AMN Reviews: Alok & jrg_one – 628 Interface (Lona Records)

Hong Kong multimedia artist Alok Leung has been issuing streams of thought-provoking, mostly electronic music since 2002 on his Lona Records label. Often small gems of the 3″ CDR variety, its roster includes international luminaries like Maurizio Bianchi, Yan Jun and Roel Meelkop and pleasant surprises like Edwin Lo and Nisei23.

On the first, solo track of his new album, Alok irradiates the space with a huge evergrowing pulsating brainwave that instead of coming to a conclusion is overcome by the second track, a collaboration with ex-pat American Jackson Garland. Recording as jrg_one, Garland recently moved to Hanoi after six or seven years living and working in China. “Interface” was recorded live by the duo at a cool, disreputable bar in Beijing in 2009. Supplemented by his looped natural and synthesized ingredients, they let loose a wilder sound than Alok´s “628 am” and a lion tamer´s whip cracks regularly to keep it in line.

Far noisier than the first track, but not raucous and intrusive – rather, the half-hour long “Interface” agreeably disorients the senses, like being slightly drunk in a subway station crowded with rush hour passengers whom you, in no hurry to get home, are at leisure to sit back and enjoy observing. Twenty minutes into the piece and some rather noble tones are struck. You see how sometimes it is worth just staying put in one place for a while?

Stephen Fruitman

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