Simultaneously casual and sincere, Deng Boyu’s latest output on cassette, Tractor Academy, is both a tongue-in-cheek teaser and a wildly romantic postscript to his upcoming solo LP. The eight songs here unveil the instinctual id beneath the electronic alter ego of Deng Boyu, known primarily as the ever-present drummer in China’s young and vibrant scene of free jazz and improvisation.
This is one of a kind Northern Chinese IDM lit up by a whimsical touch of nostalgia. The sound textures – created by a toolkit comprised of a vibrator, a gong, and various metal objects – are distinctively dumb and dusty; the compositions are freewheeling in form, but heavily loaded with noise and personal history. It is a misfunctioning time capsule, what you'll get travelling back to a Disco dancehall of early ‘90s Inner Mongolia – where Deng Boyu first felt the thrill of the groove in his troubled adolescence – and doing a lavish Autechre dakou DJ set in it.
So please sit back and relax, now that IDM has long lost its association with human intelligence, let’s hear Deng Boyu tell that old joke again.
*You will find the first half of “Transmission Pt. 2” (Track 1) in Deng Boyu’s upcoming LP, Chimney Complex, to be released by Chinese label Badhead later this year.
Dusty Ballz is a London-based label that releases Chinese underground music on cassette tapes. The term originates in an old Soviet joke, which somehow still speaks to the situation today.
All music by Deng Boyu
Woodcut by Tiemei
Calligraphy by Zhao Sancai