Here are three new homegrown albums from musicians around China on our radar this month.
1. Duration by Shii
Shii made quite the impact last year with a trio of projects, including solo material, her part in lo-fi duo Lost Memory Machine alongside Nocturnes’ David Carey and club-based Ex Luna. This record feels markedly different from Floating Signifiers, which appeared in July of last year. Opening with Chinese vocals on ‘About Nature,’ Shii paces herself, slowly easing into a track that is ebullient synth-pop with understated computerized beats. ‘Film Unknown’ is much more assertive and immediately pulsates with more energy than the reflective opener. Shii switches back to English lyrics for this one, and uses electric guitars to prop up the chorus of the song. ‘Train to the Near Future’ is more understated synthesizers, with her voice resting at the forefront of the song. Again, we hear her instrumental diversity as a string duet intervenes for about 30 seconds, beautifully piecing together verses. While this short record does have some moments of energy, it feels largely like an experiment for the songwriter, as she plays with song structures and instrumentation.
2. Found.000 by 3asic
Found.000 is a quick 17-minute record taking place over the course of five songs from Shenzhen-based 3asic on Beijing label S!LK. The label, which began life as a promotional night via key Beijing producers Puzzy Stack and Bloodz Boi, released its first record – an excellent compilation called Breaking Fresh – at the end of 2018. That release was followed up by a record from Pacoz, who recently took part in Eating Music Camp and appeared on the Shanghai label’s Eating Music Campilation release. This third release from 3asic shows off the producer’s huge range and ease with experimentation. Lead track ‘DH’ thumps the eardrums with heavy bass and raw mechanical effects, creating the aural appearance of something quite unpleasant, but ultimately rhythmically satisfying.
3. May I Waste Your Time by All Romantic Days
The latest release on new indie DIY label Letter Records comes courtesy of Chengdu band All Romantic Days. May I Waste Your Time clocks in at just four tracks, each of which is drenched in staunchly atmospheric guitar. Taking inspiration from the UK jangle rock of the ’80s and ’90s, All Romantic Days are like a large dollop of caramel syrup on an ice cream sundae, full of texture and scrumptiously sweet. The simplicity in opening song ‘Sleepwear’ is not to be underestimated here, as the understated vocals and guitars provide a robust atmosphere for listeners. ‘She Says’ is simple and gorgeous. A female vocalist is introduced to proceedings here. She continues into ‘In Your Court,’ which takes the pace of proceedings down a notch. All Romantic Days are the perfect listen for a lazy Sunday when you’re lovelorn and thinking about romantic mishaps and missed connections.
[Cover image via All Romantic Days/Bandcamp]