Pak Yan Lau, born in Belgium, with roots from Hong Kong and now based in Brussels is a sound artist, improviser, musician and composer, who has developed over the years a rich, dense and captivating sound universe from prepared pianos, toy pianos, synths, electronics and various sound objects. Skilfully blending electro-acoustic approaches, she explores sound in a bewitching way, merging different sound sources with poetry, magic and finesse.
Her solo efforts were documented among others on the excellent recording “BOOKS” (2015), magnificent wooden object-trilogy released on the Silent Water label where it explores in 3 distinct parts the world of synthesizers-samplers-electronics, then the world of harmonics and metallic basses of various “toy pianos”, and finally the interior of a prepared grand piano, transforming its conventional sound into an enveloping tense sound weave.
Her close collaborations go into different directions from grooving (Going) and abstract texturing (lauroshilau, Duo Pour 454 Chordes) till crossmedia projects with photographers (Stills) and shadow theatre (Le Poisson et La Perle/ The Fabulous Choi Sisters). She composed music for dance theatre, short movies, sound walks and documentaries.
As an improviser she has shared music with wonderful musicians such as Chris Corsano, Akira Sakata, Darin Gray, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, Mette Rasmussen, Rie Nakajima, Toshimaru Nakamura, Susana Santos Silva, Manuel Mota, Paolo Angeli, Lynn Cassiers, João Lobo, Giovanni Di Domenico, Norberto Lobo, Mathieu Ha, Mori-Shige, Daysuke Takaoka, Manja Ristic, Lionel Malric, Audrey Chen and many more.
Her recent album ‘Trudge Lightly’ (2020) was released on By The Bluest Of Seas label, where she paired up with bassist Darin Gray. The music develops on wide structural strings, elegantly combining surprise of free improvisation with the material suggestions of electro acoustic experimentation, in a game of references and narrative developments almost cinematic, which tell a fascinating sound world, strangely familiar yet constantly new and surprising.
2021 will see several releases, among which her 6 piece ensemble piece Bakunawa (on Cortizona label). Bakunawa is a continuation of Lau’s solo project Book of Toy. Driven by the curiosity and possibilities to write for an ensemble, this piece explores a combination of unconventional instrumentation (gong rods, toy pianos, metal tubes in combination with harp, bass drum, tom) and delicate use of electronics. Inspired by Asian ritual music, minimal music (Philip Glass and Eliane Radigue), and ambient music, she created her own personal ritualistic sound world.
She has toured different festivals and venues in Europe, UK, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.