Ent-T Wu Na : Deform from Within (CN,2012)****'
The instrument played on this album is the gu-qin (or guqin) is an ancient seven-stringed zither, which recalls the basics elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth.
The player, composer and improviser Wu Na started her musical training at the early age of nine, and she became the first artist in China to receive a Master's degree in gu-qin performance. It was this album where she showed a contemporary vision that allowed her to meet jazz improvisers mostly (although I am still curious how much these new people understood and still felt the ancient links in these renewed associations).
What is used here cleverly is the oriental melodic sensitivity combined with the power of using space and speaking silence. In between the clearly more Chinese sounding melodies there is shown a lot of variety in approaching the physical playing itself with different emphasis on the strings, wood and sounds coming from the instrument, which is the first element of improvisation, as well as moments of hanging around a certain harmonic pattern showing a few variations swinging around it, which probably is the second form of improvisation hanging more loosely in the grounded harmonics there. Still, the structure remains the same as well as the foundation, which is part of the strength, so that it cannot be said she’s a ‘free music’ improviser, but is more like a contemporary composer who allows herself a few varieties on the theme, which the sensibility of the instrument allows as well.