Yong Yandsen is an improvising saxophonist and co-founder of LaoBan Records. His focused use of extended techniques and roots in free playing makes Yandsen one of the most exciting voices of his generation. He has played at the Asian Meeting Festival (Japan), Mosaic Festival (Singapore), CHOPPA Experimental Festival (Singapore), allEars Festival (Norway) and Music Matters Festival (Sri Lanka) amongst others. Yandsen, together with Darren Moore and Brian O’Reilly, formed the improvised trio Game of Patience, touring Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In 2018, he joined Hungry Ghosts with Christian Meaas Svendsen and Paal Nilssen-Love as well as several solo tours to Japan and Taiwan.
Darren Moore is an Australian drummer, electronic musician and co-owner of LaoBan Records. He believes life itself is an improvisation, weaving this spirit into everything he does. Driven by his passion for artistic expression, Darren is continually challenging himself to explore new territory. Creative improvisation is the through-line in his approach to varying projects and activities. He is active in the fields of jazz, improvisation, experimental music and multimedia throughout South East Asia, Australia, Japan and Europe. Darren lives in Singapore with his family where bases his musical activities and works as a Lecturer in Music at Lasalle College of the Arts.
For close to 20 years, Achim Kaufmann (piano), Frank Gratkowski (sax) and Wilbert de Joode (bass) have been recording and touring internationally continually developing and deepening their musical rapport. The trio’s music has been completely improvised from the outset. There have never rehearsed before concerts or used premeditated structures and concepts. However, the three often manage to evoke the impression that their music could indeed be adhering to compositional presets. Kaufmann/Gratkowski/de Joode combine the transparency of early 21st-century chamber music – silence, navigating noise regions, textural juxtapositions and relics of tonal harmony – with the energy, the rhythmic momentum and unpredictability of jazz and other rhythmically aggressive musics. (Photograph: Cees van de Ven)
KONSTANTIN, ILIA & ME
Ilia, Konstantin & Me is a Norwegian-Russian trio featuring Ilia Belorukov on alto saxophone, Konstantin Samolovov on drums and Christian Meaas Svendsen on double bass. In the borderlands of the known, the trio seeks to find a common musical platform. The barriers are manifold: culture, references, language, upbringing, and education, along with voluntary and enforced indoctrination. Seemingly few things can unite the individuals and bring them into an elevated unity. The ego is used with full effect as an active component to reach into the forever re-localizing goal. Through friction, a creative field arises that creates space to examine differences, juxtapose them and — if possible — transform them into a unison experience.
HIROSE JUNJI/TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA/DARREN MOORE
Bounen-kai is the Japanese end of year party where friends get together to literally 'forget the year'. The trio of Hirose Junji on saxophone, Toshimaru Nakamura on no-input mixing board and Darren Moore on drums first performed at Ftarri record store's 2015 Bounen-kai party. The trio not only forgot about the year gone by but they also forgot about the self-imposed rules that align musicians with certain genres or music-making approaches. The trio's music doesn't fit neatly into one category and draws freely from their collective influences as can be heard on Foreign Policy on LaoBan Records. Their music represents their disdain for conforming; gliding seamlessly from minimalist free improv to maximalist free jazz and noise.
GAME OF PATIENCE
Game of Patience is one of the few active groups in the South East Asia region dedicated solely to freely improvised music. The group, consisting of Malaysian saxophonist Yong Yandsen, Australian drummer Darren Moore and American contrabass player and electronic musician Brian O'Reilly, draws influence from both the Asian and Western experimental music traditions. They perform with a focused intensity that is complimented by mercurial group interplay that combines extended techniques, electronics, free jazz and electroacoustic free improv. Their releases include limited edition vinyl 'The Bad Sleep Well' (2014), live album 'Trial and Error' (2015) CD released on Herbal International and studio album Year of Menace (2019) on LaoBan Records.
KOK SIEW WAI
Hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kok Siew-Wai started as a video artist and is now active as a vocal improviser and artist-curator. She has shown her works, curated projects and performed in Asia, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA. Siew-Wai has participated in music festivals such as allEars Improvised Music Festival (Norway), Asian Meeting Festival (Japan), Choppa Experimental Music Festival, Playfreely (Singapore), CTM Festival (Germany) and Nusasonic Festival (Indonesia) amongst others. Siew-Wai is interested in improvisation and the exploration of expressions with the human voice. She is the co-founder and director of the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX).
Comprising of improvisers connected by sea, Tengarra Trio is Yong Yandsen (Kuala Lumpur) on saxophone, Ikbal S. Lubys (Jogjakarta) and Dharma (S’pore) on guitars. Tenggara Trio formed at the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Music and Film Festival (KLEX) in 2016 when a random pairing brought them together. They realised the cosmic energy emanating from their sounds needed to be harnessed and embarked on regional tours and their debut The South of the East on LaoBan Records. The post-rock/gamelan/noise/free jazz-inspired sounds of Tenggara trio are a trance-inducing window into the diversity of the music scene in South-East Asia.
His Hubris is saxophonist Yong Yandsen and Sudarshan Chandra Kumar on electronics. The duo is a result of their prior involvement in various other performative configurations and an effort to develop the techniques employed in their craft. Drawing from standard improv conventions, they utilize a synthesis of extended techniques and live audio signal processing to expand the nature of their practice. His Hubris honed their approach through countless live performances in Kuala Lumpur. Their debut recording Clinamina on LaoBan Records is a masterful study in musique concrète-style manipulation of both electronic and acoustic sounds.