Yin: Guangzhou Post-Rock Band Zhaoze Converses With the Birds

If you're ready to take a swirling psychedelic nosedive into the weekend, we recommend the latest from Guangzhou's Zhaoze, who brought their electric guqin to a Belgian forest

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7:07 PM HKT, Fri December 7, 2018

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.

If you, like me, are ready to take a swirling psychedelic nosedive into the weekend, I might recommend the latest from Guangzhou post-rock band Zhaoze:


Birds Contending (争鸣), a thoroughly cinematic 43-minute track, was released in late November, following the August release of a remixed version of their brilliant 2011 sophomore album, 1911. The new composition was recorded almost entirely in a forest in Zottegem, Belgium, with the sound of the titular contentious birds (perhaps a subtle Sufi shoutout?) mixing beautifully with guitar, drums, bass, celesta, and Zhaoze leader Hoyliang’s trademark electric guqin and xiao (bamboo flute).

As wonderful as they are on record, Zhaoze is a band that truly blows minds live — a feat they’ve repeated on multiple stages across multiple continents over the years. Here’s a music video from 2015 that gives a better visual sense of the delicate balance they strike between traditional Chinese and Western rock instrumentation:

Hear more Zhaoze here, and follow their latest comings and goings via Facebook.

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