Chinese-born, London-based performance and sound artist, Li Yilei, has revealed details of their third full-length album and their second for LTR Records. Secondary Self is set for release on 26 August 2022.
We’ve had a sneak preview of the album because we’re always sucking up to record company PRs and, if your reaction is anything like ours, prepare to have your mind blown.
This is “music” in only the very loosest sense. Rather, Li Yilei has created a complex, sometimes disturbing but always fascinating soundscape, veering between uplifting quasi-orchestral swells and discordant noise that will, by turns, discombobulate and uplift you. And to those who prefer their listening pleasure to be served up in three minute, jaunty pop tunes, Secondary Self is not so much going to take you out of your comforts zone: instead, it’ll stick a nuclear rocket where the sun don’t shine and launch you into a trippy musical stratosphere you didn’t know existed.
Secondary Self marks the most powerful and cohesive musical representation of the artist to date, despite the scattered genesis of the album’s track listing. Many of the pieces originated from a Café OTO commission, appearing via their digital label project, TakuRoku. However, the abstract guitar meditation of “Warmth Ageing” was recorded during sessions for Li Yilei’s debut album, Unabled Form – and only omitted because of time constraints.
The album’s closing track “Melt” is a completely new piece, the modular coda recorded in London in February of this year.
The Secondary Self sessions span a time period that began in London in 2019, through the period while the artist was in Shanghai from 2020 until 2022 and back to the UK again. The album was mastered by Joe Caithness and the arresting cover art was created by Li Yilei.
Listen to the first track, Murmur, here:
Secondary Self is the fifth release on LTR Records. Available on cassette (we had to check that but, yes, cassette) and download, the album is available from https://www.ltrrecords.com as well as select record stores, online and via streaming services.