Here are three new homegrown albums from musicians around China on our radar this month.
1. Lemonade by The Chairs
Summer wouldn’t feel complete without a sip of some refreshing lemonade. Sour yet sweet, the simple drink is reminiscent of fleeting moments spent gazing in the eyes of a cherished loved one on a bright and sunny day. This album by The Chairs seemingly sets out to engage the audience in this same feeling of the indulgence of youthful summer love. The romance that’s captured in the album is so sweet that it might even give you cavities, and yet simultaneously the music is so fresh and light that it cleanses away stress and suppressed emotions. The soft and fluffy melodies, combined with the occasional quirky sharp and flat notes, accompanied by an obscured vocal, builds up a dreamy and somewhat mystical quality in the songs, something that has become a signature for the Taiwanese band. The Chairs have here composed a series of delicious love letters, which sing the merits of the best season of the year. Listen to this album with your best guy or gal on a summer evening, and let the words and hidden meanings reveal themselves.
2. Desolation by Nicolò & emamouse
This album is an international affair, a musical collaboration between Italian producer Nicolò and Japanese experimental musician emamouse, released via Hong Kong’s Absurd Trax. Desolation is a fitting title for an album that instils a sense of loneliness and hollowness. The album draws its listeners into a surreal post-apocalyptic world right off the bat, with the intro line “There used to be people here, now only buildings.” Consisting of just eight seconds of a muffled, robotic, glitch-infected voice speaking in Japanese, this first track is a statement of intent. On ‘2019-to date,’ listeners are exposed to rhythmic bass and jittery metallic sounds, both of which help to establish the industrial tone of the album. Furthermore, when listened to with eyes closed, this song makes you feel as though the world has indeed turned into vacant debris. ‘Empty Club’ is another song that exploits the full potential of the distorted bass to reinforce the post-apocalyptic ambiance. The musicians conclude the album with ‘We are one, on ’n on.’ This track builds upon the idea of the formation of a singularity, a collective consciousness, an idea that is believed by many to be the final destiny of mankind. It is a fitting metaphysical ending for an album that forces us to consider possible dystopian futures.
3. Sudamérica Ruido y Amor by Struggle Session
Recorded in January of 2019 and released on July 4 by Beijing-based Struggle Session, Sudamérica Ruido y Amor is at first glance a collage of nonsense… that is until you become aware of its warming backstory. Comprised of 33 songs, each of which are under 30 seconds, the entire album is less than ten minutes long. Each of the songs on the album captures a city that the band performed in during their 2018 South American tour. The songs are, thus, representative of the kindness, friendships and good times that the foursome experienced whilst voyaging through countries like Brasil, Chile, Peru and more. With each of these songs, the band attempts to crystallize a moment, a joke, or a genuine connection that was felt with strangers they met in each city, making the sentiments that surround the songs transporting and melodic. The record as a whole is representative of modern romanticism: the adorable contradiction between a brutal appearance and a warm loving heart, and human’s innate fight against utter isolation.
[Cover image via Genjing Records/Bandcamp]