It’s a cold night in early December, and Shanghai’s Elevator nightclub has a line going out the door. The weather does little to deter listeners who are passionate about good music. Inside the club, the dim lights blend with the heavy bass and humidity, but as a video of a bonfire is projected on the wall and the first few notes of a nimble melody play from the speakers, the air begins crackling with excitement. Standing behind the decks is Yu Su, a Canada-based Chinese DJ and producer who’s putting her prowess as a live performer on full display. She showed no reluctance in taking the dance floor into unfamiliar sonic territories, dishing out an effervescent mix that feels more suitable for a warm spring day than the basement venue she’s playing out of. The set had surprises around every corner and covered a gamut of genres, weaving between tribal house, disco, breakbeats, and more. When she unexpectedly put on “Sweet Magic,” a classic Italo disco track by Tyrants in Therapy, the crowd erupted in cheers as vocalist AbbeAbbe’s saccharine lyrics filled the room. This is the type of musical versatility and acumen that fans have come to expect from the young DJ.
十二月初的上海，电梯俱乐部（Elevator）门口簇拥了前来蹦迪的年轻人们。虽然已进入冬季，但大家对新声音的热情却丝毫不减。昏暗灯光、重低音、潮湿搅拌在整个俱乐部不大的空间里，却因为 DJ 台旁的篝火投影与阵阵灵动的旋律而变得妙升逸趣。DJ 台上，来自加拿大的中国女孩苏玉（Yu Su）正不停地操作着手中的设备，细腻与娴熟之间，让音乐载观众的舞步通往异域，洋溢而出的欢快与自在让人仿佛提前来到明媚的春日里。
当晚，苏玉的 DJ Set 包涵了浩室（House）、碎拍（Breaks）、迪斯科（Disco）、部落（Tribal）等多种不同风格的音乐，通过巧思编排在一起。这种大量风格同时出现在一支 Set 里的形式，是时下新生代 DJ 偏爱的演出方式，能够在歌曲的切换之间为台下的舞客们带来意想不到的惊喜。当 Tyrants In Therapy 的经典意大利迪斯科（Italo Disco）曲目《Sweet Magic》响起，俱乐部里层层涌起的情绪再次升起，让现场弥漫在一片爱的氛围中。
Listen to Yu Su’s Roll With The Punches EP below:
点击即可试听 Yu Su 的《泉出通川为谷》:
2019 was a big year for Yu Su. She released Roll with the Punches and Watermelon Woman, two EPs that introduced fresh sounds into the global dance music scene. The former features ornate melodies that sound like they belong in ancient times, while the latter is a trippy kaleidoscope of acoustic twangs and alien synths. These unique amalgamations of sounds have garnered her international accolades from music lovers and critics alike, including high praise from Resident Advisor, which listed Yu Su’s “Little Birds, Moonbath” as one of the best tracks of 2019. She’s also become a regular in the nightclub and music festival circuit of North America and Europe, and she shows no plans of slowing down. One of her most anticipated shows of 2020 will be at Amsterdam’s Dekmantel Festival alongside fan-favorite Asian artists Object Blue and Tzusing.
2019 年对于苏玉来说可谓热气蒸腾，她相继发行的单曲《泉出通川为谷 / Roll With The Punches》和《Watermelon Woman》分别以古韵和迷幻的气质灌入国际电子音乐的浪潮，引起不小的关注。著名电子音乐网站 Resident Advisor 将她的《Little Birds, Moonbath》列入 2019 年度最佳曲目之列，并形容她的音乐 “还原了理想大自然的美景”。同时，你会在欧美各大音乐节和地下俱乐部的公告栏里看到她的名字。而今年夏天举办的阿姆斯特丹 Dekmantel 音乐节上，她还与 Tzusing、Object Blue 代表华人团出现在整个赤手可热的大名单中。
In both her live DJ sets and the music she produces, listeners can hear a uniquely Asian femininity. Her music is a vessel of emotional expression and cultural heritage, and it has no intention of catering to mainstream music trends. While she draws from Western influences, she also taps into the free spirit and expansiveness of traditional Chinese art. Listening to Yu Su’s music with eyes closed, the melodies seem to take on a life of their own, unraveling into vivid vistas and landscapes.
而无论在苏玉的现场 DJ 还是在她的音乐制作中，你都能听得到独有的亚洲女性气质。她把自己的感性一面与对自身文化的传承融入在音乐中，并不想一味地迎合世界电子音乐的趋势，你也无法用笼统的风格方式来概述她的音乐。其中有对西方音乐的推敲，也有中国古人轻佻与曼衍的意境。闭上眼睛，声音仿佛学会了某种魔法，在脑海中勾绘出画卷。
Listen to Yu Su’s Watermelon Woman EP below:
点击即可试听 Yu Su 的《Watermelon Woman》:
Yu Su is from Kaifeng, in Henan province, on China’s central plain. As the capital of the Song Dynasty, the city has a rich culture and history, and it’s the subject of one of China’s most famous paintings, Zhang Zeduan’s Along the River During the Qingming Festival, which depicts the city’s unrivaled splendor during the twelfth century. It’s a city that people don’t exactly associate with electronic music, and in fact, Su, like many Chinese children, got her first introduction to music through the piano. Her mother often put on pieces by pianists Debussy or Liszt at home, which planted a seed. “My mother’s music teachings are my biggest inspiration,” Yu Su says.
When she was 19, she moved to Vancouver, Canada. She didn’t know much about electronic music at the time, but when a friend invited her to go to a party DJed by Floating Points, she was riveted. It was love at first sight (or in this instance, listen). Even back then, she didn’t particularly care for labeling music—she believes everyone experiences music differently. “Music, for me, can be divided intuitively,” Yu Su says. And her productions sound so organic and unforced precisely because of this. “When the feeling comes, music speaks by itself. It will tell you how to draw out the sound.”
In college she majored in anthropology, focusing on Asian religions. Her interest in Daoism, in particular, has shaped her understanding of music. “Things aren’t perfect in themselves,” she believes. “You don’t have to make them perfect because all things have their own path to fruition. This is also how I approach music: everything is natural.”
在十九岁的时候，苏玉搬去了加拿大温哥华上学，那时的她对电子音乐还不甚了解。一次偶然的机会，苏玉在朋友的邀请下参加了 Floating Points 的迪斯科派对，那是她第一次被电子音乐深深迷住，随后便一发不可收拾。很快，苏玉找到了自己在音乐方面的心头好，但她并不喜欢用风格的限定来描述音乐，她认为每个人对音乐的感受是不一样的。“音乐对于我来说，是靠感觉来进行区分。” 她也更喜欢把自己的感觉融入进制作，让音乐听起来顺其自然，随心所欲。“当感觉来的时候，音乐会自己说话。它会告诉你声音该如何延续。”
Besides being a DJ and producer, Yu Su is also an avowed epicure. She loves the process of selecting ingredients and preparing them, and she even has a dedicated Instagram account to document the delicacies she samples on her trips, as well as the gourmet delights she cooks up herself. Whenever she’s on the road, she visits local friends and cooks for them—at one such dinner, she wrapped over 400 dumplings. Food, like music, is a universal language. In fact, she got to know Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, and other top figures in the underground electronic music scene over a shared love of food.
Cooking and spinning records have a lot in common. When preparing a dish, there’s a certain science and art to balancing the ingredients, the seasonings, the heat, and the cooking time—just as a good DJ set requires the right variety of “dishes” prepared with the right techniques and served in the right order so that people can savor it. In her view, you can’t make good food from a recipe, just as you can’t make good music by following a set of rules.
DJ 和音乐制作之余，苏玉还是一名不折不扣的美食家，她非常享受采购与烹饪的过程，甚至专门为食物开通了 Instagram 账号，记录下所到之处的美味佳肴，以及自烹自饪的玉盘珍馐。每当在一个地方进行表演，她都会为当地的朋友和主办方亲自下厨，曾经就有过一次包了四百多个饺子的经历。而美食和音乐一样，都是全世界人共通的语言。她与 Ben UFO 、Pearson Sound 等一些世界顶级的地下电子音乐人的缘分，都是从美食开始。
其实做饭和 DJ 似乎有着奇妙的相似之处，一道好菜在食材、调味品、火候、时间上都有一定的考究，而一场好的 DJ Set 需要在“下菜” 顺序和 “菜品” 类别上下足功夫，加上好的 “烹饪” 技巧，拼凑成一盘好 “菜”，令人回味无穷。苏玉并不认为跟着食谱就会做出一道好菜，就像她不认为一切音乐有被定好的规矩，二者是一样的道理。
In December 2019, Yu Su set out on a tour across the length and breadth of China, and the recent Shanghai performance was the second stop. “The reason I first decided to make electronic music was because other people inspired me,” she recalls. “Being a woman, I want to use this tour as a way to get more young girls involved in the music scene. I’ve also noticed that more and more young people in China now are interested in getting involved, and that’s really inspiring. As a musician, you should always be curious and grateful to everyone around you. These things are really important.”
2019 年十二月，苏玉带着她的音乐漫步在中国南北，这场在上海的演出则是苏玉 2019 年中国巡演的第二站。“最开始决定做电子音乐是受到别人的启发。所以，我想用这巡演这样一种方式，以女性的角色去感染更多的年轻人参与到这个音乐场景中。现在，我发现国内有越来越多年轻人愿意去参与，真的令人非常开心。” 当苏玉谈论到国内电子音乐时，显得非常激动，同时她还认为，“身为音乐人，应该时刻保持好奇心，并且对身边的所有人心存感激，这些都是非常重要的。”