No-Brain Improvisation – A Tribute to Dogura Magura

“Brain is not the place where thinking comes out.” In the Japanese novel Dogura Magura, the doctor proclaimed. “Brain is a protein solid without nerve or sense.” “Our spirit or living consciousness rest on each corner of our body.” “We can always feel that all our desires, emotions, wills, memories, judgments, faith, etc, equally scattered on each of our 30 million cells.”

No-brain Improvisation is an attempt to practice and prove what was told in Dogura Magura.

Rules: DO NOT use the brain during creation and performance – try to abandon all the concepts, aesthetics, logic, thinkings, judgments and decisions that made by the brain. Let body and instinct do the job. It’s like in a daze or about to falling asleep.


The first series performance of this project were put at the last of each Zooming Night of September, 2014,  when everybody was exhausted and absent-minded, both the performers and the audience. Invited musicians were Li Qing, Liu Xinyu and Adam MacGregor.

Live recordings:

solo on Sept 2nd, 2014, @XP Club

w/ Liu Xinyu


Further more, Adam Greg, applied the instruction of “no-brain improvisation” on the Crucible Sound concert he organized in Pittsburgh, U.S. Here is the feed back and the live recording:

The group interpreted your guidelines in a way I did not expect, and it resulted in an unexpectedly crushing soundscape.  Many of us did “let instinct take over”, and parts of it became quite wild and animalistic.  Toward the end it subsided to a more somber, listless environment.


Also, this project is a long-lasting one. It will be my great honor and pleasure if anyone would like to make some free improvisations in this way. Please write back about your feelings and send me your recordings. Here are some questions I’d like to know from your practice. Write to me!

  1. Do you think it is possible “not to use your brain” at all?
  2. Did you do any preparation for this no-brain improvisation? Did the preparation influence or conflict with this time’s requirement of “not to use your brain”?
  3. Please introduce the instrument you used. Why do you choose it? How are you familiar with it? Does it need any special skills?
  4. In “no-brain” improvisation, there are always some “accidental” and “unexpected” or “unwanted” sounds. How do you think of these sounds? How do you deal with them?
  5. Did you have any audience? Did they influence your performance?
  6. Describe you favorite part of this experience.