The New Year – full of familiar sounds and yet, at the same time not. Artists striving for more finding new avenues to entice their audiences, including a rapper who’s leap into pop territory has been turning my home into a 24 hour hip hop party. Also, one of Beijing’s more prolific artists takes a stab at the label business. Here’s the latest from Noise Arcade, Mr. Trouble, as well as the debut of Bob Dupont and Seippelabel.
The first great hip hop album of the New Year. A bright shining star of an album, an elastic joy that’s proof that hip hop is alive and well in China. The Shanghai rapper and producer Mr. Trouble, who has a reputation of keeping a low profile (as much as any hip hop artist can) has been at it for years, unbeknownst to me – but after his latest entitled Nice, I’ll be inclined to deep ever digging in the artist’s catalogue. The twenty-one track album which also includes numerous instrumentals (points!) is staggering for it’s pulsating bravura. Trouble utilizes a large canvas of hip-hop and electronic music history to generate assured single after assured single. From the transfixing buzz and build of ‘Roses (Raw)’, to the Lupe Fiasco inspired playfulness of ‘Your Life Too Long’, there’s a raw confidence to Trouble’s contemporary hip hop philosophy. If it wasn’t for the language barrier, some of these tracks would easily become club hits both here and aboard. Hip-hop’s embrace of the mainstream has never been so satisfying. Listen to it Trouble’s douban and xiami pages.
Who’s this Bob Dupont fella? The artist popped up a few weeks ago with a collection of political-tinged French language jazz-flavored electronica tracks entitled Camembert Politique. Full of old school jazz riffs and samples of some of the country’s most infamous talking heads, it sure was a head scratching. Then there’s Bob Dupont’s latest, The Man With No Face, a much more optimistic affair, where the 80s electronic aesthetics are front and center along with the artist’s voice, which bears a very striking resemblance to David Byrne, if David Byrne spent his life sipping on red wine and nibbling on Brie de Meaux. Will we over know who Bob Dupont is? I have a sneaking suspicion that he’ll be hanging around DDC this Saturday for the Beijing Underground Showcase. Grab Bob Dupont’s albums over here.
Brad Seippel aka thruoutin is stretching his musical arms even further – he’s begun his own digital label appropriately called Seippelabel. Here’s the MO: “I\’ve set up a digital label to promote artists I\’ve met over the last couple of years and now know on a personal basis. There\’s no specific genre or theme to it aside from containing original content. All of which is 100% unique to the label. Today I launch the first in series of compilations. Seippelabel Vol. 1 includes music from Tripazia, Lobekraft, jfi, SNSOS and VAVABOND.” You’ve got some experimental noise worms, minimalist electronica, good ol’ fashion post rock, and some accordion-laced folk rock. A diverse bunch for sure, but the quality on display here is irrefutable. Particularly digging Tripazia’s cut – a band that I didn’t even know existed anymore. Looking forward to what the label cooks up next. Grab it for freebies over here.
It wouldn’t be a new year without a new release from the ever prolific Noise Arcade, lord of the pedals, whose over the past year has taken his drone-matic, synth-happy, labyrinth-like electronic project to new heights – besides going on international tours in South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia, he’s had his music released on various labels, and is receiving good word of word both here and aboard. The beauty of persistence my friends. The latest, in the waiting room, continues the artist’s exploration of looped soundwaves that splinter, converge, overlap, and build in a symphony of electronica. It meanders, it throbs, it cascades, it preoccupies, and like most experimental music of the like, it’s never really gets to where you quite want it to go. But in Noise Arcade’s world, it’s the journey that matters. Grab it over here.