Fresh Kicks 95: Flora Yin-Wong
Experimental artist, DJ and PAN affiliate Flora Yin-Wong delivers an hour of warped club sounds and cutting-edge bass manoeuvres as part of our Fresh Kicks mix series...
Flora Yin-Wong’s fusion of experimental electronics with organic sounds is an absorbing one. A multi-disciplinary producer and DJ, the London artist has, in a relatively short period, released tracks and EPs on revered labels including PAN, PTP and C.A.N.V.A.S. as well as remixing friends and contemporaries such as J.Colleran, Giant Swan and Scintii.
Her sound veers from the percussive, glitchy and melodic to the sparse, ambient and engulfing. One need only turn to the lush ‘Lugere’ from PAN’s ‘mono no aware’ compilation or to her debut tape ‘City God’ on PTP to get a sense of the immediacy and lucidity that has defined her output to date.
‘City God’ also presented Yin-Wong an artist whose music was rooted in concept. Using a wealth of traditional Cantonese sounds (from opera to yangqin recordings), Japanese kotos and other traditional instruments along with her vivid electronics, the EP explored ideas surrounding Chinese folk religion and the belief in a deity who “would provide divine protection to a city's physical defences".
“This is something that is really important to me,” she tells DJ Mag, speaking of the significance of her work’s thematic basis. “These ideas have rooted my lifelong tastes. I guess subconsciously via my singer/opera-writer mother and my grandfather's involvement in Cantonese opera in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and the UK. My current work is based around a collection of ideas which bring together my written work and fiction with music and visuals.”
Her musical growth has been gradual and varied, with an early interest in club sounds developing in tandem with classical and new-wave music making it only seem only natural that her output would tick so many diserpate creative boxes now. From listening to garage on her walkman aged 11 in her “shit school” in Camden, to discovering post-punk, DMX, techno and house as the years went on, her stylistic course has been rich.
“I started playing the violin aged seven, then saxophone and clarinet, self-taught on guitar, was in choirs... I first started playing with production like nine years ago but I wasn’t very good so I stopped trying. I got back into it couple years ago, accidentally set something public on Soundcloud and was asked by PTP to release it.”
“It's very, very ad hoc,” she adds, describing her production technique. “Club music was something I grew up with and resonates most with me but it didn't occur to me to make club tracks. I generally struggle with a lot of acoustic music but love specific organic/natural sounds – so have been drawn to put together maybe disparate things.”
Her most recent outing has been with emerging art collective and event series C.A.N.V.A.S., whose recent ‘Cipher’ compilation tasked artists including Yin-Wong, Michael Speers, Xao Ausschuss, Olan Monk and previous Fresh Kicks selectors object blue and Lugh with composing works based on a series of themes. Yin-Wong’s haunting contribution, ‘Murmures’, as she explains, was yet another conceptualised work which, once again, found her utilising a mixture of field recordings, samples of traditional instrumentation and electronics.
“We were given the task of creating a track that was inspired by kare-sansui,” she explains. “So I started with a very peaceful and personal field recording of windchimes in a forest in a mountain in Japan from last year. The recording was first processed, to be taken apart so it places differently, then re-pieced together with the raw file to 'cleanse' the air, as bells are customarily used in Buddhism. The overlaid melodies were made on the fly and pieced from old koto performances etc.”
Having spent much of last year “all over the place”, including spending several months based in Japan and on tour in east Asia along with gigs in Barcelona’s Razzamatazz and New York’s ISSUE, Yin-Wong is feeling inclined to relocate again this year. While she spends some time working out where to, she has shows lined up with C.A.N.V.A.S. in Café Oto on 13th March and two days later at SET, London alongside Lord Tusk and Laksa.
For her Fresh Kicks mix, Yin-Wong showcases her more club-driven sensibilities, highlighting the propulsive nature of her DJ sets. Featuring cuts from Tzusing, Lee Gamble, Pearson Sound, Sophia Loizou and more, it’s a 60-minute offering of warped club sounds and cutting-edge bass manoeuvres. Fiery stuff. Check it out below.
Last track that blew your mind?
“Cam Deas ‘Time Exercises’”
Last film you watched?
Last DJ set that blew your mind?
Favourite album to relax to?
“Francisco Lopez - ‘Wind (Patagonia)’”
“Currently Gondwana, Nazar, Slikback etc.”
What's the best club you've played at?
“Have to say Berghain, right?”
E-Saggila - Glass Wing
Pearson Sound - Rubble
Tzusing - Circa Taipei
Demdike Stare - 40 Years Under The Cosh
Cienfuegos - Slipping Venus (Entro Remix)
Aquarian - Ten Years (Leather Jacket Mix)
Hodge - You Better Lie Down
Beneath - 5050
Joel Eel - Body Builder
TSVI - Realm of Jabarut
Gondwana - Quetzalcoatl
Lee Gamble - BMW Shuanghuan X5
Sophia Loizou - Loop of Perception
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