Turn Right

Composers don’t escape from the reality, but try to understand, rebel against, and reconstruct it.

A Fully Self-Produced Album

Turn Right Album was fully created by Yudan Zou. First recorded at an Airbnb room in Hacienda Heights, then at another Airbnb apartment at Ktown. The process was fully completed by herself.

After purchasing instruments (Electric Guitar, Korg Minilogie Synthesizers, Korg Drum Machine, Chinese Yueqin, acoustic bass, accordion, amp/effects, MIDI Keyboard of course) for the project, Yudan realized she ran out of money and was impossible to hire any producers. That’s why she decided to completely do it herself. Every song was composed, produced, arranged, mixed, and mastered with every track of instruments played by Yudan.

Presented by Jack Chuter on ATTN Magazine #24 Resonance Extra, my track A Matter of Safety was featured in the 2019 July program

https://extra.resonance.fm/episodes/attn-magazine-number-24-imprint

Turn Right Live

Selected Songs

The Politics of Love

(Fuck America, fuck the West, you took it all til nothing’s left)
So, I guess I’m in love with a capitalist
He opposed to all my belief
When I say Nong Gong Suo (“Peasant Movement Institute”) is the center of the world He said:

“No, it’s Washington Square.”
When I say I will die without the father’s love He said:
“Yes, you actually can.
Just right now you don’t understand.”
I love him I love him I love him to death

Coz through him I can see a different part of me I hate him I hate him I hate him so much
Coz What I believe in is so much better than his. So, I guess I’m in love with a capitalist.

He’s one of those noble men I knew
But in the end, I realized he’s only a poor guy

Who’s tricked by his own illusion.

*Peasant Movement Training Institute or Peasant Training School[1] was a school in Guangzhou (then romanized as “Canton”), China, operated from 1923 to 1926 during the First United Front between the Nationalists and Communists. It was based in a 14th-century Confucian temple. The site now houses a museum to Guangzhou’s revolutionary past.

Fire! Fire! Rubbish Bin! Rubbish Bin!

An improvisation work

Fidel, Oh-Ey

Oh-Ey;
Oh-Ey;
Oh-Yes;
Oh-No;
Ahhhhh, nope.
Ahhhhh, nope.
Oh, Fidel, will they keep your body fresh?
Oh, Fidel, have they ever lost their minds?
Oh, Fidel, how could you be redefined?


他们会不会保存你的肉体(will they reserve your body somewhere?)

他们将如何谈论你的主义 (how will they talk about your theory?)

他们将如何重估你的价值(will they revalue your value?)

他们还有没有新的武器(will they have new weapons to fight?)

* Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (/ˈkæstroʊ/;[1] American Spanish: [fiˈðel aleˈxandɾo ˈkastɾo ˈrus]; 13 August 1926 – 25 November 2016) better known internationally as Fidel Castro, was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and President from 1976 to 2008. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, he also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state; industry and business were nationalized, and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society. 

Papi Syndrome

Tomorrow we’re cheering for that HOLY, DEVINE mother’s day While I’m in bed trying to kiss my tinder date
He’s my best public university straight-A papi
Fulfilling my dream with that gorgeous Latino dick
My…papi syndrome is not yet cured coz we’ve been beating around the bush As a lonely, Asian, foreign chick

What can I do?
Post-Hookup-Stress-Disorder won’t overcome me
Coz what’s the better deal than a big fat latino dick.
Oh right right right I get it it’s hard for you to survive Oh yeah yeah yeah I knew it you won’t text me back
Oh why why why let’s do it make this shit political
Oh nah nah nah just face it sex is not a ritual.
Papi Papi Oh my papi use me with that Latino dick We’re both suppressed in this society
We’ve got to fuck to make a point out of it
Papi papi Oh my papi you’re too big for my Asian pussy They treat us both as sexual symbol
We’ve got to fuck to make a point out of it
Oh right right right I get it it’s hard for you to survive Oh yeah yeah yeah I knew it you won’t text me back
Oh why why why let’s do it make this shit political
Oh nah nah nah just face it sex is not a ritual

A Matter of Safety

They’re my friend – that’s what my teacher taught 

Honestly speaking, they’re my brothers 

My brothers don’t resemble me a bit 

My friends don’t eat the same thing 

Silently 

Mysteriously  

The earth is out of my vision  

The sky is out of my reach 

While the thunderstorm 

Crashed all over me 

I dare not to speak 

Nor be entitled to any opinions 

The scar in my hand 

Is a drop of blood from my ancestors. 

He’s Got Belief and That’s Why He’s Very Happy

Caucasian Fever

Black Dick, white dick, yellow dick, brown dick Daddy taught me to fuck yellow dicks only
But Caucasian dicks,
YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH

I tried it, I tried it.
European guys,
They love me love me love
I love Asian guys
But they hate me hate me.
I wanna try US guys
But they ignore me, ignore me. I’m human too,
I have sex drives too.
I have emotional needs too. Body and Soul,
I never get it.
So show me that Caucasian dick So show me that Caucasian dick So show me that Caucasian dick

Patriarchal Blessing

I know I do look alright
People say I dress just fine
Never put my right to the side
While I’m an ego booster for every guy
Might be my daddy didn’t treat me right
Might be my daddy never love me right
Those slogans won’t change a thing
When you’re born an ego booster for every guy. Trading my own happiness for yours
Trading my own happiness for yours
Trading my own happiness for yours.
Trading my own happiness for yours.
I know I do look alright
People say I dress just fine
Never put my pride to the side
While I’m an ego booster for every guy.
Might be my daddy didn’t treat me right
Might be my daddy never loved me right
Those slogans won’t change a thing
When you’re born an ego booster for every guy Male gaze, male gaze, male gaze is fun
Male gaze is fun male gaze is fun
Daddy I know it’s hard for you.
You suffered more than what I had to.
It destroyed your self-esteem
the biggest slave is what they’re shaping you But dad, I only want your understanding
Thank God we have the one child planning Without your love I’ll be dying
That’s all the points for me to “make it”
Gonna work hard til the day I die
Though I’m institutionally recognized
Male gaze, male gaze, male gaze
Male gaze is fun male gaze is fun

Turn Right

Same old evening, seven o’clock
Same old dinner, wooden table
Same old mommy, she got a promotion. 30 years, life’s better than before. We’ve been waiting for so long, we’ve been waiting for so long!
Waited a while, we had a drink, still there’s nothing on TV,
Dad said “It’s always nothing here on TV, nothing will show on TV.”
Same old schedule, 7 o’clock
Same old system, dying guilt
Same old husband, he’s never smarter. 30 years, life’s happy as it was We’ve been living for so long, we’ve been living for so long
One more breath, one more second. The old theory made me live.
My friend, take a look and turn right, and….
I am blind but still turn right, and…
Too ignorant to tell wrong from right….
Tell me the way in my losing sight
Turn right, my people, you need to shout.
ONE OPINION IS NOT ENOUGH
Truth is concrete, the lie is fresh
I’ve got a family of 9 to be fed
Yes, I’ve got a family to be fed

You’ll be safe if you are right You’ll be home if you are right You’ll be a hero if you are right You’ll be awarded if you are right All you need is turning right

Sunset Whitney

I’m waving my one-dollar bill
Feeling like a white straight male
To qualify in this club
De Javu with this girl I love
Very first time in my life
I’m getting this bourgeoisie vibe
So dominant in every move
But Whitney you just saw me through
I know, there’s no proper dicks between my leg That’s right, sexual frustration can never hide
How come, I never move on since he left
Thank God, this club can’t say no to those who pay Her Chocolate silky skin is a bonus
Such a meditation when she flirts
her Ass to my face and she kissed me on the lips That divine Beverly Hills Plastic
No different than my peers in the room
We’re all public certified loser
I’m an introvert who’s never loved
So, you guys is the only demographic I can relate to

I know, deep down inside I’m still quite straight
That’s right, I can’t save myself pretending to be a guy
How come, there’s no solutions for women like me
Thank God, I still have Whitney to flirt with me for the sake of this tip Oh oh oh, oh oh oh, sunset whitney……
You’re the finest bitch in this room, you make my heart sing….
Oh oh oh, oh oh oh, sunset whitney……
I will certainly marry you, if I got a dick

Documenting Turn Right:

See the documentary Yudan Zou the Rock n’ Roll Girl

The Turn Right Experience

Background

The project started from 2016.
It all began during Yudan’s summer session study at UCLA, during which she took courses from Department of Philosophy (Courses: ‘Phenomenology’, ‘Invention of Democracy’).

The summer 2016 had already been different: a sign of Donald Trump’s stirring rise-up in the public news sphere sprouted. Inspired by two of her musical heroes – Lou Reed and Cui Jian – rock n’ roll legends outspoken about current affairs and daring enough to merge their criticism into lyrics, Yudan decided to express her worries that the world will be turning conservative, or to an undirected, uncertain and unspeakable phase, through alternative music songwriting.

Overview

In Turn Right, these topics were explored. Explicit lyrics were written to express a sense of irony, complexity of stands:

  • Racism and Sexualization
    Sunset Whitney, Papi Syndrome, Caucasian Fever
  • Reflection on the ironic Post-Communist Cultural Nostalgia The Politics of Love, Fidel, Oh-Ey, Patriarchal Blessing
  • Global Politics after 2016, Trumpism and Changes
    Turn Right, A Matter of Safety, He’s Got Belief and that’s why he is very Happy *Fire! Fire! Rubbish Bin! Rubbish Bin! is an interlude.

Composition techniques include:

  • Improvisation
    Fire! Fire! Rubbish Bin! Rubbish Bin! Caucasian Fever
  • Tonal Piano
    Turn Right, He’s Got Belief and that’s why he is very Happy
  • Electronic Sound Arts: Noise, Synthesized Sounds
    Fidel, Oh-Ey, Caucasian Fever, Papi Symdrome; A Matter of Safety; Sunset Whitney; The Politics of Love;
  • Ethnomusicological Reference Fidel, Oh-Ey; The Politics of Love;
  • Musique Concrete & Sampling Everysong

Background

The project started from 2016.
It all began during Yudan’s summer session study at UCLA, during which she took courses from Department of Philosophy (Courses: ‘Phenomenology’, ‘Invention of Democracy’).

The summer 2016 had already been different: a sign of Donald Trump’s stirring rise-up in the public news sphere sprouted. Inspired by two of her musical heroes – Lou Reed and Cui Jian – rock n’ roll legends outspoken about current affairs and daring enough to merge their criticism into lyrics, Yudan decided to express her worries that the world will be turning conservative, or to an undirected, uncertain and unspeakable phase, through alternative music songwriting.

Overview

In Turn Right, these topics were explored. Explicit lyrics were written to express a sense of irony, complexity of stands:

  • Racism and Sexualization
    Sunset Whitney, Papi Syndrome, Caucasian Fever
  • Reflection on the ironic Post-Communist Cultural Nostalgia The Politics of Love, Fidel, Oh-Ey, Patriarchal Blessing
  • Global Politics after 2016, Trumpism and Changes
    Turn Right, A Matter of Safety, He’s Got Belief and that’s why he is very Happy *Fire! Fire! Rubbish Bin! Rubbish Bin! is an interlude.

Composition techniques include:

  • Improvisation
    Fire! Fire! Rubbish Bin! Rubbish Bin! Caucasian Fever
  • Tonal Piano
    Turn Right, He’s Got Belief and that’s why he is very Happy
  • Electronic Sound Arts: Noise, Synthesized Sounds
    Fidel, Oh-Ey, Caucasian Fever, Papi Symdrome; A Matter of Safety; Sunset Whitney; The Politics of Love;
  • Ethnomusicological Reference Fidel, Oh-Ey; The Politics of Love;
  • Musique Concrete & Sampling Everysong

Timeline

Early Stage of ideation

Alternative music songwriting fascinates Yudan since she was a teenager. Musicians/Bands such as Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, The Velvet Underground, Television envisioned her that the freedom of forms relates to the freedom of thoughts in alternative music, she believes that alternative music is the only type whose form and style within modern popular music genres (here, the definition of popular music refers to the industry and market coverage where alternative music are transactional) that are endowed with the biggest freedom of musical creations, because of its capability of absorbing the essence of techniques from the 20th-century composition, sound arts, and the musicians’ unique individual genius, coming to the public altogether with the joy of 3-5 mins’ popular music structure. The most important thing about alternative music songwriting is that it challenges the norm of the aesthetic norm of society.

Yudan thus started writing alternative music and produced them herself. That was the first time she started to explore songwriting and production, her DAW was Logic Pro, her techniques were nothing more than ‘orchestral tonal’ style, intuitively learned from her piano playing practices, she used the sound packages that came with Logic, when it comes to live performance, all she knew was using a piano. Even though she has studied piano performance since age 4, she was then on a way to getting a Business degree instead of a music degree. With all that obstacles, the thought of producing a formal album had rooted in her mind, compelled by the power that she felt during the composition process which she could not forget. She had determined her mind to study at a music school, a music school also endorsing popular music style, in the master’s period, so she can be ‘bridged’ to music. Applied to Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, and Berklee College of Music, both getting accepted, she chose to study in Los Angeles. But those are the later stages of stories.

2017: Sharpening her Knives

The project took an interesting aesthetic turn in 2017.

Later in 2017, Yudan attended the winter school at HSE Moscow, where she took three courses in Political Science and Russian Language (‘US-Russia Relation’, ‘Russian in Current Age’, ‘Elementary Russian’).
Experiences in Moscow was uniquely unforgettable: discussion with political science professors working at Russian Academy of Social Sciences, visiting old Soviet-era Museums, observing Soviet-style Architectures, going to Ballet-Dance concerts and Music collection stores…etc., those days showed her a world of ‘the forgotten other half of ideology’ – a totally different worldview.

To settle her confusion, Yudan started to read through the books of Karl Marx, works of post- Marxism studies, thoughts on cultural imperialism by Edward Said, Post- Colonial theories …etc. She was inspired to reflect on collectivism, but also on the domination and racism that comes within an Angelo-Saxon mainstream popular culture. She started to work on songs from a perspective that few musicians in alternative music: Dive into the ethnomusicological

element from cultures from post-communist era and create a quirkily critical look-back on the side of the world that had been ignored. Fidel, Oh-Ey; The Politics of Love; A Matter of Safety were three signature songs written in that era. In the songs, she sometimes ‘role-play’ a bureaucratic enthusiast of communism, an angry and confused poli-fan or writing honest lyrics observing the rising nationalism around the world.

Meanwhile, she decided to sample, perform, and create with Chinese folk instruments Yue Qin. To incite the thoughts of the audience, she started to sample political speeches of political leaders boldly. See Yudan Playing Yue Qin here: https://vimeo.com/545362729.

2018: Nurtured from USC Thornton

After 2017, Yudan started to systematically study music production on her own, and this process had finally led her to composition. Her being accepted to USC Thornton School of Music well supported her plan in producing her album. Nurtured by the diverse, popular music-friendly, and musically solid environment at USC Thornton, she dived herself deeply in 20th-century techniques, atonal theories, improvisation, sound art starting from 2019, and it all led to the third stage of Turn Right Project.

2019: A Chinese Girl in US

Being in US as a China born China raise Asian women, she came across all kinds of occasions that worth the second thinking in Los Angeles: Being called racial slurs, being sexually harassed by White Men, feeling culturally invisible and being treated disrespectfully because of the skin color…she decided to write about these new topics that concerns part of her fundamental being: ‘sexuality, race, and gender’.

This time, she also went bolder in composition.

In her first three songs after 2019 (Caucasian Fever, Papi Syndrome, Sunset Whitney), she covered the topics about racism and sexualization in the US towards the minority groups.
Taking an ironically reversed standpoint in Caucasian Fever and Papi Syndrome, she discussed how Asian women and Latino women/men are being overly sexualized and minimized as a sex object in pop culture in the United States. To express her anger, sense of irony, and criticality, she adopted experimental composition techniques such as noise, atonal synthesized sounds, atonal chords clustering, and merges them with music styles such as Rock, Hip-Hop, Jazz into a 4min- format song.