Chun-liang Liu’s ‘Friction’ is coming across as a personal adventure, somehow balancing between a warm heart, going mentally over board, escaping, exploring and having the fire of survival in business. It starts presumably at the artist home. Here she sounds a bit neurotic as she pronounces the sentence ‘impossible to live in a vacuum’ over and over again. She does this while she is clearly in search for something, probably an exit to this vacuum that she is so busy with. You can hear her opening doors, checking the room, perhaps looking in plastic cups, behind cupboards and maybe underneath a carpet.
The vision of her going a bit insane in a small space is clearly popping across, and when the moment comes that she manages to escape it feels as a relief for all of us. Here she steps around with firm steps into the outside world, a sign of relief and air… or is it? When my brain hopes she has escaped by driving a car or perhaps traveling through some form of transport it becomes clear at the end that she somehow had escaped from the room, by strangely moving into her very own vacuum cleaner!
Then within ‘From One Arcade to Another’ our hero sings lonely pretty tones of expressions, almost in opera-ways. She is not inside the vacuum no more but surrounded by busy surroundings of busy places. This must be a recorded in a city that never sleeps; I wonder where it is… is it Taipei, Taiwan? The melancholic tones of her voice integrate easily in these street sounds. Car honks, trains move over their tracks and workers working form a nice palette for her vocal expressions.
Then one of the most moving moments on this album is when Chun-liang Liu takes us for a ride with the MRT. We can hear the other travelers talking, the trains going from station to station while our host sings softly to herself in an act of soothing rebellion against the stream. It sounds reassuring to herself, with poetic insertions that might indicate a hard time keeping track of making sense of her own sanity.
There is clearly a warm fire burning in Chun-liang Liu her heart, as whatever the situation is she turns it into something of her own. No matter how loud and busy the streets are, how heavy the traffic is; nothing is able to silence her vocal expressions and all round spirit of her burning heart. She uses all the surrounding locations as if they are her band, her improvisational orchestra directed by the universe to compliment her own fantasies and sounds that come out of her own mouth and mind.
Don’t be surprised when you see a local street dog dancing to her heartbeat.
Chun-liang Liu keeps the things real and shares with us her life in all kind of ways. As the previous tracks have been fairly close to her own, the track in which she is eating sugarcanes with her friends is a delightful moment of normality. How lovely it is to hear her and friends their teeth sinking in these sugarcanes? How lovely it is to hear them laugh, talk and munch these clearly delicious food things like we are there to eat with them! Normally a lot of people will post pictures of the food that they will eat on social media, but I must say this recording is much more stronger than any picture of a sugarcane; this will make your mouth drool! Sounds so tasty!
In all honesty I’m not entirely sure what is happening in the lengthy last work on this personal journey of an album, somehow it comes across as a intensive cleaning session, as if Chun-liang Liu is wiping away in an almost fanatic automatic way until all will be hygienic and fresh. In the background happy birds encourage the session; might this be a sign of approval?
Experience this personal journey of Chun-liang Liu at the following link: