It started in the fall of 2019 in the Marin Headlands, a hilly peninsula located just north of San Francisco, when the two of us were fortunate to be Artists in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. For 42 days, we would wake up to the distinct rustling sound and cold scent of the eucalyptus forest gently softening the mornings of this former military base. We were ambitious, suddenly free from the distractions of wifi, cell reception and daily obligations, and setting out to create a single piece of music every day. But as with the nature of the creative journey itself, some days were less inspired than others, so we have named each composition after the day on which its idea arose.
Continuing our sound making practice in the Headlands, we recorded our daily soundwalks, encountering unexpected sounds everywhere: resonant ring handles on rusted iron gates at the abandoned military barracks, whispering water radiators in our bedrooms, choirs of insects near Rodeo Beach at nightfall, and the “musical” pipes outside the Writer’s House after a full night of rain. We combined these field recordings with our primary instruments – voice and pipa (a Chinese string instrument), and recorded our improvisations and compositions in our temporary studio, a 2000… more
All music composed, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Sophia Shen and Lemon Guo
Cover photo by Daniel Southard
Cover Chinese calligraphy by Longshi Shen
Notebook design by Mengtai Zhang
Special thanks to Headlands Center for the Arts, Emily Bell, Elyse Blennerhassett, Meili Chen, Kevin Corcoran, Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir, Daniel Gouly, Larkin Grimm, Jian Guo, Alex Levine, Jing Li, Poppy Litchfield, Tianyi Lu, Anna Lublina, Luisa Muhr, Huang Qi, Jie Ren, Chatori Shimizu, Vlada Tomova, Gabby Wen, Huiling Xiao, Xenia Xie, Minmin Yang, Yang Yang, Marilyn Yuan
If you’re interested in learning more about the behind-the-scenes stories of 42 Days, you could read the Notebook here.