DEVIL IN THE WIND
ABC 1997
Radio inside a Violin: A gift to Jon Rose by the marketing department of WDR Cologne
  • Recorded in China in 1994 and 1996 by Jon Rose
  • Edited together for John Crawford's NMA show on the ABC 1997
  • Er-hu, violin, 19 string cello, played by Jon Rose
  • A shortened version from the original 56'50" radiophonic work

‘Devil In The Wind’ is the term used to describe the common cold in Chinese culture and, as I discovered, in Beijing’s pharmacy equivalent, there are large jars of copious bugs to ameliorate those symptoms. The content of this radiophonic exploration of China, on the cusp of economic global power, was recorded while on tour. On listening back nearly 30 years later, what strikes me is the noisy bustling business of making and selling - on the streets, in the markets, at a CD pirating company, or in a musical instrument factory. The music of the folk is still evident, two key cutters who work in a large cardboard box sing their own songs accompanied by ear splitting er-hu (an instrument which I also got to play). We hear the sounds of counting in Mandarin and Cantonese on an abacus and on a digital display. Bicycles in their millions are still ubiquitous, and so are the middle aged men dressed in conforming blue Mao suits and frowned upon by the younger generations for spitting profusely in public. There are historic speeches by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping of a brave new world with Chinese characteristics - which I accompany with my 19 string cello. And then one evening I witnessed visual and sonic pandemonium; the Chinese invented gun powder and they relish the demonstration of its power.

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