As labels like Eternal Dragonz work to identify a global, pan-Asian club sound, China’s homegrown club scene has swollen with new creative energy over the last several years. The media world seems to have taken notice: a February documentary by VICE fashion channel i-D put the spotlight on a particularly vibrant set of Shanghai’s underground. More recently, German company Native Instruments — makers of essential DJ hardware and software — published a deep-dive profile of one of the Shanghai scene’s most active producers: Taiwan-born Stella Chung, aka SCINTII (above).
SCINTII’s sound has been internationally inclined from the start: she was switched on to underground club music while living in London, where she recorded her first EP, Mica, released by Eternal Dragonz in early 2017. Her latest international collaboration is a remix for mobilegirl, a producer from Munich who’s made a deep impact since moving to Berlin less than three years ago. mobilegirl, a member of the Discwoman label/collective, is known for her eclectic mixes as well as her pristine-clean yet always club-ready original productions.
The clearest statement of mobilegirl’s production style to date can be heard on her debut EP, Poise, released by Stockholm label Staycore last November. In March, she put out a remix EP, inviting different artists to remix each of the original EP’s six tracks — SCINTII adds her trademark gauzy atmospherics and layered vocals to “Ceremonial Song,” streaming above. “I’m a huge fan, I love the whole package she delivers,” says mobilegirl, who met SCINTII while the latter was still in Europe. “Her voice and her production together have something otherworldly to them.”
Since relocating to Shanghai from Europe, SCINTII has become a fixture on the local scene, finding her voice and meshing with a crew of likeminded DJs and producers. “My music isn’t really club, but being a DJ gives a different level of understanding music,” she tells RADII. “I feel that the Shanghai scene is quite supportive of each other, and more open to hearing something different.”
mobilegirl’s remix EP actually features two Chinese artists: along with SCINTII, Nanjing producer Dirty K takes a crack at the track “Forever.”
Dirty K — whose hometown is a two-hour train ride from Shanghai — is one of the key members and production talents of Genome 6.66Mbp, Shanghai’s leading crew for deconstructed, broken, jagged, or otherwise fucked up club music. Dirty K first encountered mobilegirl via a Boiler Room set, and later got the chance to see her live when mobilegirl became the first international artist invited by Genome to play at now defunct Shanghai club The Shelter. (The whole Genome team has since reassembled at ALL, which recently celebrated its first birthday.)
“In 2016, almost every month I’d take the bullet train to Shanghai to go to Shelter to listen to the music that I liked,” says Dirty K of his formative years. “Nearly every day I was able to experience and learn new things.” His tutelage at Shelter and ALL has lead to a string of solid releases by the young producer, including a remix on Shanghai/Tokyo label Push & Pull, and a six-track debut album, Exsciccation, released by Genome last June.
“I don’t know really know their approach to making music, but the way they carry themselves is so admirable, so humble even though they are amazing,” says mobilegirl of the Chinese producers with whom she’s crossed streams so far. “As to the sound, everyone definitely has their own.”
Cover photo courtesy Stella Chung/SCINTII
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