Sui Zhen - Losing, Linda

Sui Zhen - Losing, Linda

Sui Zhen.jpg

Sui Zhen’s new record, Losing Linda, is an exploration of what it is to lead a complicated life, in a complicated world. The loss of her Mother, the weight of the #metoo revelations, and acknowledging her own queerness compounded in an experience which was both sad and empowering, Sui Zhen explains,

I recognised the ways in which I had repressed myself and was able to step away from toxic relationships and step closer to projects and people that had my best interests at heart. Perhaps one of the final pieces of this was reconciling with how I identified within myself. Looking back now, I realise I was only fully able to acknowledge my queerness since Mum’s passing. I think there’s a lot of identity baggage that gets tied up in lineage. I’m still unpacking my thoughts around this. The sense of duty, obligation and function that comes with living in a female body is both heavy and powerful. It takes so much strength to live a life as a woman.

Before the release of ‘Losing Linda’ tomorrow, the 27th of September, Sui Zhen has compiled us a collection of songs which helped her navigate this period of her life.

Wisteria by Death and the Maiden

 This is one of my favourite songs of the year, even though it came out last year. There is something about the energy and sentiment that takes hold of me. Knowing the band comes from Dunedin of all places, singing a song about being looked at, friendliness being misinterpreted as something more and feeling uncomfortable about it. Just let them be there, at the end of the world. I have extra insight because I had coffee with Lucinda who wrote the song and asked her about it. I was so desperate to hear what happened next. I love songs that make you feel like that.


Final Initiation by Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch

I am a fan of Jim Jarmusch. Not all his films, but many of them - they reach me. Some people, they think the films are too testing, or exclusive somehow an opaque – but the way I interpret his films is much like his music. Long expansive, exploratory pieces that sound as if they were crafted for another story to accompany someone walking down a long road toward someone or something. The various projects Jim Jarmusch produces music (SQÜRL) under all carry a similar stream of consciousness feeling that I find in the films.


Everyday I Don’t by Anna Domino

This is another song that takes a hold of me each time that guitar melody starts. It’s melancholy but there is some kind of comforting acceptance in there too. This album is the best Anna Domino record to get if you haven’t got any of her stuff.


Heart of Glass (Blondie cover) by Dip In The Pool

Just had to include another old favourite the Japanese band Dip In The Pool but this time here with a cover of - Blondie?! Yeah, but it’s so sincere and paired back. Maybe another nice intro track to people unfamiliar with their music.


Thank you for hearing me by Sinead O’Connor

I am a bit obsessed with this era of Sinead and her performance on this song in particular. It is so painstakingly heartfelt and earnest. A raw message and totally demonstrates the power music can have on the individual performing it as well as the listener. It makes me sad as well knowing what a hard time Sinead seems to have had in her later life and looking at how pure and powerful she is here, with all that attention. Love be with you Sinead.


Cracking by Suzanne Vega

 I wasn’t sure which Suzanne Vega song to pick, she was a big influence on me when I was first learning guitar - together. But I like the spoken word in this song and I wonder if I was soaking all this in way back when in my mid-teens. Since now I am quite comfortable to use spoken word in my music. This song also reminds me of that show Felicity, or My So Called Life. Super nostalgic listen for me.


Coyote by Joni Mitchell

One of the first song I learnt on guitar back when I dreamed of having a 12 string. Love Joni and this period. Such a captivating storyteller.


Mr Calico by Scribble

I was stoked to find this synth pop band from Australia in the 80s, though I discovered them only in the last decade it’s nice to find this connection point. This whole album is really good I think their song ‘River’ is much more known.


A Different Light by Marine Girls

 Early Tracey Thorn, hard not to be endeared into this era of her music making.



Walking and Falling by Laurie Anderson

Always ground myself with some Laurie Anderson. I admire and look up to her and her body of work so much. I find it really calming to see someone’s consistency and persistence manifest in so much quality work across fine art, video, music and writings. Thank you Laurie.

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Hval

Absolutely in awe of this artist. Big inspiration for me! I hope to do some shows with her someday ;)



Words I Heard by Julia Holter

Beautiful artist and a modern day Laurie of sorts. She is so prolific for the kind of albums she produces. In awe of her work


 Tar by Lucrecia Dalt

I met Lucrecia in 2010 when we were both participants for the Red Bull Music Academy, which was in London. She, alongside May Roosevelt (a Greek Theremin player) impressed me with their ownership over their own practice and productions. I didn’t have many female engineer role models at the time. Lu had her own way of working and she was conceptual about her work. I love this track and her Anticlines album and seeing how she’s continued to develop her work over the last decade. Knowing that she was a civil engineer originally also makes me smile. It’s nice to know the stories behind music.


False Ceiling by Laila Sakini and Lucy Van

 I include this song wherever I can. I love the “speech melody” genre this is tagged as. Lucy’s poetry is familiar and mesmerising. And Laila is so restrained in her arrangements. I hope they make more music together and that more people get to listen to their work. Laila is also an awesome DJ, keep an eye out I think she’ll put out more music soon.

 Losing Linda drops tomorrow, the 27th of September, via Dot Dash / Remote Control.


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