Various Artists
There is No Music from China [CS; End of the Alphabet]

Explaining the product of There is No Music from China is akin to breaking down a piece of dissidence. Part performance art, part practical joke (how many times can I hear a toilet flush), this collection of noises curated and collected by Yan Jun and Zhu Wenbo is as it advertises: not music. Sure, there are music-like stretches, such as “untitled guitar solo #2,” but they are sketches at best. Likewise, our devout friend of flushing AKA “Answer a Call of Nature” is hardly anything but as it sounds. Yet, speaking as someone who has used the recording of a flushing toilet in their own past work (Drunken Weazil 4 Lyfe), there is a musicality to everyday sounds if you are so attuned. Therein lies the rib of There is No Music from China. Those expecting traditional Chinese music will be disappointed; those expecting some heavy synthesis of experimental noise will also likely be taken aback. As close as this album gets to capturing anything remotely popular concerning China’s music is the appropriately titled “AlmostNearlyProbablyVeryclose.” You can hear pop and traditional music as surrounded by a bustling crowd. What this cassette amounts to is a tease — and yet, a very fun one. It won’t be something you return to with any sort of regularity, but it speaks to the jester in all of us, who can take a harmless pun and weaponize it. Those of us in America are used to that from a certain sect of trolls, but Yan Jun and Zhu Wenbo are far more weighty and righteous in their choices. This isn’t some Pepe meme to dig at the thin skinned, but rather a cassette to have you sit like The Thinker and not be a stinker for a moment.

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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