Cantopop-inspired LA Trio SY3 Release Debut Single

Featuring luminaries from LA’s music scene, the group mixes house and trip hop to recall the best of 90s Hong Kong

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Simon Frank
4:48 PM HKT, Tue February 20, 2024 1 mins read

With the afterglow of Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day fading fast, it’s the perfect time for a song that both pays tribute to diasporic roots and laments a bittersweet love affair. “Tell Me,” the debut single by Los Angeles trio SY3, first caught our ears a few weeks ago, and it’s been on repeat since then. The band comes off as a low-key LA underground supergroup, featuring singer Jia Pet alongside producers and instrumentalists Alex Ho and Phil Cho. Back in 2021 Ho released an excellent album of mellow, ambient-leaning boogie on Dutch label Music from Memory, also home to some of Yu Su’s work. Cho plays in various projects and is involved with In Sheep’s Clothing, an open-ended listening bar, record store, website, and more. (Check out his great primer on Faye Wong’s collaboration with the Cocteau Twins!)

“Tell Me” is tagged as Cantopop on Bandcamp, and while we don’t actually detect Cantonese lyrics, it has the gauzy, neon-drenched vibe of 1990s Hong Kong down pat, replete with nods to the house music and trip hop that filtered into the songs of the era’s most avant garde pop stars (i.e. Faye Wong). Over punchy drums dusted with just the right amount of lo-fi grit, washes of saxophone drift by and a synthesizer impersonates the sound of a phone dialing. Jia Pet begins by cooing wordlessly, before moving through all manner of phone-related metaphors for miscommunication and finally asking “Tell me if it’s too much?” It’s a promising start to a project we look forward to hearing more from.

Cover image via Bandcamp.

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