Chengdu, Harbin, Beijing – there’s no province, city, or alleyway that music hasn’t getting it’s grubby hands on. And boy does it sound glorious. So instead of mopping about Beijing’s lack of festivals, dig into these latest releases from Hiperson, Bloody Woods, Cut Frenzy, and Noise Arcade and get down and jiggy with it. Na na na na na na na!
There’s no question about it – Chengdu-based post punk outfit Hipseron, the newest member on the Maybe Mars team, are a force to be reckoned with. There’s a confidence, an assurance in their sound that propels their music forward that’s simply transfixing. Their debut, No Need For Another History, is going to have the indie circles talking for some time. Vocalist Chen Sijiang, whose raw gasping voice is front and center on the eleven tracks paints these dreamlike vignettes flustered with youthful emotion and angst, albeit leaning toward the more existential realm. There’s a poetic spirit lurking in her which is perfectly complemented by the tear and grind of the stripped down guitars alongside the more playful instrumental interplay that’s at once unruly boisterous and structured to a tee. And while the post punk aesthetic can become a bit overbearing at times, the band knows when to keep things upbeat and light, particularly on ‘The Curtain’ and ‘Entrance’ whose hooked-filled guitars add a layer of warmth to the songs. Bandcamp it up and look out for the band to swing through Beijing again in June.
Break out the mead cause neo folk is back! The genre which explores European folk and medieval sounds makes its way into the China music scene in the form of Bloody Woods – the neo-folk project formed by Sichuan-based composer Baishui and guitarist Gudao in 2005. Since then, the band has relocated to Beijing, where it has undergone numerous lineup changes all the while honing their chops and staying true to the genre. The result is Romanzen, their sophomore release, which finds the band fully embodying the spirit, nature and love of neo folk, even down to singing in German. It’s a bit jarring at first, hearing a Chinese artist recite Heinrich Heine poetry, but once he realize what you’re in for, there’s quite a bit to admire about the thirteen track album – most notably singer Anna Liao’s ethereal and melancholy laced voice, and the instrumentation, which features, of course, some truly bad ass traditional European flutes, among many others. Stand out track is ‘It Won’t Stop’ which packs a wallop. Give it spin over here and here.
Punk is alive and well in the cold north – where Harbin four-piece punk band Cut Frenzy resides. And they’re not letting the cold beat them down if their debut Harbin Monoxide is any indication. It’s loud, anxious, snide, and unruly. Oh, and heaps of fun. Love the grain and dirt in the production here. Unlike a lot of punk music that gets too much of a makeover in the production studio, this bleeding heart feels and sounds like it came straight from the basement to our ear plugs. Which, for all I know is precisely how it was done. We’ll have to wait and see come the first week of June when the band makes the trek down to perform at Temple and the Beijing Drunk Fest. Something tells me they’ll be a hoot. Bandcamp it up.
LBM’s resident sound wizard Noise Arcade continues his reign of terror on the electronic and experimental scene. Already since we last checked in with the ambient IDM noise junkie he’s released two new releases, choir in the clouds , having déjà vu as well as a live release recorded last year – Live in Fukuoka. On top of that he’s released a pretty groovy remix for Hong Kong electronic dream pop artist Lantern Festival’s ‘Between The Screens’. Dude gets around. And from the sounds of it, I think we can all expect a crispier, deeper, and dare I say, more club-ready Noise Arcade in the near future. Getting some serious bass with these bad boys. Good to see the artist given an even larger canvas to overwhelm our eardrums with. Bandcamp it all up and if you’re in Beijing this Saturday, May 2nd, check the pedal monger over at FRUITySHOP and 8-bit showcasing his gnarly moves.