Disaster averted – 山慕

It’s been a dramatic time of great change around the He family homestead. Dudu got very suddenly very sick, and after panicked phone calls to Australia she received two massive doses of pig antibiotics from the local pig doctor, who was so afraid of her that he hovered on the other side of the courtyard while ErGe, He Ye Ye, Naima, Frog and I all held Dudu and told her she was OK and kept her upright while she received two injections before passing out again.

It’s a week later now, and after many adventures taking her to Lijiang to the vet, and wrestling a dog who’s stronger every day into submission to take her tablets, I’m pleased to be able to say that she’s once again barking at the neighbours, eating the scraps of meat Anai throws to her from the table, and snoring the day away in our courtyard. Considering a week ago she couldn’t walk and her nose didn’t even twitch when raw meat was dangled in front of her, it’s a pretty swift recovery.

Dudu may be on the mend, but she's still loving the attention!

Dudu may be on the mend, but she’s still loving the attention!


That being said, she’s a much older dog than she was 2 weeks ago.


There’s also been an influx of people here, two new artists have come, and that’s not counting the 3 that I know who are coming in the next few weeks. There’s a giant metal sculpture going up, a handmade loom in the courtyard and it’s nice to see this place through a newcomers eyes. It is truly amazingly special here.


Last week I said I’d put some tracks up. So here we go.


I’ve been playing with strict concepts of composition within a graphic notation format. This first one is a perfect flower. It’s fractal and endless and amazing. For the music I represented each ‘row’ of flowers with one repeated motif. Starting from the outside with every 8 beats, and then tonally ascending (while numerically descending) the cycle of 5ths, ending up with 5 notes per beat.

It gets a bit squeaky in the harmonics, but I think the experiment is sound. How to represent something that is so symmetrical, yet ever changing?

perfect flower

It’s frustratingly imperfect. I haven’t been able to wrangle a workable setup for using pedals here, so all of this work is being done the slow way, and with my very basic editing skills I struggle to get the effect I’m after. In this case, however, I quite like the occasional blip in the rhythm. Nature is never picture perfect. This perfect fractal flower has it’s blemishes, it’s lopsided genes, The best laid plans of gardeners and musicians… …


To be honest, this track was created months ago, but I haven’t liked it enough to share. There’s a lot to say about how I’m evolving as a solo-musician here, but it’s 12:30, the heat has gone from the day, and I should post this and go to bed.

Dudu is snoring peacefully next to me, the swallows have returned to their nest, the oxen are no longer ploughing the fields and no one is singing cheerful Naxi songs in the fields.  Also: the power will go out any minute, so post away, my imperfect friend.



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