Dear Eloise, the guitar washed, shoegaze side project from P.K 14 frontman Yang Haisong and his wife Sun Xia, and one of Beijing’s best-kept secrets, return with their latest bittersweet lo-fi beauty, They Slipped Away From My Mind Just Like This, and it’s arguably the band’s most cohesive work to date. While many may be turned off by the duo’s somber tone and overwhelming feedback, I’ve always been transfixed by the dream-like world the band resides in. Chaotic and soothing all at once, it’s noise pop where the beach has been replaced by a smog-ridden concrete jungle. And while there is a sense that the duo may be running out of canvas, on closer listen, one can hear Haisong and Xia employing more and more rock and roll elements into their sound – psychedelic sawtoothed guitars, garage rock grooves, and heavier drums, making Xia’s poetic lyrics sting that much more.
Rock and roll is alive and well in the Mongolian steppes as RID’s impresses with their latest. Named after emperor Kublai Khan’s legendary summer palace Xanadu – historically a center of trade and cultural exchange between the Han and Mongolian ethnic groups, there’s a seamless euphonious ease in the way the band is able to incorporate elements of metal, reggae, blues, funk, and even flamenco music into the traditional sounds of Mongolia. Never too showy yet never too stark, the band seems to be having a ball flipping the conventions of their ancestors’ music on its head. Injecting a modern sensibility into their music, it keeps your ears enraptured with one surprise after and might just have you running for the grasslands.
Ambient producer Solent explores the immersive side of music with his debut EP Digital Naturism, off of Beijing-based label Jingweir. Forging slow-burning, sonically challenging, and emotionally stimulating soundscapes that seem to inhabit a world far removed from our own, the four tracks manage to tap into our innate longing ‘for the ‘genuine’ and ‘natural’ amongst the constructed artificial environments’ that have engulfed us. Rich in texture and nuance, and supplemented by beguiling guitars, synth drones, and field recordings, there’s a depth to the world Solent has conjured up – one thick enough to wander through and get lost in.