With D-22’s doors closed, it’s time to find new breeding grounds for the noise-makers, distorters, lo-fiers, and other DIY figures of the Zoomin’ Nights. I’d always figured the torch would be passed onto the Old What? Bar but I’m happy to say the Hot Cat Club has also opened up it’s welcoming arms to the gang of misfits, courtesy of the Pangbianr crew, who continue to impress with their shows. And with 25 yuan Vedett on tap I was ready to test the water and see what my eardrums could handle.
Soviet Pop should come with a disclaimer – one that reads “May Make You Uncomfortable”. The dystopian soundscapes created by Li Qing and Li Weisi and their vintage modular synthesizer are certainly not for everyone, evident through my friends’ expressions of horror and disgust. I can’t blame them, and in some twisted way, my enjoyment of Soviet Pop’s performance was only heightened by my friends’ disdain. Like a David Lynchean nightmare, pulsating with futuristic elements straight out of a science fiction movie, Soviet Pop, for better or worse, gets under your skin.
Next was Banana Head, the one-person band headed by American (and fellow Connecticut resident) Zully Adler and his brand of lo-fi angst. Though I’m not the biggest advocate for distorted microphones, when utilized effectively it can take the accompanying music to a new level. Sliding guitar lines and brooding distortions were the perfect match for Zully’s brooding distorted droll voice – bleeding together into one to create a lingering temper of melancholy and lost. What could have been mundane and popish is twisted in one itself to create something familiar yet elusive. It’s a gamble that I think pays off in Banana Head’s case. Let your ears be the judge…
Like the Zoomin’ Night’s of before, experimental music is always hit or miss. You’ll never know though until you check it out for yourself. Check out another of Banana Head’s tunes below and also be sure to check out pangbianr’s great interview with Zully Adler, who also produced Soviet Pop’s new album under his label Goaty Tapes.