It’s already too much. Whatever preceded the opening of Body Of Immanence, it was surely intense. ni zheng’s voice is already strained as if the body is pushing back with its last reserves, her howl splintering into rasps and overtones. All around her are clunks, scrapes and the low trundling of engines, forming a strange mechanical enclosure that presses inward as the body resists. These opposing forces never truly resolve. ni zheng sources vitality from quivering synthesiser dissonances, unrelenting low frequencies, stifled hydraulic expulsions, the croaks of wooden burdened winches…energetic bursts are cut short, thwarted, unable to relieve themselves. Remarkable is the album’s cruel use of the stereo field, which situates the listener within a cramped central corridor while huge accumulations of sound – field recordings, voices, drones – press inward from either side.
Miraculously there are melodies, albeit sparingly present. The 10-minute “in the land of the fathers” closes with a chord progression that seems to emerge from nowhere, murmuring like a chorus of earthworms, drenching the composition’s agitation with a sort of violet-hued fatigue. Other pieces allude to melody or rhythmic coherence but never fully embrace it – “uterine night” ticks like a clock, with a dirging upturned jig manifesting between metronomic knocks of rhythm and theremin-esque whine, while the closing “deperson” places a dreadful pulse beneath the slow escalations of a nocturnal ceremony: muffled corvid calls, ghoulish winds, high screams, trickling liquids. There’s something morbid about how the album marks the passing of time. Each second is violently extinguished, rabidly feasted upon.