Brooklyn-based artist Kaiwei, has been pushing the boundaries of sound through experimentation. He's now secured it. Given that, we know there are limits, and Calvin Chang, AKA Kaiwei, knows them. His music plays an integral part in the audio construction of fashion shows, the sound builds of art installations, and Ichen Wang's play Dress in Code.
Kaiwei, has spent plenty of time working his craft and infusing it with his ideology before his album debut. In speaking with many artists, the threshold of the pandemic lockdown as a pivotal point remains. It was a time that either kicked artists to the curb or kick-started their creative process.
Establishing The Foundation of Kaiwei
I must be conditioned to imagine cityscapes when I hear glitchy electronic music. Kaiwei attempts to move past this because the last thing an artist wants is to be confined. Ironically, that's where the title of this work, Reprocessor, takes its meaning. An attempt to reprocess what is already there into a new experience. You can't get away from the confinement, really, but you can experience how this is not confined.
The opening track, Chung Yeung - the time spent with ancestors, is that time to reprocess. At different times, we see things differently depending on our circumstances. Reconnecting could be the reset that we need. How do we reconnect? Do you speak with your ancestors about memories you've shared with them? Do you share, with your ancestors, technology that was never in their lives? Would how you alienate people here be the same way you would want to connect with your ancestry?
This is especially the case since Reprocessor comprises COVID-19-era found sounds. This makes me think more about the ritual of Chung Yeung of returning to that hill. Recycling the memories, the connection with those ancestors. More commonly, I would think that nothing new is added to that mix, which is the point of Reprocessor.
"The goal remained making point of solely utilizing and synthesizing prerecorded samples. They are therefore reprocessed rather than reworked, as performative & improvisational mediums and lush layers of ever-morphing textures."
In an interview, Kaiwei explains the search for meaning in making music. What is clear from his view is that this work, especially as his debut, is vastly important.
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Going Deep Into 'Reprocessor'
It's not just because "Chung Yeung" is the opening track that we start this album with. It's likely an intentional introduction of this work for those who would rather set everything to shuffle. The purpose of this review is to take my experience and to try and meet Kaiwei halfway through their narrative.
When Kaiwei talks about texture, this track is a great example of that. It opens up cinematically, as is appropriate for a work that documents a period of our lives. He and I have a similar view of the work that we create. At the very least, the work we create in whatever media we choose documents our time and our point of view, and it acts as the time capsule that we leave behind.
This work goes through various sounds, textures, styles, and every approach Calvin will take to tell this story. The titles also give a hint of what they're about for those who are trying to tie these tracks to something corporeal. For instance, what happened at 10 Eyck? The melody found in "Bike Thing Supercollision" sticks with me. Hopefully, someone walked out of that one.
Someone's voice is slowed down in "Breakbeat Funky 102" to sound beast-like, and beat-wise, it's anything but funky. The title track, Reprocessor has elements of experimental jazz, which is a music style I usually associate New York with. We'll get a better sense in the interview to come.
My experience with this release is that of a movie soundtrack. The movie is my life, and I've taken this with me into the city to figure out how it matches my environment.