning with a funereal march over which a digital analogue appears to be arguing with itself. All is resolved, however, as Boyu’s layered guitars unashamedly crash back in, releasing all the built-up tension in an all-too-brief rush of power-chord endorphins.
There is an almost dizzying restlessness here, covering more ground in 20 minutes than most would manage in a triple LP. The result is anything but scattershot, however. Instead, Boyu crafts a collagic density consisting of myriad reference points all competing for space.
There can be no neat outcome - these are not clues to decipher. Instead, Boyu builds around these competing approaches; tongue-in-cheek modern jesterisms versus considered sincerity; minimalist arrangements brushing up against maximalist sound; structured craft and tonal dissonance - not coming down on one side or the other but revelling in the clash. You might not have time to get comfortable but it’s a compelling and compulsive place to be.
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC
1. 她的眼睛失去了光华 Her Eyes Lost Their Luster - 10.09
2. 像根草 Like Blade Of Grass - 3.23
3. 迟钝 Inertion - 5.08
Master and cover art by Oli Barrett