A fever dream of astounding precision and imagination, electronic maverick producer Howie Lee takes his years of world-building with otherworldly sounds that pay tribute to both the ancient and the future and presents his finest work yet. Ambitious in scale, singular in its audacious vision, the densely-packed sophomore release kicks off with a Blade Runner invoking symphony, throwing listeners into a brave new world, and doesn’t let up from there – introducing Daoist-laced cyberpunk sacraments and robotic shamans, that play the part of the Chorus, with ease into Lee’s sprawling soundscapes. There’s an operatic quality to what the artist accomplishes here – a neon-soaked Neuromantic musical that’s was every bit refined and assembled as it is downright bewildering and challenging.
After fermenting in purgatory over the past four years, Xi’an post-punk outfit Jumping Goat, shake off the cobwebs off their former selves with the explosive and dynamic Walking On The Ice. Recorded during the band’s tenure between 2013 and 2015, the band readily breaks-down their sophomore release into three sections – the propulsive and emotionally charged era of being young; the highly strung and sharp deliberation of growing up together, and the confounded fragmented era during their breakup. While the high-wire three-act rise and fall of the band does make for some interesting segues – like the gothic dystopian flailing on ‘Silent Lamb,’ the B-52s buoyancy of ‘Can You Hear Me’ or the softer melodic anthemic charm of closer ‘Heading Nowhere’ – overall the band is most at home thrashing about in the shaky waters of post-punk delirium.
A napalm strike of combustible noise-punk that’s swift, lean, sharp, and scrappy dirty fun, Beijing’s UNIT go direct for the gut and don’t let up on their robust debut EP. Stitching together one wound-up thrust of thundering drums, electrifying guitar, and rock hard bass after another, it would be easy to fall neck deep in love with the ramshackle air that the band lives and breathes in. But it’s true pleasures lie within the melodic hooks and arrangements that lie beneath the blackhole-swallowing feedback and crashing cymbals, revealing an almost tender 90s alt-rock heart (‘Lost In A Homebase’)crossed with somber Lou Reed-esque angst (‘Loss of Signal’) that sinks its teeth into you.