Get a Noise Complaint Blasting These 10 New Chinese Music Releases

Get a Noise Complaint Blasting These 10 New Chinese Music Releases

From video-game-inspired hyperpop to seaside indie rock and ambient electronica — here’s a sample of the music we’ve been cranking LOUD this October

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4:22 PM HKT, Mon October 31, 2022 4 mins read

New Music is a monthly RADII column that looks at fresh Chinese music spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. This month, we introduce you to new offerings from Sleeping Dogs, Night Swimmer, and more!

While a couple of our top picks this month came from some of the Chinese music scene’s most established performers — what’s most notable is how many of them are relatively new acts. Featured heavily on this list are bands, artists, and emerging labels with something to prove in a creative landscape that’s boundaries are still being shaped.

From video-game-inspired hyperpop to an Inner Mongolian musician looking to modernize his sound; from seaside genre-swaying indie rock to ambient-filled world-building electronica — here’s what our ears have fallen for this October.

1. Sleeping Dogs — Blunt Razor

Instrumental groove masters Sleeping Dogs, a supergroup of Beijing-based indie musicians, returns with a long-awaited debut LP, Blunt Razor, released with Spacefruity Records.

Meticulously prepared with ingredients of Afrobeat, jazz, funk, hip hop, and a simmer of psychedelic allure, it’s rich in texture and flavor yet never overwhelms.

Akin to the aural pleasures of acts like BadBadNotGood and Khruangbin, there’s an intrepid spirit at the heart of their sound, making every track fun to get lost in.

2. NB Palm (无头电掌) — No Need to Give Meaning to Everything (不用什么都给予意义)

Chengdu trio NB Palm burst onto the scene with the stylish and devilishly alluring debut LP No Need to Give Meaning to Everything — a fever dream of indietronica, trip hop, post punk, dream pop, and cold wave that all but defies category.

The trio throws everything but the kitchen sink at our ears, offering a collage of ominous yet seductive sounds and sharp edges akin to a Michael Mann flick crossed with a heightened Hong Kong drama.

Unyielding and overly ambitious at times, the album isn’t so much a collection of songs as it is an anthology of musical tales — with detours and tangents aplenty within each track.

3. j-fever (小老虎), Eddie Beatz, Zhou Shijue (周士爵) — To Love To Cry To Doubt (去爱去哭去疑惑)

A spiritual squeal to last year’s 心愈频率, j-fever, Eddie Beatz, and Zhou Shijue have teamed up once again to find solace in the interweaving rhythms and peculiarities of life by reflecting on the state of the world, and learning to love, cry, doubt, and laugh.

It’s a wonderfully humanizing album, brimming with life and finding warmth and harmony in the idiosyncrasies of its wordsmiths (as well as the other souls they encounter daily); all this layered over Beatz’s soothing and vintage hip hop beats.

And we haven’t even mentioned the all-star guest players, such as ChaCha, Fishdoll, Voision Xi, and Shi Xinwen Yue. Hip hop for the soul!

4. Qunxiang (群像) — Song of Desolation (荒芜之歌)

Qunxiang, the post-punk outfit that broke big last year with their debut release with Modern Sky, is back to prove it wasn’t just a fluke. The new EP is entitled Song of Desolation.

While the Chengdu band has always leaned more into the genre’s ethereal and cerebral aspects, finding pleasures in the twisty malice, foreboding atmosphere, and evocative lyrics of singer Ma Ji, here, the group seems to be stretching themselves even further.

They build upon their hot and cold post-punk aesthetics with everything from beguiling harps to noise pop riffs, culminating in the mammoth title track, a three-part ‘fairy tale’ that eventually dovetails into a spaghetti western epilogue.

5. PussyEyes — Interpretation of the Spirit of Love (爱慕灵的诠释)

Singer-songwriter Chuan Xi, aka PussyEyes, stuns on her debut album titled Interpretation of the Spirit of Love.

Formerly a member of Beijing dream pop band Goodbye Honeyboy and now residing in Hangzhou, PussyEyes has come up with a dizzying concoction that hits all the right notes.

Delicately assembled with a woozy ethereal touch, the music finds that sweet spot between dream pop and dance music. It matches its lush, humid production with the musician’s airy, transportive voice. It sinks in deep like a lucid daydream that you don’t want to leave.

6. Hugjiltu (胡格吉乐图) — Cycle (循环)

Long-standing Inner Mongolian musician Hugjiltu, formerly of Hanggai and Ajinai, looks to break free from the confines of ‘Mongolian sound,’ which has been co-opted and sterilized over the years, by putting out the beguiling Cycle with London label Dusty Ballz.

Combining the three-string Mongolian lute and the two-string horsehead fiddle, as well as a selection of traditional instruments, field recordings, and synth effects, Hugjiltu traces his existential journey between the metropolis and the mountainside. There’s a quiet exploratory beauty to the atmosphere conjured within its ‘state of artistic composure.’

7. Floating in the Mist (悬在雾中) — ‘The Pilar’ (‘比拉爾號’)

Finding nuance, resonance, and innovative chemistry between the lines of math rock and shoegaze, Floating in the Mist relishes in both genres’ intricacies and turbulent hallmarks, capturing an indie rock sound that soars.

The Northeast China band’s latest single, ‘The Pilar,’ released with StreetVoice and Cold Neo, was inspired by a trip to the sea after quarantine (its name comes from Ernest Hemingway’s customized yacht of the same name).

The track leans into the band’s more explosive tendencies and sails forth into stormy weather on the crest of an intoxicating rhythm.

8. Night Swimmer — Depressionfruit (RUI HO Remix)

Wuhan’s Night Swimmer, an underground electronic producer known for his rich tapestry of vaporware, psychedelia, new age, and world music, is riding a wave of accolades after dropping his LP Xia Ye, released with Shy People earlier this summer. This, of course, means it’s time for some remixes.

Taking the 4/4 techno pleasures of standout track ‘Depressionfruit’ and turning them in on themselves, resident Shanghai producer Rui Ho turns up the volume and injects his brand of hypnotic trance and acid rave into the mix. The dual remixes will be joined by a third courtesy of Ciel in November.

9. 1ove1etter.exe (情書程序) — Eternal Fantasy Remix (永恆的純質幻想)

Founder of EVO, an otherworldly collective in Shanghai’s underground party scene, 1ove1etter.exe’s hyperpop sensibilities lie with video games and the ability to immerse oneself in fantasy and create a character all your own.

On this remixed album, he is joined by a host of other acts in China blurring the line between pop, art, performance, and electronic music.

His track ‘Ultimate Fantasy Immersion’ (‘完美角色體驗’), off of his debut from last winter, gets the remix treatment on this new release via a host of international producers, including eMILY gLASS (Australia), Galen Tipton (USA), Toiret Status (Japan), and China’s hyperpop affiliates GG Xia Long and ChunS!ut.

10. Irrelevant Trio — Tailing (威斯特之死)

Budding computer and electronic music label SOTI return with their latest sonic exploration, the debut album from experimental electronic outfit Irrelevant Trio.

Composed of artists from different musical fields (experimental musician Louzhang, jazz musician Khezk, and electronic musician littlesweetpotato), it uses ambient music as its starting point and leaps into the abyss from there.

The album is perfect for those who like their electronic music meditative, grainy, and wholly immersive, a dance between the analog and the digital with modular synthesizers volleying with acoustic instruments such as the theremin and ruan.

Cover image designed by Haedi Yue

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