DAMIAN LAZARUS Music Inspired By The Film ‘Beijing Spring’ SECRET TEACHINGS
‘Beijing Spring’ is a documentary film that is written, produced and directed by Andy Cohen and co-directed by Gaylen Ross. Damian Lazarus has produced a new soundtrack for this acclaimed documentary – an exclusive presentation of music taken from, and inspired by the critically acclaimed film. This soundtrack album is also the first release on the new Secret Teachings record label.
Focusing on a group of artists called the Stars (founded by Ma Desheng and Huang Rui, and including Ai Weiwei and others), this documentary film chronicles the struggle for free speech and free artistic expression, in the People’s Republic of China during a brief period of political reform during the late 1970s, known as the Beijing Spring.
After the police forcefully shut down the Stars’ confrontational art show hung on a park fence, and arrest activist Wei Jingsheng for posting an essay on the ‘Democracy Wall’ critical of the Party, thousands of citizens take to the streets near Tiananmen Square, marching in protest and demanding the right to free speech – the first such demonstration since the Communists seized power.
The authorities, provoked by the demonstrations and threatened by the foreign media attention, close down ‘Democracy Wall’ and force most of the Stars group into exile. Recording it all is a daring young filmmaker named Chi Xiaoning. Hidden for decades, footage from these brave acts of rebellion are now featured in AC Films’ ‘Beijing Spring’ for the first time.
Damian Lazarus first met Andy Cohen in a nightclub in Geneva. This chance meeting led to a commission to embellish the existing more traditional soundtrack with a modern take, something more experimental. Within two days of the meeting, Damian was recording musicians playing ancient Chinese musical instruments in a recording studio in Bali. Each musician experimenting around the same tonal scale, while Damian’s friend Millane contributed vocals. After these intense recording sessions, it was back to Damian’s studio in Italy to edit, compile and complete, before the whole album was mixed by the Grammy nominated Bruno Ellingham. The result is a dense, fascinating album and a worthy partner release to this relevant and pertinent documentary film.
This soundtrack also serves as the first release on the new Crosstown Rebels sister label Secret Teachings. Secret Teachings explores music from the outer reaches, often far from the clamour of the dancefloor. Under the Crosstown Rebels label umbrella, Secret Teachings also shares the same mission. It will endeavour to discover and nurture new talent, and champion the obscure and exciting, from around the world. Collaborations with visuals artists will also be at its core. The artwork for ‘(Music Inspired by The Film) Beijing Spring’ has been created by the great Ma Desheng himself.