On The Scene: Yugong Yishan 27-04-2012


As I’ve mentioned countless times, Helen Feng was my entry point into the Beijing music scene, so it goes without saying that I’ll follow her down any rabbit home and whatever music endeavor she chooses to pursue. Two years later, two bands later, and we are at Yugong Yishan with Nova Heart her electro-disco-downright sexy band for their EP Beautiful Boys release. Geez, time sure does fly by. But before Nova Heart put a spell over the audience, we were treated to sets from Residence A and Fuzzy Mood.


Residence A did their thing as usual. It might be time for me to start avoiding these guys…I feel like I know their sets by heart now. I think what gets me coming back for more is the joy I get from introducing them to people. And the great thing is you don’t have to talk them up or anything – you can literally watch the expressions on a new comers face change – from mild curiously to all-out satisfaction with what is pounding out of those speakers. Followed by the inevitable “Who are these guys?” – they my friend are Residence A….

And what the hell, why isn’t this song on their album. I want it on my iTouch like yesterday. Seems like a great way to start any morning.


I’m not quite sure where I want to place Fuzzy Mood. They’re a talented bunch for sure – they know their instruments well, especially Liu Ke on bass who brings an energy to the performance which might otherwise be well a bit too shoegazey.

Han Ai has a lovely voice which I think fits their sound well, though at times her crooning can come off as sloppy and long-winded. But when she does hone in that voice, accompanied by a gradual rise in guitar action, it hits that shoegaze center, where all the elements come together just right, and you’re left biting your lip and wagging your head with your hair down in complete satisfaction. This happened more than once on their closing song, which I’m going to assume is called “So Tired”

This ditty just reeks of a dirty smoked filled motel room after sex. Talk about raising eyebrows. I’m not sold yet on Fuzzy Mood, but I can tell you this, I’ll be checking them out more and more.


But to hell with those last acts, this was Helen Feng’s night. And with a set design decked out with alien-like mannequins, and the star herself covered in a silk garment straight out of period movie, Nova Heart made their entrance….

The woman knows how to put a show – that’s for sure. Also I think it’s fair to say at this point that Helen Feng has one of the most bewitching voices in town. One that teases your senses throws you for a loop, and keeps you wanting more – it commands your attention. What I find most fascinating is how predetermined every move, every rise in pitch, every fiery breathe in the microphone is.

She knows exactly what she’s doing up there, and that confidence is just infectious. And when she cuts loose, with hips flying irresponsibly, as if going off the rails, it’s wild – I can’t tell how willing I would be to watch over and over Helen laying into cymbals with reckless abandon as she did on her last song “Evil”. Musically, Nova Heart is soaked in dreamy electro pop. Helen has written some surprisingly catchy songs, which are a match made in heaven for a smoke-filled disco floor. Did I mention these songs just ooze with sexuality…it’s no surprise that a lot of these songs were written in the red light district of Rome – you can partially see the neon light glow in each of the songs. And though there is a lot of sampling and looping going on within the sound, I must give credit to the bassist and guitarist, who filled the air with some beautiful melodies and bass lines.

But at the end of the day, Nova Heart is all Helen Feng, and she shined throughout the night. She’s someone whose presence is truly captivating. Bottoms up! Check below for another song from Fuzzy Mood and Nova Heart.

Fuzzy Mood

Nova Heart

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