Make some noise for DMU students working with legendary Chinese musician

Beer mats and noodles headlined as musical instruments when Chinese musician and poet Yan Jun was joined by 10 students and staff from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU). 


Fast gaining recognition across Europe and the West, the Beijing-born artist is known for his improvised and experimental music, field recording and writing. 

During an evening exploring ‘noise as music’, Yan was joined by DMU staff, students and five other contributors from as far as Stockholm’s Royal College of Music (KMH), Plymouth University and the University of Edinburgh.

Contributors were invited to respond to Yan’s provocative text called The Laundrette by the Sea, which looks at the way in which different types of noise are accepted as music.

Held at Leicester's independent art centre, the Phoenix, and organised in partnership with DMU’s Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre (MTIRC), the night saw compelling contributions such as music, video and text, which explored subjects ranging from materialism and ecosystems to textile-based objects and battery-powered synthesisers.


Matt Rogerson, a final-year Music, Technology and Performance student, centred his performance around the noise people make when they are eating - something he admits having an 'acute intolerance' towards.

He said: "I used noodles from a local Chinese takeaway as my instrument and ate it very loudly in front of a microphone. It was very cold by the time I performed, which resulted in me gagging and spitting it out a lot of the time, creating a variety of disgusting noises.

"I then looped these sounds and processed them with various guitar effects pedals, maintaining a continuous vulgar soundscape. 

"To perform for an artist like Yan was a very freeing and brilliant experience!" 

Part-time lecturer and PhD student at the MTIRC, Amit Patel, performed a piece called Predictive Noise with DMU reader in music Dr John Richards.

It involved projecting the text that Dr Richards’ was typing live on a smartphone with Amit playing an instrument he constructed using a beer mat as a base.


Amit's beer mat instrument

The DJ and sound-artist started developing the idea for this instrument during a week-long residency at KMH earlier this year as part of a #DMUglobal trip.

He said: "It was an incredible evening – an interesting fusion between the local and the international and a rare chance for postgraduate and undergraduate students to work together.”

The following day Yan also brought his thrilling and unpredictable performance to DMU’s PACE building, during a well-attended event which was open to the public.

Dr Richards said: “It was very exciting hosting an artist like Yan Jun, not only in Leicester, but also at DMU.

“His work fundamentally addresses questions about what music and music technology is and can be today. The different cultural perspective he brings with him is also very interesting.”

The other contributors to the event at Phoenix were: Professor Leigh Landy (Director of DMU’s MTIRC), David Strang (academic and PhD student at Plymouth University), Dr Owen Green (academic at the University of Edinburgh), Max Wainwright (KMH student), Steph Horak (Computational Arts MA Goldsmiths graduate), Johan Erikkson (PhD student at Birmingham Conservatory), Luigi Marino (University of Birmingham and DMU PhD student), and DMU postgraduate students Dr Neal Spowage, Steve Jones, Mungo Zhangruibo, Jim Frize and Sam Topley.

Posted on Thursday 8 December 2016

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