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Lao Dan – Functioning Anomie

Chinese free improvisation saxophonist / flutist 老丹 Lao Dan's debut saxophone solo album (previously released in cassette format, sold-out) reissue in 6-panel Digipak CD format, with new artwork.

These recordings are from Qinglongdong Tunnel in Hangzhou, China. All natural cave reverbs, the free improvisation of Lao Dan's alto saxophone and the sound of the passengers and the cars were recorded, as every functioning individual.

"Lao Dan is a monster improviser. I'd never heard of him and I was completely swept away by his powerful playing and concept."

"I have this feeling Lao is a soldier that cannot be silenced."

Lao Dan is a freelance musician and wind instrument player, who started learning sax at the age of 8 and later turned to Dizi.

During 2002 to 2006, he studied dizi in Beijing. In 2007, he was admitted with the highest score to Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), majoring in Dizi. During college, he served as the principal Dizi player of Youth Chinese Orchestra of SYCM.

From 2012, he started his research on wind instruments from all over the world, including Jew's harp, Didgeridoo, Bansuri, Bamboo Sax, Duduk, etc. Lao Dan blends his own thoughts into the traditional way of playing Dizi, in which he pays a lot of attention on details of freedom, mood, thought and space. With plenty of performing and recording experience, Lao Dan has been experimenting more on his music since 2014. Based on Dizi and sax, adding various wind instruments and with new elements such as experiment, noise and improvisation, his music has been improved to a more substantial and creative level. He has also been actively cooperating with artists worldwide, including the legendary Japanese drummer Sabu Toyozumi.

In 2013, he formed the music group Red Scarf with Deng Boyu and Li Xing, covering a variety of music genres including progressive rock, thrash metal, avant-garde jazz, funk metal and punk rock, and released their eponymous debut album in 2016.

In May 2017, Lao Dan finishde recording his first Dizi solo album “Zhui Yun Zhu Meng (追云逐梦)” and it was ready to be released under Modern Sky World Music. In June, he joined a four-country avant-garde saxophone project raised by Japanese label Armageddon Nova, where his own composition “Self-destructive Machine (自毁机器)” is issued. 

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Lao Dan / alto saxophone, chinese flute

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Recorded by 老丹 at Qinglongdong Tunnel, Hangzhou, China
23 August & 25 December 2017
Mastered by Cyril Meysson in Saint-Étienne, France, January 2018
Photography by 饒依爾 Rao Eer & 若潭 ruò tán
Translation by 呂立揚 Li-Yang
Layout by 若潭 ruò tán

Lao Dan

A classically trained Chinese flutist at Shenyang Conservatory of Music (SYCM), Lao Dan sticks to his own vision of and approach to the bamboo flute and its sounds. His playing continues to push the limits of artistic expression on this instrument, exploring the possibilities of free, energetic, and nonconformist ways of sound-making confined by neither Jazz nor traditional Chinese musical conventions. His improvisation often brings to the audience an overwhelming sonic experience in which the East and the West, the ancient and the modern clash dramatically on each other.