AIR – RUN
I lived in Nanjing for a brief period in 2005. Despite speaking fluent Mandarin, and having a good understanding of Chinese culture, I always felt like I had landed on a different planet. Maybe it was because I had lived in Taiwan for so long and had an irrational fear that every government official in China sought to persecute me for it. Maybe because having only lived in democratic countries, the mainlanders who had been indoctrinated and subjugated felt alien to me. Or, maybe it was just because I would walk around alone at night listening to Air’s new album Talkie Walkie, with the creepy little song Run left on eternal replay. I found Air’s new album in a cramped CD/VCD shop near the Nanjing University campus. I bought it after a good friend (Chris A.K.A. Big Bear) raved about their debut album Moon Safari. I instantly related to Talkie Walkie’s other-wordliness and sense of discovery, which made it clear why it was used in the film Lost in Translation. There was a dark and insular, but also lush and bright quality to it. Run had a particularly peculiar quality. It made me feel like I was moving in slow motion when I listened to it, like I was going at the pace of the vocals, or the chorus synth. However, the world around me was moving in fast forward, at the pace of the nervous 808s. With the hyper-development that China was going through, and the contemplative state I found myself in, the relative speeds were probably not that far off. With this unforgettable song worming its way through my mind, I watched the cranes build and the human masses hustle in the dark-but-bright streets of Nanjing at night.