LISTEN: Merrie Records Go For Diversity On First 3 Releases

By Bryan Grogan, May 20, 2019

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According to a note accompanying the release of 33EMYBW’s Dong 2, label Merrie Records (美丽唱片) were founded by the guys behind D Force Records and Douban Music. It should come as no surprise, then, that the first three albums announced to be released through Merrie Records cannot be neatly packaged into one genre.

A quick perusal of D Force Records’ back catalogue on Bandcamp shows albums by the likes of club punk Guan, electronified rocker ST.OL.EN and cinematic rock group Dalian Obscure Club (DOC). The early signs seem to point towards more of the same, a diverse line-up of bands and musicians under the one roof. 

Merrie Records’ first release, Dong 2, is an experimental delight, making use of vocal samples of Dong minority choirs and is better described in flowery, over-long sentences than in any one word. The album fits in with the glitchy, club-based music being released by the likes of Genome 6.66Mbp, SVBKVLT, FunctionLab et al. at the moment. At the same time, the exultant nature of the music reminds us more of Duck Fight Goose’s CLVB ZVKVNFT (or Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda). 

Dong 2 followed up on fellow Duck Fight Goose-member and D Force Records alumni Gooooose’s Dong 1. Similar to 33EMBYW’s effort, Gooooose made use of Dong vocal samples, visiting Xiao Huang village in Guizhou province to capture sound, which he later sampled and distorted for inclusion on the record. 

Admittedly, we initially expected Merrie Records to be another experimental club music label. However, the early signs seem to indicate that the breadth of their reach will be much larger. The second and third announced releases are set to drop in June, from Shanghai-based power punk band Theory of Convergence and Xiamen duo Daytrip Dormancy. 

While Theory of Convergence sound like a power punk throwback band on their new single, ‘Life is an Illusion,’ Daytrip Dormancy come off as an intricate, very delicate pairing on their single ‘HelSinKi.’ 

According to a post on their Weibo, the release of their upcoming EP, Yeliu (夜流) was delayed by approximately three months. The release is now set for June 3, and fans of weird and wonderful music will be delighted by the Radiohead/krautrock/Arthur Russell ambiance, that the Xiamen pair have devised. 

With these first three records seeing release dates less than two months apart, and with the label professing that their mission statement is to discover and promote the most creative forces in the Chinese mainland, we’re hugely excited about the future for Merrie Records, and as should you be!

[Cover image via @DaytripDormancy/Weibo]

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