Fan Wu 
touch The Ten Thousand Things without dependency 

Second Spring • 2023

Fan Wu enumerates unnameable infinity over ambient drone on touch The Ten Thousand Things without dependency.

Reading the description of Fan Wu’s album touch The Ten Thousand Things without dependency, I’m struck by the conscious play of taxonomies. Fan Wu and his collaborators have created an unapologetically sprawling seven-track ambient album. An undulating drone is punctuated by Wu’s spoken word, as his mantric poetry, touching on “qigong, morning talks on gut health, the Chaotic Blob fable in the Zhuangzi, vapes and lines, fireplaces and cigarettes, alien encounters, daily donut specials, and winter walks over the high hill,” traces paths through an internal universe that shirks easy definition.

It’s reminiscent of Borges’ playful critique of John Wilkins, consciously juxtaposing objects of phenomenon to create an order that appears arbitrary but ordered by experience and a conscious desire to sense (“touch”) without the conventions of meaning (“without dependency”).  It is naming the universe, full well knowing that “there is no description of the universe that isn’t arbitrary and conjectural for a simple reason: we don’t know what the universe is” (Borges).

Wu’s track, “In the Regatta of our Half-Undress,” stretches imagery and sense over a sonic river of synths. Disinterested in clear cohesion, we’re left letting Wu’s ASMR-like delivery come in and out of focus. A simple refrain—“How pulsing is it?”—follows Wu’s mention of “my first crush, Jeremy”. Perhaps a reference to an early erotic encounter, there is an implicit sensuality and reference to the album title but defies any attempt at a clear relationship between his lines (“that got too close”).

Much like the black and white coral that adorns the front and back of the album, touch The Ten Thousand Things without dependency feels like an album that is evocative of sensation while still surrounded by an ethereal expanse. Fan Wu makes sure that any headiness is offset by the electronic ambience and is happy to delve into the corporeal for what is ultimately a meditative album that rewards repeated listening.

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