Whether consciously or not, we are always choosing and engaging with various histories and heritages in making art and in living. What is happening at the meeting place of the past we inherit and the past we choose? What futures wait for us, and how can those futures already be folded into the present? Sunik Kim, in Raid on the White Tiger Regiment (Notice Recordings), positions multiple histories together and allows their interactions to create a fertile ground from which to consider the radical malleability of art and of our world.
The album’s title is taken from one of the eight model dramas produced during the Cultural Revolution. The original work maintained the style of Beijing opera but not the subject matter and character types, which often depict emperors, generals, and ladies in the four character types of male, female, painted face, and comic. Toward a goal for literature and art to fulfill a political purpose, the Raid on the White Tiger Regiment (奇袭白虎团) opera depicts Chinese and Korean communists prevailing against South Korean and US forces during the Korean War. Kim, in their artist statement for the album, acknowledges Brian Eno as the only other artist who, to their knowledge, named a work after one of these model dramas. Through their statement, beautifully and thoughtfully written, they constellate several historical and artistic lineages which converge in the album. These include and are not limited to the explicitly political Raid on the White Tiger Regiment opera, the Korean & Chinese communist struggle against the American empire, experimental music, and music creation softwares & sampling.
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