Harsh noise legends, electronica up and comers, and alternative rock veterans getting their mojo back. From Shanghai to Beijing; via Germany and the US. From elaborate layered tracks to sparse lullabies. And of course, ‘the sound of a tool chest falling down the stairs’. Let’s get right into it already, with the newest releases from iimmune, 16 mins, Damacha, Torturing Nurse, and Apparatus 1.
D Force Records are upping their game with their latest batch of releases, the most prominent of which is the first full-length debut from electronica artist iimmune. While the side project of post rock band Glow Curve’s guitarist has been creating waves on the underground electronic scene for some time, it in no ways compares to what the artist has pulled off with Ocean, a creamy, warm slice of electronica that uses the musicians eclectic skills to create a intricate, rousing world of sound that finds comfort in both the post rock crescendos and the ambient soundscapes. A futuristic musical odyssey that leaves nothing on the table and isn’t afraid to lay on the gloss and let in the sun. And my electronica album of the year thus far. Spin it here and here (spotify here) and catch iimmune in action this Saturday, July 4th at Dada.
After spending the past year and change refitting their band, alternative rock trio 16 mins hit up Germany to record and produce their debut album. Erlkönig which takes its name from the famous Goethe poem that depicts the death of a child at the hands of a elf king. Shrouded in sultry vocals and smoky acoustics, It\’s a slow burn of an album. A throwback to traditional songwriting, a loving nod to lounge singers at their most baroque, with a bit of European folklore thrown in for good measure. Lead singer Sindy continues to have one of Beijing\’s most captivating voices, delicately beautiful and effortlessly robust. And have to give props to the production values on the album as a whole – an attention to detail that values each piano chord, strummed guitar, and top hat. And most importantly, an assured amount of restraint, giving a lived-in feel to each track. Tear into it here and pick it up at 16 mins\’ release show this Friday, July 3rd at DDC.
For some reason I’d imagine having rampart schizophrenia sounding a bit like this latest split of harsh noise from leading Shanghai nipple twisters Torturing Nurse and Apparatus 1. Or to be more precise – what my air conditioner with a sever bout of schizophrenia sounds like. Beautiful beautiful chaos. And while there’s a zenful appeal to Apparatus 1’s drone-filled piece, what I found more disheartening is that there’s something strangely comforting about the analogic, metallic grind and tear of Torturing Nurse. I bet monks totally dig Torturing Nurse. Rip it up over here.
The latest from Shanghai-based American producer Damacha takes the artist’s approach to turning mainstream Chinese music on its head and pushes it even further. The idea of absorbing what’s around you and turning it into music, in an age of where most electronic music is simply regurgitating, well, it’s refreshing. That’s exactly what Damahca does on TuHaoJin (‘the gold of the uncouth and wealthy in China’) – an attack and love letter to Chinese club music. Essentially taking those ‘top 40’ club hits CDRs from the omnipresent bicycle vendors that swarm the Sanlitun area and filtering it through the mad cap lo-fi retro hip hop world of Damacha, the twelve track album off of Shanghai label SVBKVLT is sleek, offbeat, incongruous, bubbly, and above all else, a heck ton of fun. Bask in the uncouthness over here.