TheUse release new 7″ featuring Rachel Mason, commemorating the poetry of Chinese factory worker Xu Lizhi (listen)
TheUse, the electronic solo project of NYC producer/composer Michael Durek, is releasing a new single "On My Deathbed" which features lead vocals by musician, filmmaker and artist Rachel Mason. Glitchy and soaring, it's a haunting track (shades of The Knife) that becomes even more so when you learn its backstory. The lyrics are an English translation of poetry by Xu Lizhi, the FoxConn worker in China who jumped to his death, leaving behind a secret body of work that movingly brought attention to the plight and struggles of Chinese migrant workers. Lizhi became the subject of a Time feature "The Poet Who Died for Your Phone."
"Xu Lizhi's poetry just really sung themselves to me, and miraculously matched the songs that Michael was crafting, " said Mason. "Some poems just seem to have a melody built into them and you can hear it." Durek adds, "I just wanted to cry right there in the studio when she tracked it. The poem by itself is really sad, but through this music, it becomes powerful and transcendent." The song premieres in this post and you can watch the video, shot and directed by Mason, as well.
"On My Deathbed" will be out November 4 via Aagoo and proceeds of the song will go to benefit an organization dedicated to improving factory conditions.
"On My Deathbed"
I want to take another look at the ocean,
behold the vastness of tears from half a lifetime
I want to climb another mountain,
try to call back the soul that I’ve lost
I want to touch the sky, feel that blueness so light
But I can’t do any of this, so I’m leaving this world
Everyone who’s heard of me
Shouldn’t be surprised at my leaving
Even less should you sigh or grieve
I was fine when I came, and fine when I left.