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Beijing 2016​-​2017

by Edward Sanderson

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  • ZMY 016
    Cassette + Digital Album

    professional factory dubbed cassette. hand writing by Edward Sanderson. with full English and Chinese text .

    Includes unlimited streaming of Beijing 2016-2017 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Edward Sanderson is a freelance art critic and editor, living and working between Japan and China. His writing focuses on contemporary art in the Asian context, focusing on alternative cultural practices, independent art groups and sound in art

Beijing 2016-2017 is Edward's field recording work. Although during the time he made these recordings, he did not have any plan to make this publication.


李蔼德(Edward Sanderson)是一个自由艺术评论家,编辑和策展人,从2007年至今一直生活并工作在中国。他的研究和写作专注于在中国背景下工作的文化生产者所制造出的当代艺术。他对“另类”群体的历史发展和当代表现形式,实验声音艺术和音乐家抱有浓烈的兴趣。



released December 14, 2017

What effect can captured sounds have in the world? What process are we setting in motion by switching on an audio recorder at a certain moment, and then switching it off again after a certain period of time? What is the significance of this act by the holder of the recording machine? What is the significance of the movement from sound as a register of location, to the abstract representation of sounds, to the registration of their playback format as a new location? 

All the pieces on this cassette represent cuts out of time, taken from specific locations (in this case, between 2016 and 2017 in the city of Beijing, China). As snippets of sound, maybe they actually tell us very little, as they are abstracted from their original situation and limited to the single sense of hearing. Yet in themselves it is expected that they provide some minimal description of a place and time; they can be appreciated as a limited reportage of the situations they were recorded in.

Beyond these sounds there may also be a presumption that the listener can hear a “truth” about these situations. Maybe this truth appears by separating the sounds from the original environment encompassing all sensory data, through the process of abstraction that takes place in the recording process, between the creation of the sounds by various in situ situations, and the subsequent capturing and representation of the sounds by the recorder.

Such an expectation of a truth would have to be approached with caution, in that the various technologies involved are by their nature mediations, interposing themselves between an original and a listener. The truth may lie more in those technologies than in a message purportedly being transferred.

But the pieces also work as a whole, as an arrangement of sound pieces on the technological form of the cassette tape (or in a different way as the digital download). Their presentation on cassette is specific; the pieces deliberately lack intervening silences, and are without fade-ins or -outs, to prevent them from being considered as entries and exits from the situations each piece is recording, a movement that might imply narrative progress.

The pieces are also very simple in terms of their technical generation. No audio equipment specifically designed for professional results was used; the pieces were all recorded using an iPhone’s internal microphone, in mono, with no protection from wind noise for instance.

By pointing out here these aspects of the production and presentation of the recordings, I am trying to expose the essential “distractions” from the ostensible subject matter of each piece. Such distractions would include the emphasis on the technologies involved, on a particular quality of the recording, on the idea of representation itself (that the recording represents anything but its reception).

These distractions represent the fundamental, insurmountable disconnection between the original setting and the playback of the recording. It is not even worth thinking there is any possibility or hope of recreating any aspect of an original setting. Each hearing therefore is a new setting. But it is certainly possible to hold an idea of the original setting in our heads while simultaneously knowing that we are absolutely in the here and now of the listening process.

—Edward Sanderson 李蔼德, November 2017













Zoomin' Night Beijing, China

Zoomin' Night
燥眠夜 is a cassette label based in Beijing, run by Zhu Wenbo since 2015.


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