Guiguisuisui continues blurring the line between theater and music, between art and sound on their latest dizzying head-trip – Charon – an electronically lush art-rock opus that takes the duo’s occult new age mythology and twists it in on itself – deliciously stringing together ‘minimal wave synths, trip-hop beats, and shoegaze guitars with samples of traditional Chinese instruments and operatic singing’ into a Pandora box that follows themes of lost souls and reincarnation, turning the ghostly duo into envoys for the restless – 23rd century angels of death who would have traveled back in time in their chrome black Delorean to rewrite history – or at least front row seats to our demise.
Underground Shanghai hip-hop rapper Cee joins fellow rising star YEHAIYAHAN (the artist formerly known as ChaCha) for the timely concept album based around the traditional Chinese elements – earth, wood, water, fire, and metal – blazing together a sly and ear-worm pleasing hip-hop album that feels fresh and invigorating – giving the two dynamic voices a chance to strut their stuff over five tracks of wildly diverse stylings and tones. From hard-hitting 80s bangers to champagne-fizzed jazzy dance numbers, from club bumping choruses to more soulful slow jams, the two complement each other quite well – a powerhouse hip-hop duo that’s on equal footing and one we’ll surely be talking about throughout the year.
Take the soundtrack to Tom and Jerry, douse it in bath salts and you only have the slightest sense of the glorious mayhem found within Red Scarf’s frantic and beautifully assembled 2018 release They Know We Know They Are Lying. A deep dive into the mouth of madness that pits renegade sax, high-pitched souna against a fierce battle between guitar and drums, eventually transforming into a symphony of metal-tinged breakdowns and free jazz roar before it once again jack knifes elsewhere, the Beijing avant-garde outfit, made of a trio of madmen who deconstruct, reassemble, and then decimate genre after genre, are clearly having a blast with their take on rock, free jazz, and noise. And believe me, we are too.