Various Artists 群星 – Distant Dialogues 天地留声
Essentially a remote virtual residency between cutting six genre-blurring artists in the UK and China forced to adapt with our specific times – Distant Dialogues – a collaboration between independent Chinese record label Merrie Records and Worldwide FM (with support from the British Council and Xintiandi) acts as both a stellar compilation and a hint to what the future might hold in terms of artistic residencies. Originally geared to be a one-sided programme of UK artists visiting China, the project over the year morphed into a two-way collaborative endeavor with three Chinese artists – Wuhan based indie electronic artists Shii, Shanghai shape-shifting left-field dance music conjurer GOOOOOSE and Beijing experimental avant-garde artists gogoj, – and three UK-based artists – Bristol’s soundscaper Kayla Painter, South London producer Hector Plimmer, and Leeds-based multi-instrumentalist Wonky Logic – seeking out inspiration from the kaleidoscope of each other’s cultures. It’s a fascinating concept that not only generates some top-notch tracks but offers up intriguing tidbits on each artist’s unique creative process.
Various Artists 群星 – The Wind-blown Town 风吹走的城市
The third part in a series of compilations from newly formed Merrie Records – The Wind-blown Town looks to capture the temperament of autumn with a rich collection of tracks from a diverse group of bands and artists – a deep dive into spry instrumental rock, moody indietronica, and other offbeat sounds – and once again, a perfect kaleidoscope of some of the more interesting developments in the indie music scene this past year. And what a collection – from the return of Beijing-based Juju to raspy slow burn of singer-songwriter FEI out of Yunnan; from the electro-pop alchemy of L.O.B.I (which features the deft touch of folks like Chen Xi and Xu Bo) to the unexpected emotional torrent of producer Wang Wenying’s track and finally the richly detailed world of Chengdu’s Wu Zhouling – there’s not one dud in here. One more volume to go!
Various Artists 群星 – Fuzz & Ruin Vol. 1
For those looking to dip their toes into the murky waters of doom, stoner, sludge, drone, and psych music then Daftpop Sounds has just the treat for you. Their latest cassette release Fuzz & Ruin Vo.l 1 gathers an array of ‘heavy as fuck’ jams from around the Asia Pacific region including China, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, and New Zealand, ‘covering a whole spectrum of heavy, tripped out, foreboding tones and spanning multiple national borders…united in celebrating the mediative power of cranked amps and voyages into the mind’s eye’. Some dangerously alluring tracks on here including choice cuts from China’s own King of Lazy (Kunming), Alpaca (Shanghai), Never Before (Beijing), Electric Lady (Beijing), and Nekroma (Beijing).
Various Artists 群星 – Modern Sky 摩登天空/Infinite Cosmos 无限宇宙
Modern Sky continues digging into the world of ambient music on their lush and absorbing compilation release Infinite Cosmos. Created alongside MVM (a visual design label under Modern Sky) and Sound Blanc (Modern Sky’s ambient sublabel) the release features the abstract and transformative work of nine domestic producers including Sulumi, melts77, Gao Cong, Lanx, L+R (feat. Yu Miao), Janjee Wang, mafmadmaf, Kai Luen, and HWA. Each was commissioned to ‘soundtrack’ the visual aesthetics and signals emitted from various geographical coordinates of the earth – weaving together a fluid universe created through our collective auditory senses. If that sounds a bit convoluted fret not, cause all that matters are the top-grade richly detailed, transporting soundscapes conjured up here.