"My own loss of Chinese and estrangement from my blood shouldn’t be hidden, and the translations aren’t all correct.
Baojiaxiang is the street that my family lives on. It is a homonym to a system of community enforcement, of looking out for one another. To me in writing it looks like “to hold the home alley.” My mother always told me that there’s nothing more important than what others think of you. I never asked her if she knew about this similarity.
The orchestra of the frozen state is the machine, my laptop. It belongs to my past in my estrangement as well as the functions of this estrangement, with what little money my mother had that she spent on my classical training. More often than most kids in the hood I found myself in a suit, on a stage, in front of a bunch of rich people. Now more often than not I find myself longing to be there again, a component of a larger system that I could blindly spew my technique into without regard to its meaning.
I made this tape because I don’t know who I am. I understand that this is a common problem, and that most people solve it by looking into their pasts, or connecting with their family, or something. None of these are viable, or possible really. I don’t believe I was ever meant to become a doctor and support family. I can’t see myself moving weight from one city in Arizona to another. I fucked up my voice with smoking so I can’t sing in choir anymore.
So I took all of that piano knowledge and made something that sounds a little bit more like all the people around me. I want to thank all of my friends for holding me up along the way. I want to thank Los Angeles for giving me this gift of confidence in a lush, dissonant sound. I want to thank every dead white man for writing music that helped me become better than all their sons. I will thank China when I finally go home."
released December 30, 2016
Written by N. Zhu
Additional Production on Side A by Bryony Leeson
Artwork by C. Perez & N. Zhu