In Releases: Kun, Deadly Cradle Death, Soundtoy, 641


The releases keep piling in, and whether you’re looking for that next harsh noise jam to displease your parents or that latest melodic to win over the girl with, we’ve got you covered. Two releases that showcases an artist’s dueling electronic and classical talents, a witchcraft industrial rap track, primal metalcore to blast down the doors with, and the latest indie pop band to hit it big with Chinese listeners, we’ve got it. So pop on their headphones and let your ears explore the latest releases from Kun, Deadly Cradle Death, Soundtoy, and 641.

One of the bigger pulls in China, Soundtoy, founded in 1999 in Sichuan, by Ou Jiayuan, and now based in Chengdu, has become one of the most influential bands in the Chinese rock music scene during the last decade, reaching almost iconic status in many circles and it’s easy to see why. Rich storytelling, multi-layered instrumentation, and rife with emotional melodies that soar (the country is full of softies), the band continues to dominant the music world with the release of their latest indie pop opus, Midas Touch. Diverse in its execution, Soundtoy is a congregation of sounds and styles that audiences in China adhere to – from post rock crescendos, to prog rock, to Britpop melodies, the album feels epic in every sense of the word, and just when you think you know where it’s going, it doubles back. It’s ambitious in its refusal to not give up a concise indie pop song, yet at the same time feels completely accessible by mainstream standards. I’m reminded of Damien Rice’s more rock-oriented tracks. And while it comes on a bit too strong at times, and plays up the melancholy a bit much, overall it succeeds in providing some rip-roaring epic numbers. No wonder these cats are the talk of the town. Tear into it over here.

Though there are many theories on what makes an experimental artist truly ‘experimental’ I’ve always had a firm belief that someone classically trained is at a higher advantage when it’s comes finding new ways to deconstruct and dismantle the music form. Learning classical music may have been the basis but as evident in the neoclassical soloist Kun, his interpretation of music can veer quite a bit from the pack. After 18 years of training, the Sichuan artist break free, traveled the world with his violin and discovered all the possibilities. This is evident in Kun’s latest two releases, COMPOSE and SOUND FORM. The former finds Kun strutting his soloist skills, composing lush pieces while finding the time to inject his compositions with various offbeat elements – synthesizers, distanced vocals, and an experimentalists abandon. It’s a tightrope which manages to still be very accessible. The same can be said for SOUND FORM, eight tracks extracted from Kun’s time with an electronic music program which uses sound to create real time images (check out the whole collection here). Again, pretty righteous sounds. It’s pretty clear Kun is finding new and interesting ways to embrace his classical background to create something fresh and contemporary. Count me in. Check out his releases here.

A band that I’ve been dying to have back in my weekly serotonin intake is Deadly Cradle Death, the dingy drug rap duo featuring He Fan (of Birdstriking fame) and Liu Xinyu (of Chui Wan fame). Here was my original write-up on them back in 2012 – “The reason why I was so taken with the duo comes down to one word: evil. This is pure pitch black glossy evil. It’s the anti-club music. I wanna set these two up at a drum n’ bass event and watch the sheer terror on the faces of all those dub-hungry fiends – getting dizzy just thinking about it. I love it, there might as well put a cauldron between them, boiling ferociously as if they were warlocks conjuring up dark spells to lay waste to all the pollution in this city (literally and figuratively).” In retrospect, I think these kids were just ahead of their time. Well, perhaps my wishes will come true if the latest 7’’ split from Genjing Records is any indication. Split with English noise space cadets The Telescopes, what you have a very spacey trance-like journey down some of Beijing’s darker alleyways. It’s a glorious trip – grab it over here.


Looking to kick start your day? Music to stare down subway passengers with? A tune to get you through the chaos which reigns supreme here? Well, metalcore outfit 641 has got your back. The Tianjin based hardcore and metal band, an active force on the underground Beijing and Tianjin music scene for over ten years, has returned with their latest full length LP, Broken, and it’s packed full of attitude. Frantic guitar sweeps, visceral drumming, vocals full of oppressive rage, 641’s music hits are the targets needed for a metalcore band. It’s rough, magnetic, and arguably has much more passion than most the scene’s frontrunners. There’s a backbone to their music that’s comes through loud and clear. Spin it over here, and if music with ‘metal’ or ‘core’ is right up your alley then head over to Mao Livehouse this Friday to catch the band in action.

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