Release the Cheerfulness, China
Ground Up 2
I’ll be honest, Release the Cheerfulness, China is a project I wish I’d thought of first. Field recorder/found sound artist Jason Kopec spent two months traveling throughout China, capturing disparate material everywhere he went. The result is an album of ambient sounds of Chinese culture from the hum of trains and power generators to voices in busy streets, from samples of ’80s Kung Fu film soundtracks to ancient melodies played on traditional instruments.
These instrumental tracks dominate the bulk of the project. Kopec’s spotlight shines on many unidentified stringed instruments, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by tribal drums or voices. It’s a simple, beautiful expression he captures with these Eastern instruments, and the surrounding context of modern world sound in which he places them makes them sweeter still. It’s a fitting audio document for the transition China is perpetually making in reconciling their ancient history with progress.
Kopec has really checked his ego at the door with this project. He seems content to let what he’s recorded speak for itself, unmarred by his fingerprints. He creates some sonic collage on the sampled music and film tracks but the instrumental tracks are largely allowed to play out as the musicians intended. China is the star of this show and Kopec, thankfully, is simply the enabler who allows us to hear it.