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by Semay Wu

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Semay Wu cello, objects, electronics

In the last few years, I’ve been experimenting with electronics of all kinds, with improvisation, as well as compositions using graphic scores and video-works. Improvisation is now for me an everyday thing and where I feel most comfortable. Coming from a classical cellist’s background, it is pretty much what I take part in most, be it performing or composing.
Graced with a recent string of solo performances, the first (of my current setup) in 2021 led to my first ever ‘album’ of recorded solo works: ‘Raspberry Hotel’. This was released in November 2022 by the wonderful Akashic Records in Glasgow.
The launch night took place at a particularly inspiring place of resonance, the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, whereby all kinds of mysterious kinetic machines come alive and dance in your presence. Thanks going to the one and only John Cavanagh. I’ve performed there twice now, the first being in 2019.
This release presents the live recordings of 2019 and 2022, where two different setups share the same magical space:

Sunday 02 June 2019 - The brain is MaxMSP on a Sunday vibe. Arteries connect to a body of objects of various textures and elements, including the cello and home-made instruments. Audience members wander and listen from all perspectives of the room, while John Cavanagh takes command of the kinetic machines: players in the effervescent ensemble with whom I improvise.
Some time ago, being interested in the idea of space, and the sense of being in many places at one time. I asked people to record their surroundings, wherever they were, using their phone as a recording device. The recordings gave me a sense of witnessing simultaneous happenings around the world. You might hear frogs, escalators going into subways, town squares and nature spots.

Friday 25 November 2022 - Launch night for ‘Raspberry Hotel’. After a long break from all music during lockdown, a much simpler and quicker setup seemed like the right path to playing music again. All my solo performances since 2021 have been in this format. Again, it’s an improvisation, but this time with just the cello and a few mics going through pedals, picking up scratches, rubbings and pings of everyday objects, instruments and toys. John performs the machines again to perfection, while I sit on the floor.
I do love a good floor. [Semay Wu]


Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre website here:


released February 20, 2023

01 recorded 25 November 2022 by John Cavanagh
02 recorded 02 June 2019 by Gavin Brown
both at Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, Glasgow as part of Sharmanka's Music Events - programmed by John Cavanagh
thanks to John and Sergey

mastered by Jim McEwan @bark_bark_dog_studios


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