Experiments in the EDM, Mongolian folk metal’s the new craze, icy cool electronica that transcend, and small poetic folk miracle – it’s time to dip into the newest releases including the latest from Wang Changcun, Nine Treasures, iimmune, and Wu Tiao Ren.
An ode to the nooks and crannies of southern China, from the sprawling urban villages of Guangzhou to the wandering careers in the Haifeng county, Wu Tiao Ren continues to explore the lives and stories that reside and interweave in the rapidly changing urbanscape on their fifth album Dreamy Lisa Salon. As always with the Guangzhou-based outfit, there’s a low-key poetic charm to the band’s sound – whether they’re reminiscing about the 2008 Asia Games or the hawkers who sell pirated books that have since replaced the gangs of old – there’s an attention to detail and an empathy in their dialect and lyrics that feels genuine. And while musically, the band hasn’t stretched their arms all that far since their last release in 2014, they keep things upbeat, modest, and melodically soothing – which is something that I can’t say for most folk acts out there. Xiami/163
Just scan through any metal site or go down any reddit hole and you’ll soon notice that Mongolian folk metal is all the rage these days. A bit of credit can be attributed to the Inner Mongolian folk metal outfit Nine Treasures who broke out onto the global scene in 2013 when they were invited to perform at the Wacken Music Festival in Europe. Two international tours later the band is bigger than ever and poised to reach even further with the release of their third album Wisdom Eyes. Compared to their previous efforts, the Nine Treasures here are a lot more refined. There seems to be a lot more care put into their melodies (lead singer Askhan has never sounded better) and instrumental work and while that does lead to the band losing a bit of their bite, it makes for a more upbeat rollicking journey – one that resembles Metallica’s softer tones and Scandinavian pagan metal groups like Korpiklaani – and one that\’s well worth the trip. Bandcamp/Xiami
Go down the rabbit hole (and back around again and again) on the latest sequenced experimental release from Hangzhou-based sound artist Wang Changcun – The Reality You Are Trying To Visit No Longer Exists. A collection of live recordings made across Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, the EDM-infused soundscapes were generated (prepare for nerd talk here) by ‘by a MaxMSP patch with different parameters’ which were then ‘run and recorded directly without intervention’. Not sure what that means as I’m the type of cat who often stands dumbfounded at any electronic show wondering how even the most basic of loops are created (and the live footage of said recording just creates more questions) but color me intrigued. An experiment in sound perhaps but one that’s very much accessible and pleasing to the ear. Bandcamp.
Continuing to ride that prajnasonic train and loving it – the Beijing based label recently released their first four efforts including this gem from fellow label cofounder iimmune – no stranger to this site. The Passengers proves to be another earworm that’s hard to shake loose from – a busy, fluid piece of electronica that’s icy slick, dizzyingly inventive, with a bit of cool jazz thrown in for good measure. While from an electronic standpoint it’s minimal, even classical in its design, sound wise this baby is brimming with detail and layers upon layers that keep your ears ovulating. No small feat as ears are not really known for ovulating but iimmune has found a way. More please. Bandcamp/Xiami