Post rock from the heavens (or from down below depending on your preference), electronic soundscapes that entice and ignite, electro funk to dance away the night to, and a collection of experimental and offbeat soundwaves to get lost it – it’s the latest crew of new releases to find solace in, including the latest from Dalian post rockers Wang Wen, Beijing electronic artist iimmune, Beijing electro disco outfit Image Above All, and volume three from Seippelabel.
Post rock heavyweights Wang Wen are at the top of their game in their ninth studio album, Sweet Home, Go! What else can be said about these guys – the Dalian quartet’s grandiose sound has only enriched over time, evolving and metamorphosing as the band surveys the musical landscape through older more mature eyes. The crescendos cut deeper, the turns and tempo switch ups feel organic, and every sound and texture feels fully embodied. Those a bygone jazz heart underneath the hardened old man at sea heart of Wang Wen and the intricacies and intersections of these two mindsets is a beauty to hear and behold. Spellbinding. Xiami and Douban it up.
After putting out my favorite electronic record of last year, Hsing Jiango aka iimmune returns with his latest EP, Abnormal – a bleaker, sleeker, more machine-driven predecessor. While the EP doesn’t have the sun-filled appeal of his D-Force Record debut, Ocean, it still ranks as some of the most imaginative, synthetically pleasing electronic works out there – combining the familiar with the unfamiliar, the traditional and the modern in ways that keeps your ears guessing whilst being tickled and enthralled (I still can’t get over the brilliant structure of ‘Wonderland Owner’). A trip very much worth taking. Find it over on xiami and bandcamp.
Seippelabel, the digital (soon to be physical) label, curated and put together by local musician Brad Seippel (aka thruoutin) continues exploring the sounds of established and up and coming artists on Seippelabel Vol. 3, with a collection of sounds that range from ‘sparse enveloping room sounds to meditative synthesis’. And in further establishing the label as a cross-national contender, the label has welcomed Simon Wetham from the UK and John Dombroski from the US, alongside some of Beijing’s local talent and soundshifters including Li Jianhong, Noise666, and Dizzydi, in on the fun. A stellar taster of the many facets of experimental and electronic music, you can find and dig into Seippelabel Vol. 3 over at their bandcamp. For you Beijingers – May 21st at Old What? Bar Seippelable will be teaming up with LiveBeijingMusic for some musical hijinhks – full details.
Electro funk is a hard genre to pull off. You have to walk the line between being confidently tacky and fantastically earnest and not fall too far on either end. And while the newest electro funk band to emerge out of Beijing, Image Above All, doesn’t entirely pull it off, they’re sporting some potential on their EP, We Are Stardust. ‘The brain-child of Dani Toto and Robin Liu (16 Minutes), Image Above All, brings the refined disco and funk of the 1970s and puts it all in the blender on the dancehall ready three track EP. It’s glossy, bright, and fun, and throws just about everything at the wall – and yet is ultimately rings hollow for me – putting too much emphasis on the top tier production, which emerges as the true star of the EP. Groove if you will over at bandcamp.