Yin: Alex Wang Bugs the Machine on New EP “0%”

The Johns Hopkins-trained, Shanghai-based computer musician returns with another sharp, skittish foray into dreamed digital dystopias

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5:01 PM HKT, Fri April 26, 2019 1 mins read

Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

This week we get some creepy crawly feel-bad music from Alex Wang. We last heard from the Do Hits affiliate in August 2017, when he dropped an LP’s worth of hard sci-fi glitch entitled Black Dragon, conceptually framed around a malign, surveillance-obsessed AI. Now Wang is back with 0%, an equally sharp and skittish new EP released earlier this month by LA-based label Zoom Lens, fine vendors of fractured electronic pop dreamscapes.

Here’s a taste:

Wang, who received a graduate degree in Computer Music Composition at Johns Hopkins and subsequently worked in New York for a few years, recently moved to Shanghai. The buggy digital sound worlds he creates indeed vibe well with the work of some of Shanghai’s other outer-limit-orbiting producers, e.g. 33EMYBW and Gooooose. In a write-up on Noisey China, the rough digital grain of 0% is equated to the sonic profile of China’s breakneck, mass-scale urbanization, a process nowhere more visible than Shanghai:

Directed by Chinese 3D artist Chillchill, the video for “A Brave New World” is a harrowing, apocalyptic depiction of present day China: an imagined look at the end result of rapid urbanization and the detrimental effect that had on the country’s working class and migrant workers, or “the low-end population.” Programs like “bicycle-sharing”—often seen as examples of failed government regulation that only add to the degradation of urban environments—come under fire as well.

0% comes on the eve of a major China-wide tour for Do Hits, which has been more or less dormant for the last year but will go all out for its 8th anniversary in May, sending the audio/visual duos of Howie Lee x Teom Chen, Jason Hou x Miao Jing, and Alex Wang x Shanghai-based “Internet Artist” and VJ chillchill to impose their collective aesthetic will upon venues in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Chengdu.

Find the tour schedule here, and head to the Zoom Lens Bandcamp to mainline 0% on your device of choice.

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