Missing Parts

by Angelus Squid Marr



This is the solo piano version of a commissioned soundtrack for contemporary dance piece "Missing Parts", which explores the story of the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), over 100 000 Chinese men recruited by the British and French Armies to work behind the Western Front in WW1.

"Many came from such remote farms that when they reached the tall buildings and busy waterfront of Shanghai, they thought they had arrived in Europe. In fact it was only the start of an appalling journey on which many died – by ship across the Pacific, six days crossing Canada in sealed trains to avoid paying landing taxes, on by ship to Liverpool, by train again to Folkestone, and on to France and Belgium, where they lived in labour camps and worked digging trenches, unloading ships and trains, laying tracks and building roads, and repairing tanks." www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/14/first-world-war-forgotten-chinese-labour-corps-memorial

Of the 43,000 WW1 memorials in Britain, not one commemorates the CLC. Many people have never heard of them. "Missing Parts" is a quarter of "Project New Earth" commissioned by Chinese Art Space (CAS) in which diverse artist projects use music, film, dance, song, drama, animation to educate and inspire about the CLC.

A live video of this piece can be found here:


In researching this, I was inspired by traditional Chinese music, the beautiful lines of Pipa music, the compositions of Chinese composer Doming Lam, and of course, articles and film footage of the CLC. I worked together with Choreographer Lucia Tong, improvised with Cheng Yu, and experimented with a number of different musical ideas and it has undergone several stages of development.

The lush, lyrical opening (D major) paints a scene from a Chinese watercolour, while the nostalgic melody of the main theme conjures up moody Wong Kar Wei films, conveying the CLC's reluctance to leave home for the unknown (D major/B minor). Gradually, we are drawn into dark chaos. The sinister machine-like rumble and spooky dissonance in "Monotony" (Eb min/E min) is repeated three times symbolising the CLC's three year labour camp stay under the Britis leads to a Björk-fuelled revolt with convulsive rhythms (five-beat with a "missing part"!). Out of this emerges a teardrop mist, the delicate and dreamy "Nostalgia" (C major/A minor), in which memories of home are encountered, a restrained yet brooding climax, and then bells revealing the sweet seven-beat tread and a tender finish. You might hear Debussy lurking in the waves, and also one or two hidden ironic music quotes... (Can you spot them?)


Two contemporary dancers, the magical presence of a live Pipa (Chinese Lute) instrumentalist and atmospheric piano backing will bring this intensely poignant story to London at the Southbank Centre on 16th December, 2016.

"Missing Parts" premiered in London at The China Exchange on September 8th 2016, and then appeared as part of "Project New Eath" at the Black-E (Liverpool), The Quarterhouse (Folkestone) and The Theatre Royal (Plymouth) in October.






Composed and Performed by Angelus Squid Marr
Sound Engineer: www.facebook.com/Thesoundmechanic/
Piano Tuned by: Joe Dodd

Choreographer: Lucia Tong
Composer/Performer: Angelus Squid Marr (Live for London shows, Recording Artist for other other locations)
Pipa: Cheng Yu (London)/ Sherry Min (Liverpool, Folkestone, Plymouth)
Motion Graphics: Charlie Taillard
Dancers: Sonja Perreten and King San Lo
Costume Designer: Robin Harvey
Sound Editing and Mastering for Production Track: The Sound Mechanic (used in Liverpool, Folkestone and Plymouth)

Produced by: Chinese Art Space (CAS) www.casuk.org


The copyright of the audio tracks and video belongs to Angelus Squid Marr.


released November 4, 2016



all rights reserved


Angelus Marr/ Squid & The Krakens UK

Multi-genre experimental British Chinese composer/ songwriter projects with diverse influences folk, blues, jazz to Baroque, Classical, contemporary, Frank Zappa and Bjork. Music for film, cartoons, imaginations, for coffee cups, ink scribblers.. Warning, contains non sequiturs and ternary form. ... more

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