1933 Shanghai was formerly the slaughterhouse of the Shanghai Bureau of Industry and Commerce. The layout of the building is unique, with the outside being square while the inside is round. The four exterior walls form the square shape and are connected to a 24-sided central atrium by a series of stairs and bridges. The whole building seems to be in disarray, with hovering corridors constituting an endless maze, yet at the same time there is a clear sense of order. “Beamless flooring” was used in its construction, which was a very advanced technology at that time. Even in the 1930’s, there were only three large-scale slaughterhouses in the world, and 1933 Shanghai is the only one remaining today that is still well-preserved. After being transformed into a space for creative industry, 1933 Shanghai was given new life in this era of artistic awakening.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the building were the patterns. First, the front of the building has 19 rows of 12 circular windows running the entire width of the structure. Originally vents to keep air flowing throughout the slaughterhouse, the arrangement of these 19 by 12 rows provided a starting point for my composition. I also referred to a document that spoke of the Feng Shui of the building. Even the location and building’s direction were considered with Shanghai’s human residents’ spiritual safety in mind.
I wanted to create a composition that was easy to get lost in, where you never quite know where you are, just like 1933, where I got lost many times whilst researching and recording.
Simon’s work combines electronic sources such as the Buchla Electric Music Box (a self-contained electronic instrument) with a mixture of field recording techniques and sound treatments. He uses sound to transport the listener to fantastical audio worlds, where the lines between the sonic, physical, historical and mythical are often blurred, the ultimate aim is deep immersion.
He has always searched for and strived to create new sounds that appear to have come from somewhere outside of this world, I hope that the audience wonders, ‘what is that sound, where did it come from?’ His music under the name The Simonsound, took inspiration from the cold war, space race, science fiction and library music, and the album ‘Reverse Engineering’ was selected by UK DJ Gilles Peterson as one of his BBC Radio 1 records of the year.