Comprised of four poems that lead singer Chen Sijiang had written over the past eight years, Hiperson’s latest isn’t meant to be a full-on post punk opus like the Chengdu hopefuls struck gold with on their debut but is nevertheless as magnetic as ever. Separated between Chengdu and London (where Sijiang recorded the vocals) and representing the shifting seasons and moods of its young artists, it’s a beautifully realized EP that puts the bands tender lyrical pose front and center, casting a spell that doesn’t weaver till its last note. And while the swirling angst-ridden guitars may be nowhere within ear range, it’s amazing how much the band’s emotional heft and affection are able to wrangle from the simplest of instrumentation. If their forthcoming LP is anywhere near of gorgeous or romantic as this gem then we’re in for something special.
The transformation of Shanghai singer and producer ChaCha concludes as the artist confidently emerges as YEHAIYAHAN on ‘Under The Moonlight’. Having dabbled in everything over the past decade – including R&B, trip-hop, reggae, and most recently avant-garde witch house (Faded Ghost, here she finds a way to mold and reconstruct those influences into something fresh and transfixing. While the artist’s silky voice reminds as mesmerizing as ever, what sticks out most is her command of atmosphere and sound design – it’s an album that lives and breathes, striking a mood of sensual mystery that permeates throughout the seven tracks. While the album, out on Alpha Pup Records in LA, utilizes experimental Naxi musician and composer Yao Chunyang as well as Soulspeak, this is YEHAIYAHAN’s show through and through – ‘both a return to roots, and the beginning of new exploration’.
Relishing the bittersweet turbulence of adolescence, Guangzhou/HK bedroom pop duo Happy Little Cat mines the companionship one often finds with heartbreak and depression, finding the silver lining within the ‘messy network’ that are our feelings. Or as the duo puts it brilliantly – “swallow your unhappiness and experience real happiness after digestion and decomposition”. Slick samples, dream pop gloss, and delicately crafted melodies that feel like a glimpse into someone’s personal KTV moment (or breakdown) – pained with regret but filled with bubbling-over hope – there’s an intimacy to the world the pair has rendered here. A dance number one can waltz to by themselves in their living room (to the bemusement of your cat of course).