Taiwanese performing & sound artist, Chun-liang-Liu’s, follow-up her 2016 debut Friction album is a further development of her intimate vocal and sound works into more complex and layered sonic experiences. “I Thought It Was Colourful, But They Said It Was BLACK” was mostly recorded in Liu’s home, often in bed late at night, with multiple vocalisations added to create a polyphonic effect akin to a choir of interior voices or inner dialogue. Such an approach could easily be overwhelming for listeners, yet Liu crafts her work with a deft touch that offers a unique sonic, musical, and emotional experience.
Limited edition of 100 pro-produced cassettes with full colour covers.
This album was created unintentionally during the past two years. I was mostly at home by myself. At times, energy needed to let out and flow. Making sounds channeled my anxiety, boredom, happiness, and nameless feelings.
A lot had happened, yet nothing really happened.
A lot of the sounds were created either on my double bed, in the wardrobe, or in my living room, a small part of it was possibly recorded in the bathroom.
The album was recorded with my iPhone SE2 with voice memo. The “Intro” was created when I still had a double bed (now I slept on the floor, which was better for my waist and back, though not necessarily so for my neck). I played the vibraphone, hiding inside the blanket, and worked my best so that the blanket would not suffocate the sounds.
“Ima so Freakin’ Mad” was partially created in my friend Ali’s old car “Little Blue”. She contributed to some of the screaming in the background. It was an old nice car. But as with everything else in the world, sometimes, a good old thing needed to go as well.
“Breakthrough- the three track version” was the first “song”, I think, created with encouragement from Clinton Green. To be honest, all of the songs were created under his warm words and honest opinions. Clinton also made a video with two of the “Breakthrough” tracks. It was a marvelous improvisation with an old dumped car. I highly recommend this video.
“Deep in my Throat” was possibly my late night discovery (also while I still had a bed). Clinton created the mix. I like it so much that it has to be included in the album. The album would never be as complete as it is now without Clinton’s mix.
“I am sorry for your Loss – in the wave”, was created when I learned the news that my friend Ben Landau passed away. I was in a coffee shop with my friend Ali. I saw a photo of Ben by Sarah Walker on instagram. It was a side of Ben that I rarely saw and I was not even 100% sure it was him. I typically would not leave any comments on instagram. But that day I did, then I learned about his death. I did not know Ben much. Even if we did not live in the same city, did not even share much interest in common, Ben had been very generous with me while I was in Melbourne. And he showed up at my Fermenting: Listen work-in-progress in Taipei. I think, he’s the only one who saw two work-in-progress, witnessing it evolving from Food Concert to Fermenting: Listen. I wished that he had seen the final product in Castlemaine. He was also the first one washing my grandmother’s body (symbolically presented with rotten fruits). It saddened me that he is gone now. It was by far the most emotional “song” I had ever worked on. And I think Ben’s death pushed me to create another solo album after all these years since Friction was released. I wished I had been more honest and generous with him and everyone around me. I think, I still feel that.
“My Souls” were created during the day. A lot of the sounds were recorded in the living room. Initially, it was “my soul”. Then I discovered more of my souls. And all these souls merged into one. I realised that the album actually was divided into A/B side. With My souls leading the B side.
“I Kept My Soul in a Drawer” was also mostly recorded on my bed in the late night. I am actually a lot quieter than how others see me. And with two years without Facebook or much contacts with friends, I felt that my soul(s) had been kept in a secret drawer. My friend Pineapple (Hsieh, Feng-chen) described this song to be mostly black, with only a small part of colour here and there. I immediately emailed Clinton, feeling that it would best describe the album, hence the title, “I thought it was Colourful, but they said it was BLACK”. I guess this was typically my life story. I tend to tell tragic stories while smiling.
The “Outro, I’M SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS- AFTER THE WAVE CALMS”, was the reflection two days after I was finally out of the wave of the news.
Now, I am in the wave again. Possibly, a little bit closer to the real world. I suppose, a little bit closer to you, whoever is listening to it now.
– Chun-liang Liu.