Welcome to Downtime, a regular series in which we ask our favourite artists for their cultural recommendations. This month, we caught up with Lucinda Chua.
The word ‘ethereal’ is overused by music writers. However, when considering the works of south London-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lucinda Chua, it remains the most appropriate descriptor. In many ways, Chua’s releases – 2019’s Antidotes 1 EP, this year’s Antidotes 2, plus her new record on cult label 4AD that packages the two together into a larger, cohesive project – offer a portal into her dreamy pop world, built largely by her cello, voice and electronic effects. It’s no wonder she’s linked up with the likes of FKA twigs, performing as part of her Magdalene tour live band. Both find catharsis in dialling up the most intimate and otherworldly aspects of their sound. Here, Chua teases us further into her universe as she offers a trio of decidedly personal cultural picks.
LiturgyBy Flora Yin-Wong
Flora’s debut publication, Liturgy, is the witchy handbook I wish I had as a teenager. Drawing on ancient customs, superstitions and folklore, it’s presented in a beautifully intuitive way. Cut together with the ease of a mixtape, it’s one-part zine, one-part historical artifact told as sacred poetry. There is a melancholic romance about the work – to be a stranger to yourself and an outsider to the culture that sits deep within your DNA, but with an urgent hunger to learn, knowing this wisdom decays with every generation that passes. Liturgy is limited to only 2200 editions, so don’t sleep on it.
Double Happiness Studio@doublehappinessstudio
One of the things that brought me the most joy throughout the lockdowns was having fresh flowers in my home, something small but beautiful to remind me of the outside world. Ann Lai’s selections and compositions are my utopia, they make me feel like I could be an empress from ancient China. I hope we can collaborate someday.
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My dad’s Christmas kedgeree recipe
For as long as I can remember, we’ve always eaten kedgeree for lunch on Christmas Day. I thought all families in England did until I recently learned that it’s not a ‘thing’. My dad is an amazing cook, but always makes dishes from memory so they are different every time, often improvising and innovating based on what we have. His Malaysian chicken curry recipe (with vegetarian substitutions provided) went viral among my friends in the first lockdown. I asked him to write the Christmas kedgeree recipe down for this article, but I think he’s played it a bit safe. I swear I’ve tasted versions that are mixed with finely-diced curried carrots and celery, laced with potent Malaysian white pepper, sweet chili sauce, fish sauce and his homemade cranberry sauce that often features star anise and orange zest. I bet it would also taste great as a vegan version with smoked tofu.
Antidotes is out now on 4AD